How BYU Football fared when ranked in the preseason AP Top 25

PROVO, Utah – BYU football is an AP Top 25 preseason team again.

For the first time since 2009, BYU entered the rankings entering a college football season. They check in at No. 25 in the 2022 preseason poll. A preseason ranking hasn’t been next to BYU’s name in the first week of any season in the Independence and Kalani Sitake eras. .

It’s a big problem.

Remember, when the college football playoff committee releases its rankings in November, it doesn’t take into account AP polls or coaches. But, the stories and perceptions around Top 25 ranked teams contribute to the cause of something bigger in any given year.

On the other hand, you don’t want to be a team seen as a bust and fail to live up to the preseason hype.

The 2022 BYU Football Team is the 12th team in BYU history to earn a preseason AP Top 25 ranking.

Only two of the last 11 BYU teams to receive preseason rankings finished the season higher than where they started.

Here’s a look back at the 11 previous BYU teams that entered a ranked season. And finally, how they ended.

2009: Pre-season ranking – N°20

Finished 11-2 overall and No. 12 in the final AP Top 25

Led by Max Hall, Harvey Unga and Dennis Pitta, BYU eliminated No. 3 Oklahoma in Game 1 at Cowboys Stadium (Jerry’s World).

They also had victories over ranked teams Utah and Oregon State.

2008: Pre-season ranking – n°16

Finished 10-3 overall and No. 25 in the final AP Top 25

The “Quest for Perfection” season. After a pair of top 25 finishes in the 2006 and 2007 seasons, BYU was the preseason darling to crack the BCS and stay undefeated.

The hype and expectations have reached them. They still finished with ten wins, but it was far from where they hoped to be. Of course, it also didn’t help that rival Utah was the one to finish undefeated and go to the Sugar Bowl.

1997: Pre-season ranking – N°19

Finished 6-5 overall and not ranked in the Final AP Top 25

After the glow of the No. 5 finish in the 1996 season. Voters gave an inexperienced BYU team the benefit of the doubt and still ranked them No. 19.

They quickly learned they weren’t ready for that seeding as Washington’s No. 4 crushed them 42-20 in Provo.

1993: Pre-season ranking – N°19

Finished 6-6 overall and not ranked in the Final AP Top 25

BYU started the season 4-0, all of its wins against WAC opponents. Then the wheels broke on a trip to the Rose Bowl to face UCLA.

The Bruins beat BYU 68-14 in Pasadena. Unfortunately for this team, the mind-boggling score totals for opponents continued. The 1993 team allowed 37 points per game.

1992: Pre-season ranking – N°25

Finished 8-5 overall and not ranked in the Final AP Top 25

BYU started the season 1-3 and was entirely out of the national conversation for the rest of the year.

1991: Pre-season ranking – N°19

Finished 8-3-2 overall and No. 23 in the Final AP Top 25

Ty Detmer’s senior year and the season he tried to win a second Heisman Trophy. The schedule was a glove as BYU opened with nationally ranked Florida State, UCLA and Penn State all away from Provo.

They started 0-3 but then came back in the polls not losing another game.

1990: Pre-season ranking – n°16

Finished 10-3 overall and No. 22 in the final AP Top 25

Preseason preparation for BYU against No. 1 Miami was out of this world. BYU came out on top with the biggest win in program history.

BYU has climbed to No. 4 on the AP Top 25 twice. Going into the Hawaii game, BYU had an outside chance to challenge for the national championship. But losses to Hawaii and Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl dropped BYU down the final standings.

1989: Pre-season ranking – N°19

Finished 10-3 overall and No. 22 in the final AP Top 25

Ty Detmer’s second year. The nation already knew how prolific Detmer was becoming in the passing attack on LaVell Edwards.

BYU was seeded in all but three games of the 1989 season.

1986: Pre-season ranking – N°18

Finished 8-5 overall and not ranked in the Final AP Top 25

Here’s a weird thought, the 1986 season ended with BYU not winning the WAC championship. Can you imagine if there were social networks back then? The uproar would have been unreal.

1985: Pre-season ranking – N°10

Finished 11-3 overall and ranked No. 16 in the final AP Top 25

The year after the national championship, BYU football was ranked throughout the 1985 season. A shock loss at UTEP prevented BYU from potentially making another title run.

1981: Pre-season classification – n°16

Finished 11-2 overall and ranked No. 13 in the final AP Top 25

It was quite an accomplishment for BYU to earn a preseason ranking in 1981. The ranking came less than ten years after LaVell Edwards inherited a BYU program mired in mediocrity. He turned them into a juggernaut.

Jim McMahon led BYU to an 11-2 season and a second consecutive Holiday Bowl victory.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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