Match-by-match predictions for the 2022 season

PROVO, Utah – BYU football is about to conclude its era of independence this fall. The 2022 season marks BYU’s final year as an independent from FBS before becoming a member of the Big 12 Conference in 2023.

BYU’s latest independent schedule features five games against power conference teams. They open the season this Saturday at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Game-by-game predictions for BYU football in 2022

So it’s only fitting that we take a deep dive into game-by-game predictions for BYU as the season kicks off. Here are my picks for every BYU game this fall.

September 3: at USF Bulls

Venue: Raymond James Stadium

Television: ESPNU

BYU’s first game of the football season is against the AAC’s USF Bulls. USF is led by head coach Jeff Scott, who is entering his third year at the helm. Scott only won three games at USF, so he made a significant effort to pull players off the transfer portal to review his roster.

BYU’s last football game was against UAB in the Independence Bowl, where BYU downplayed their opposition and lost. However, USF has a roster capable of competing against quality teams, something the Bulls couldn’t say for the past two years.

But this BYU is one of the most experienced teams in college football and they don’t have a glaring weakness on offense.

There is a chance that USF will hold this game closer than people would think, but BYU ultimately keeps control of this game and picks up a win.

BYU 31, USF 20

September 10: Baylor Bears

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

Television: ESPN

BYU versus Baylor will be a nightly Big 12 preview to open the Cougars’ home schedule in 2022. This matchup is a revenge game opportunity for the Cougars. Last season, Baylor physically dominated BYU at Waco, a game the Cougars lost by two touchdowns.

It wasn’t a bad loss for BYU, as the Bears finished fifth in the final poll and won the Big 12 Championship, but it was a game that showed how much BYU has to improve if they want to get in. the top crust of the big 12 when they come together next year.

Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen won the starting quarterback job in the spring. Don’t be surprised if he ends up being one of the best quarterbacks in the league this season.

With Utah off the schedule this year, Baylor appears to be a game that players are tossing around this year as the game to win. I hope BYU finds a way to pull off a victory in what should be a physical soccer game.

BYU 27, Baylor 24

September 17: at the Oregon Ducks

Venue: Autzen Stadium

TV: FOX

BYU hasn’t played in Eugene since 1990. That was in Ty Detmer’s Heisman Trophy-winning season. Oregon upset the Cougars when they were ranked No. 4 nationally. BYU will be looking to deliver a similar result to the Ducks, who should be nationally ranked going into week three tilt.

Oregon has a star-studded defense with Orem High standout Noah Sewell leading the way. But, like the Detmer team in 1990, BYU enters Autzen and loses out. Oregon has won 28 straight non-conference games at Autzen Stadium.

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Oregon 31, BYU 23

September 24: Wyoming Cowboys

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

Television: to be determined

An old WAC/MWC rivalry is renewed for the first time in the regular season since 2010 when Wyoming comes to Provo.

Wyoming was one of the hardest-hit programs on the transfer portal this offseason. The Pokes lost their starting quarterback, key wide receivers and other notable personnel.

Wyoming coach Craig Bohl will get the most out of his team, but BYU won’t break a sweat on this one.

BYU 41, Wyoming 21

September 29: Utah State Aggies

Location: Lavell Edwards Stadium

Television: ESPN

The last “Battle for the Wagon Wheel” game for the foreseeable future will take place on a Thursday night, two days before the Latter-day Saint General Conference. BYU/Utah State pauses due to BYU’s move to the Big 12 Conference.

Utah State has one of the best players in the state in quarterback Logan Bonner, but they lose a ton of production in other key areas.

BYU earns its third straight win against in-state rival. But don’t be surprised if Utah State picks up some points in this game. They have an offense capable of putting up big numbers.

BYU 44, Utah State 35

October 8: against Notre Dame

Location: Allegiant Stadium

Television: KSL 5

After years of waiting, BYU finally gets another game against the Irish. It’s not a game in Provo, which is probably what BYU wanted. Instead, it’s in Las Vegas and is considered a Notre Dame home game. That is not the ideal result. But the alternative for BYU was not to play the game at all.

BYU has a chance to play a Notre Dame team entering the season No. 5 in the preseason top 25 poll. Is that too high for a team led by a first-year head coach? Maybe. But the Irish still have elite talent in the trenches that will test BYU.

Due to Notre Dame’s talent in the trenches, I will give the Irish a slight lead.

Notre Dame 26, BYU 17

Oct. 15: Arkansas Razorbacks

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

Television: to be determined

Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman has been a perfect fit with the Razorbacks’ program. The third-year head coach has brought a toughness to Fayetteville that was significantly missing under previous coach Chad Morris. As a result, Pittman now has people who believe Arkansas could be one of the best teams in the SEC West.

It’s not often that SEC teams come to Provo. Arkansas is only the second SEC program to travel to Provo. The other is the state of Mississippi. Six years ago, Mississippi State visited and suffered a mid-season loss to the Cougars.

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I am asking for a similar result for BYU to remove the Hogs.

BYU 24, Arkansas 21

October 22 at Liberty Flames

Location: Lynchburg, Virginia

Television: to be determined

The game that will make BYU fans say, “Why the hell is BYU playing there?” It happens every year with Independence. Liberty is that game in 2022. Perhaps history could be another game against former Utah quarterback Charlie Brewer.

Liberty is a solid football program under head coach Hugh Freeze, but BYU will stop them.

BYU 35, Liberty 24

October 28: Pirates of East Carolina

Location: Lavell Edwards Stadium

Television: ESPN2

One of the worst losses in BYU football history occurred five years ago in East Carolina. BYU took an L against an ECU team that was the worst defense in the nation. Despite the Pirates’ futility on defense, BYU could only put up 17 points.

Both programs have made many improvements in the last five years, but the ECU rebuild has been a longer process. BYU gets revenge and a big win.

BYU 35, ECU 20

November 5: at Boise State Broncos

Location: Albertsons Stadium

Television: FOX Networks

When they take on Boise State this November, revenge will be on BYU’s mind. Last year, when BYU was undefeated and ranked No. 10 in the country, Boise State came to Provo and defeated BYU 26-17. Much of that was helped by back-to-back fumbles that led to points for the Broncos.

Like the Utah State Series, BYU’s annual matchups with Boise will end after this year due to the Big 12 move.

Boise will be motivated to send BYU off with another loss. At the same time, BYU will be looking for its second consecutive win on the blue turf (a landslide win in 2020).

I’ll give the Broncos a slight edge, as they should have a catch-up year this season.

Boise State 28, BYU 27

Nov. 19—Utah Tech Trail Blazers

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

TV: BYUtv

The first meeting between BYU football and state foe Utah Tech, formerly known as Dixie State, will be like most BYU versus FCS games, a chance for players you’ve never heard of to play.

BYU 63, Utah Tech 6

Nov. 26: at Stanford Cardinal

I wouldn’t be surprised if Stanford was better than last season. But “much better” might simply be eligible to bowl. Stanford was bad last season, and during their seven-game losing streak, it seemed like they had given up on the season altogether. The offense reminded people of the Buddy Teevens Stanford teams rather than the ones that brought the Cardinal to national prominence in the Jim Harbaugh era and David Shaw’s early years.

They’ll get better, but they’re still not good enough to beat BYU.

BYU 30, Stanford 27

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

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