While there aren't "BCS-busters" anymore, the idea that BYU could make like a BCS-buster and crash the "big bowl" party is gathering steam.
BYU has opened 4-0, including wins over "Power Five" teams Texas and Virginia; there's one Power Five team left on the Cougars' schedule and it's California in the final regular-season game.
BYU also has four Mountain West teams (Boise State, Nevada, UNLV and Utah State), an AAC team (UCF), a Conference USA team (Middle Tennessee State) and an FCS team (Savannah State) remaining on its schedule along with Cal.
A 12-0 BYU team is not going to make the playoff. There's no way the schedule impresses enough people. The question is whether the playoff selection committee -- which also is tasked with picking the matchups in the other so-called "playoff bowls" along with the four playoff teams -- will be impressed enough by the Cougars to select them. As an independent, BYU does not count as a non-Power Five school; it would have to be chosen for a "playoff bowl" in addition to a non-Power Five participant.
It's easy to see an unbeaten BYU team finishing in the top 10 in the media polls. But the media polls aren't supposed to matter to the selection committee. BYU will sell a ton of tickets, that's for sure, and there might be enough intrigue surrounding BYU this season that the Cougars also will turn on some TV sets when it comes to the postseason. But that's not supposed to matter to the committee, either. The only way the Cougars get in is if the committee thinks they are one of the top 11 teams in the nation (remember that the non-Power Five conferences are guaranteed one spot in the "playoff bowls").
The thought here -- this week, at least -- is that the Cougars are going to lose a game, which basically would eliminate them from the committee's consideration. And if they're bowl-eligible but not in one of the playoff bowls, the Cougars are contractually obligated to the new Miami Beach Bowl, where their opponent would be an AAC team.
Remember that four bowls have been added this season, so when you include the two playoff semifinal games that will be played in bowls, there are 38 bowls. That means 76 teams will be in the postseason -- or 59 percent of the 128 teams in the FBS ranks.
This season, the playoff semifinals are in the Rose and Sugar bowls, meaning the selection committee also will pick the matchups in the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange and Peach bowls. While there are 12 teams involved in the six games, it's not necessarily the 12 highest-ranked teams by committee; instead, the highest-ranked team from outside of the "Power Five" conferences is guaranteed a slot in one of the games, even if it falls outside the top 12.
When looking over these bowl projections, remember that a bowl's tie-in with a league doesn't necessarily mean it will get the third- or fourth-, etc., place team from the league; instead, it means it gets the third or fourth, etc., selection from that league. You'll also notice that there is no clear-cut designation for some of the league tie-ins; that's because the leagues and bowl organizers want a lot of leeway to put together what they consider the best possible matchup.
Note: Start times listed are ET.