PROVO — After a 55-3 season-opening win at Navy, the BYU football team is back in the national polls during the coronavirus-stricken 2020 season.
The Cougars checked in at No. 22 in the USA Today Sports/Amway Coaches' Poll, which was released Sunday morning just before BYU came in ranked No. 21 by the Associated Press.
Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia and Florida topped the AP poll, followed by LSU, Notre Dame and Auburn. Teams from the Southeastern Conference weren't scheduled to begin playing until at least Sept. 26 in a 10-game, conference-only schedule. Saturday was opening day for most of the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences.
The Tigers were the near-unanimous top pick, receiving all but one first-place vote.
BYU is joined near the back of the poll by No. 20 Virginia Tech, No. 22 Army, No. 23 Kentucky, No. 24 Appalachian State and No. 25 Pitt.
BYU is joined near the end of the coaches’ poll by Appalachian State, Baylor and Army, which was supposed to be the Cougars' opponent next Saturday. The Cougars' nationally-televised kickoff with the Black Knights on CBS was postponed due to a "small number" of positive test results for COVID-19 discovered within BYU's program.
Army’s news release added that the game’s postponement was also due to “resulting tracing exposures” within the Cougars’ program. Direct contact with an individual infected with COVID-19 is considered if someone is within six feet of a known infected individual for at least 15 minutes, or has direct physical contact with the individual, according to CDC guidelines.
BYU has been testing its players at least three times per week for the novel coronavirus using a saliva-based test, rather than the more commonly used nasopharyngeal swabs.
Sunday marked BYU’s first appearance in the AP Top 25 since 2018, when the Cougars entered the poll at No. 25 following an upset win over then-No. 6 Wisconsin and rose as high as No. 20 before a loss to Washington knocked them outside the top 25.
Prior to that season, the Cougars made two appearances in the AP Top 25 in 2015, four in 2014 and a brief stop at No. 25 in 2012, their second season as an FBS independent. Prior to independence, the Cougars spent part or all of five of nine seasons ranked in the AP Top 25 from 2001-2009, when they were members of the Mountain West Conference.