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Steve Conner, Associated Press

BYU inches up to No. 8 in AP, Coaches polls after 8-0 start

By Sean Walker, | Updated - Nov. 8, 2020 at 12:14 p.m. | Posted - Nov. 8, 2020 at 11:06 a.m.

PROVO — The calendar has flipped to November, and BYU football is still undefeated.

As a result, the Cougars are still climbing nationally.

BYU inched up to No. 8 in both major college football polls, the Associated Press Top 25 and USA Today/Amway Coaches Poll, filling in just behind No. 7 Cincinnati as both non-Power Five schools chase separate New Year's Six Bowl invitations.

Alabama is the new No. 1 in both polls, replacing Clemson after the Tigers' overtime loss to Notre Dame late Saturday night. The top five in the AP poll includes No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Clemson and No. 5 Texas A&M.

Utah is still receiving votes after its season opener against Arizona was canceled due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases within the program.

The Cougars improved to 8-0 for the fourth time in program history with a 51-17 win at Boise State, which dropped out of the coaches poll from No. 23 with the loss. BYU rates among the top-five undefeated teams in the country, trailing Alabama (6-0), Notre Dame (7-0), Ohio State (3-0) and the Bearcats (6-0).

The Cougars and Bearcats are not scheduled to meet during the 2020 regular season, with BYU's most recent game against a team from the American Athletic Conference coming in a 43-26 win over Houston. The Bearcats similarly beat the red Cougars 38-10 on Saturday.

But the two squads are chasing different New Year's Six bowl invitations. As an independent, BYU is not eligible for the automatic bid to the NY6 guaranteed to the highest-ranked Group of Five champion by the College Football Playoff selection committee. That means the Cougars would have to earn a date on New Year's weekend via an at-large bid.

Fitting into the top-eight nationally — or top-four, once playoff teams are taken out — would certainly help bolster that case.

The Cougars took advantage of Georgia's loss to Florida on Saturday, which dropped the Bulldogs six spots in the coaches poll to No. 11. Similar climbs by BYU moving forward will likely be dependent on other losses by teams ahead of it — especially since the Cougars are currently scheduled to play just two more games, both at home on Nov. 21 against FCS North Alabama and Dec. 12 against San Diego State.

BYU is idle this week for the first time since postponing its Week 2 contest against Army in September.

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