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Josh Furlong's AP Top 25: BYU moves up with 3 wins over Pac-12 South

Brigham Young quarterback Jaren Hall (3) runs with the ball during an NCAA college football game against Arizona State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.

Brigham Young quarterback Jaren Hall (3) runs with the ball during an NCAA college football game against Arizona State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — BYU may have accepted an invitation to the Big 12 a week ago, but it currently leads the Pac-12 South division with a 3-0 record.

Sure, the record doesn't actually count toward conference standings — fortunately for the Pac-12 — but it's an indication of the talent the Cougars have this year coming off an 11-1 season in 2020. And while one of those wins came against an Arizona program that lost to an FCS opponent Saturday, there's little doubt BYU is on course for another strong season.

BYU is not a perfect team, but as college football has shown in the three weeks its been played, no team is. But one thing is certain, the Cougars have a stacked team and could find itself climbing the rankings each week.

The schedule lines up well for the Cougars to have another top-15 type season, but it's still too early to call for an undefeated year, though that's certainly a possibility given how the team is structured this season. I ranked BYU No. 22 last week — one spot above the consensus — but I have them at No. 17 this week, though they likely could crack that top 15, too.

Give it time Cougar fans, it's only a matter of time, barring some major setback. But as it stands now, that doesn't seem too likely.

Here's some other notes from my Week 4 Associated Press Top 25 ballot:

  • Alabama is human but they're still the best team in the country. Florida gave the Crimson Tide an early-season test, but quarterback Bryce Young showed he has the talent to win big games. Alabama lost a ton of talent, but that isn't affecting them too much. There's no reason to take them out of the No. 1 spot, even if they showed some human qualities Saturday.
  • It took Cincinnati pulling away late in the game, but they got the win over the Big Ten's Indiana. The team has all the characteristics to be one of the best teams in the country, at least as much as any other team next to them. Adversity only helps a team grow, and Cincinnati has handled it well so far.
  • Let's forget the 2020 season for Penn State — I'm sure they have. The Nittany Lions look very much like their 2019 counterparts and could be a leading candidate to come out of the Big Ten this season. I have them ranked over Ohio State this week and believe they have the talent to go toe-to-toe with the Buckeyes. But Michigan and newcomer Michigan State to my ballot could cause some problems, to say nothing of a good Iowa team, too.
  • USC went through an emotional and crazy week after the firing of head coach Clay Helton, so there's no wonder the first half of play against Washington State was a mess. But once former Corner Canyon High QB Jaxson Dart was thrown into the game, the Trojans transformed into a completely different team. Should Dart remain the team's QB, USC could be dangerous. I'm projecting he remains, which means they're worthy of being in the Top 25.
  • Hello Fresno State. The Bulldogs already gave Oregon a test in the beginning of the season, but never backed down against a good UCLA team. They may not be the best team in the Mountain West Conference — there's still time to tell — but they've got a decent resume to back it up. This may be an overreaction to a good come-from-behind win over UCLA, but Fresno State will be a contender this season.
  • Speaking about Fresno State, any one of Maryland, Memphis, Oklahoma State and West Virginia could replace the Bulldogs here. Let's not overthink this at this point, so I just went with Fresno State for the time being.

Dropping out: Arizona State, Auburn, TCU

Checking in: Fresno State, Michigan State, USC

In consideration: Maryland, Memphis, Oklahoma State, SMU, Texas Tech, West Virginia

If you can't see the poll below, click here.

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