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BYU's season-opener with likely top-five foe Oklahoma is only 40 days away, but it's been 11 long years since the Cougars have beaten a team like the Sooners.
You've got to go all the way back to September 12, 1998 to find the last time BYU defeated a ranked non-conference opponent. On that date in Provo, the Cougars outclassed Arizona State (14 AP/15 Coaches') by a score of 26-6. Since that day, BYU has lost 12 consecutive games to ranked non-conference opponents.
As BYU will face Oklahoma in Arlington, I note that the last time BYU beat a ranked non-conference opponent on a neutral field was the Cotton Bowl game of January 1, 1997, when BYU beat Kansas State (14/14) by a score of 19-15; a game played in nearby Dallas (a good omen, perhaps?).
In fact, since the 1998 win over Arizona State, BYU has only two wins over ranked teams; both within the Mountain West Conference. On September 16, 1999, BYU beat #23/24 Colorado State 34-13, and on September 28, 2006, BYU won at #17/15 TCU, 31-17. And that's it for wins over ranked teams in the last 11 years.
Since the inception of the MWC in 1999, BYU is 2-15 versus teams ranked in the Top 25 by the USA Today/Coaches, and 2-13 versus teams ranked in the AP Top 25 poll.
Only New Mexico (1-9; 1-8), Air Force (1-13; 1-13), and SDSU (0-16; 0-14) have a worse winning percentage versus ranked teams in the history of the MWC, although it bears noting that no MWC team has played more ranked teams than BYU.
Since 1972 (Lavell Edwards' first season), BYU is 22-35-1 when facing teams ranked in the Top 25. Pre-1998, BYU was 19-17-1. Post 1998, BYU is 3-18. Why is 1998 an important milepost year? It's the first year of the Bowl Championship Series.
Under Bronco Mendenhall, BYU is 1-6 v. ranked foes (highest of the two rankings used): the 2006 win at #15 TCU balanced by losses to Boston College (#22 in 2005 and #23 in 2006) #9 Notre Dame (2005), #14 UCLA (2007), #24 TCU (2008), and #7 Utah (2008).
What has to sting the Cougars is that the other members of the MWC's "Big Three" have winning records against ranked teams since 1999. Utah is an outstanding 9-6 versus foes in the Top 25, while TCU is a modest 4-3 since joining the league in 2005. Clearly, BYU's "big game" failings are magnified when compared to the results achieved by their upper echelon brethren. In the ten-year history of the league, BYU is 0-10 versus ranked non-conference opponents; Utah is 6-3, and TCU is 3-2.
The last time BYU beat a non-conference team ranked in the Top 10? The Cougars' 28-21 win over #1 Miami, in 1990. Since the win over Miami, BYU is 0-12-1 versus teams in the Top 10 (0-10-1 v. non-conference Top 10 teams; 0-2 v. Top 10 Utah). BYU's only other non-conference Top 10 victory is its 20-14 win over #3/#7 Pittsburgh, in the national championship year of 1984.
Which segues nicely into the first of our "Camp Cougar Countdown Trivia" questions--one question per day leading up to the first practice of camp on Saturday, August 8th, with all of the questions dealing with the 1984 title team.
Name the three players featured on the cover of the 1984 BYU Football Media Guide.
There is no need to post or e-mail a response; this is purely for entertainment purposes only. But by all means, do the mental legwork, then check back tomorrow for the answer and another daily brain-teaser.