In college football, winning isn't the only factor. Who you beat, and how, is a vital part of moving up the rankings and getting into a good bowl game. So each week during the 2012 season, we'll take a look at how BYU's past and future opponents performed.
BYU’s 2012 schedule Aug. 30: Washington State, W, 30-6 Sept. 8: Weber State, W, 45-13 Sept. 15: at Utah, L, 24-21 Sept. 20: at Boise State, L, 7-6 Sept. 28: Hawaii, W, 47-0 Oct. 5: Utah State, W, 6-3 Oct. 13: Oregon State, L, 42-24 Oct. 20: at Notre Dame, L, 17-14 Oct. 27: at Georgia Tech, W, 41-17 Nov. 10: Idaho, W, 52-13 Nov. 17: at San Jose State, L, 20-14 Nov. 24: at New Mexico St., 1:30 p.m.
Record: 2-9, 0-8 Pac-12
Last week: Lost at Arizona State, 46-7
Washington State fans will be glad when this season is over, as coach Mike Leach's debut year in Pullman has been disappointing, to say the least.
Surprisingly (or perhaps not, with Leach as coach), the Cougars do rank 10th in the nation in passing yards per game. But that hasn't helped the team score points or win games. Also, many of those passes were to Marquess Wilson, who has since left the team and leveled accusations of abuse at Leach and the Wazzu coaching staff.
Still, this week brings the Apple Cup rivalry to the Palouse, so the Cougars do have something to play for.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 24 vs. Washington
Record: 2-9, 2-6 Big Sky
Last week: Won at Idaho State, 40-14
The Wildcats ended their season with a big win, against the only team in the Big Sky Conference with a worse record than themselves.
Running back C.J. Tuckett had a career day against the Bengals defense. He tallied 289 yards and two touchdowns to lead Weber State.
Next up: Season over
Record: 4-7, 2-6 Pac-12
Last week: Lost to Arizona, 34-24
The Utes' hopes for a 10th-straight bowl appearance came crashing down Saturday night against Arizona.
Utah's defense held its own against the high-powered Wildcats passing game, and the Utes took a 24-17 lead late in the third quarter. But Arizona would score 17 unanswered points in the fourth to seal the game and a guaranteed losing season for the Utes.
The only solace remaining for Utah will be a chance at revenge against Colorado. The Buffs beat the Utes last year to prevent them from earning a possible Pac-12 title berth.
Next up: Friday, Nov. 23 at Colorado
Record: 9-2, 6-1 MWC
Last week: Won vs. Colorado State, 42-14
The Broncos seem to have recovered their offensive spark, scoring 91 points over the last two games. Then again, playing against Hawaii and Colorado State helps in that regard.
In any case, the Broncos are still deadlocked in a three-way tie atop the Mountain West Conference with San Diego State (who beat Boise) and Fresno State (who lost to Boise). But the Broncos are the bigger name, they have a better overall record, and they'll likely be the first choice for any of the MWC's bowls.
Next up: Bye; Saturday, Dec. 1 at Nevada
Record: 1-9, 0-7 MWC
Last week: Lost at Air Force, 21-7
The Warriors are simply not a good football team. Aside from a beating of FCS team Lamar in the second game of the season, Hawaii hasn't really been close in any of their matchups in 2012.
Their offensive and defensive woes were especially underscored by this week's loss at Air Force. The Falcons have always been a running team, but they didn't throw a single pass against the Warriors. Not one. And they didn't need to, rolling up 338 rushing yards against Hawaii's defense.
At least the Warriors don't have to leave the islands again this year; both of their remaining games are at home.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 24 vs. UNLV
Record: 9-2, 5-0 WAC
Last week: Won at Louisiana Tech, 48-41 in OT
It wasn't pretty, it wasn't perfect, and it shouldn't have gone to overtime. But the Aggies survived for one of the biggest wins in the recent history of the program, beating Louisiana Tech in Ruston for the WAC championship.
Quarterback Chuckie Keeton has been simply spectacular for Utah State, tallying 3011 yards and 25 touchdowns passing on top of 527 yards and six touchdowns rushing. And he's just a sophomore.
The Aggies are now ranked 25th in the AP poll, and with what should be an easy win over Idaho ahead, they'll be moving up.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 24 vs. Idaho
Record: 8-2, 6-2 Pac-12
Last week: Won vs. Cal, 62-14
The Beavers have suffered their setbacks this season after starting 6-0, but Saturday's rout of Cal marked the triumphant return of quarterback Sean Mannion. His 325 passing yards and four touchdowns proved that he has recovered from knee surgery quite nicely.
With Stanford's upset of Oregon, the Beavers could still end the season in a tie atop the Pac-12 North if they, too, beat the Ducks this week. But Stanford would get the title-game berth, even if they lost to UCLA on Saturday.
So the Beavers' season really just comes down to beating its archrival in Corvallis. That's plenty of motivation.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 24 vs. Oregon
Last week: Won vs. Wake Forest, 38-0
Wow. For the first time in almost 20 years, the Fighting Irish sit atop the polls (and the BCS standings). They're there by virtue of their own superb defense and clutch play, along with a healthy dose of luck and upset losses by other contenders.
All that stands between the Irish and a berth in the BCS championship game is the USC Trojans. Even that matchup looks less daunting, though, because USC quarterback Matt Barkley is injured and will not play.
So that's it: Beat the Trojans and their backup QB, and Notre Dame could be waking up the echoes with another national title.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 24 at USC
Record: 6-5, 5-3 ACC
Last week: Won vs. Duke, 42-24
After losing to BYU last month, the Yellow Jackets have reeled off three straight wins, averaging almost 48 points per game in that time.
Last week's win over Duke clinched bowl eligibility for Tech and moved them to the top of the ACC's Coastal Division. Depending on Miami's game against Duke next week (and an NCAA investigation into the Hurricanes), the Yellow Jackets could still grab a BCS berth.
If they do, it'll be on the strength of their impressive ground game. Tech averages 325 rushing yards per game. That's third-best in the nation.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 24 at Georgia
Record: 1-10, 1-4 WAC
Last week: Lost to UTSA, 34-27
The Vandals almost pulled off a dramatic comeback win last Saturday, but they couldn't overcome a 20-3 halftime deficit against the UTSA Roadrunners.
That's unfortunate, because third-string Vandals quarterback Taylor Davis actually played quite well after Logan Bushnell was benched at halftime. Davis threw for 223 yards and 3 touchdowns. But it wasn't quite enough.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 24 at Utah State
Record: 9-2, 4-1 WAC
Last week: Won vs. BYU, 20-14
Quarterback David Fales led the Spartans to touchdowns on each of their first three possessions, and though the BYU defense held them in check for the rest of the game, San Jose State wouldn't need any more points to secure the win.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, Utah State's win over Louisiana Tech means the Aggies are WAC champions, no matter who wins this week's game between Tech and SJSU.
But it's still been an impressive season for San Jose, and they'll certainly want to get to double-digit wins.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 24 vs. Louisiana Tech
Record: 1-9, 0-5 WAC
Last week: Bye
The only winless team in WAC conference play, the Aggies had last week off to try to prepare for BYU.
It's not likely to help, though. New Mexico State ranks in the bottom quarter of FBS teams in rushing yards, scoring offense and scoring defense. They've lost nine straight games, and their only win is against FCS school Sacramento State.
Perhaps the lone bright spot is wide receiver Austin Franklin, who has rolled up 1135 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
Next up: Saturday, Nov. 24 vs. BYU