BYU has stormed through its first eight games, posting a respectable 6-2 record along the way. Despite being haunted by a pair of disappointing losses, the Cougars have looked dominant in their current five-game win streak.
But only four regular-season games remain; a number that most football fans wish was much larger. BYU still has trips booked to Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Nevada (and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl), along with a "breather" game against Idaho State.
What's the worst that could possibly happen? Only two, maybe three, of those games seem to be on the tough side.
Well, I'll tell you. Here are the best—and worst—case scenarios for BYU's final four games.
Best Case: BYU enters the game after an extremely successful bye week, and comes out of the gates with dominant play on both sides of the ball. Taysom Hill looks just as good as he did against Houston, racking up nearly 250 first-half passing yards and about 100 rushing. The defense gives up only one first-half touchdown, an unpredictable heave from quarterback Joel Stave to Jared Abbrederis.
Momentum helped BYU in the second half, and they continue to rack up points for one of the few times this season. Hill continued to throw daggers left and right, and Kyle Van Noy puts together his best performance of the year, with three sacks. BYU wins, 42-20.
Worst Case: The bye week proves to be deadly for the Cougs, as they come out flat and with no momentum. Stave toys with the shallow BYU secondary, and playing on a huge stage like Camp Randall Stadium leads to penalties and miscues for the Cougars.
Wisconsin turns out to be, by far, the best team BYU has played all season. BYU can't hang with them and is handed the most lopsided loss of the season. Wisconsin wins, 54-14.
Best Case: BYU has no problem with Idaho State, and has the second-stringers in the game before halftime. Kyle Van Noy and Cody Hoffman both have dominant showings on Senior Day, and Taysom Hill throws two touchdowns and runs for another in the first quarter alone.
Ammon Olsen and Jason Munns both receive reps at quarterback, and play well. We get a good look at the younger players on the team and end with a huge win. BYU wins, 63-10.
Worst Case: Idaho State is no Wisconsin, but the Cougars struggle with execution and don't score until late in the opening quarter. The play-calling is a mess and BYU doesn't gain much breathing room until nearly halftime.
The Cougs get rolling in the second half, but don't put up quite the numbers that were expected. It's still not much of a game, but shouldn't have been nearly as close. BYU wins, 40-14.
Best Case: BYU continues to dominate after a shellacking of Idaho State, and takes that prowess to South Bend. The Cougars gain revenge on last year's three-point loss to the Irish with a huge win, led by linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Alani Fua. The duo of outside 'backers give Tommy Rees and the ND offense fits all game.
Taysom Hill leads BYU to a solid balance between passing and running, and does enough to guide the Cougars out of Indiana with a win. BYU wins, 38-13.
Worst Case: Notre Dame has no problem with the Cougars, and Cam McDaniel and George Atkinson III run all over the BYU defense. Similar to last season, the top two rushing leaders for ND finish with over 100 yards.
The Irish defense looks just as impressive, allowing only 10 points to BYU (a Cougar season-low). The offensive play-calling is hideous, and Taysom Hill never gets in a positive passing rhythm. Notre Dame wins, 41-10.
Best Case: BYU has no problem with an MWC doormat, Nevada, and sets a season high in points against an FBS team. Taysom Hill shreds the Wolf Pack defense, ranked 111th in the country in defense. Jamaal Williams has little problem with Nevada and puts together one of his best games.
But none play as well as Kyle Van Noy, putting up Poinsettia Bowl-like numbers in his Reno homecoming. The Cougs easily put away UNR and leave with a huge win. BYU wins, 45-7.
Worst Case: BYU has a 2012 San Jose State-like game and is handed an embarrassing road loss by a MWC team. Nothing goes right, and although BYU is given many chances at coming back in the game, they fail to do so.
Nevada plays a much better game, overall, and succeed in forcing Cougar turnovers. BYU's seniors end the season, and their Coug careers, on a bad note. Nevada wins 21-17.