The goal for BYU in its first season as a member of the Big 12 Conference — at least externally — has been for the Cougars to become bowl eligible as they play through a Power Five-heavy schedule.
After last Saturday’s victory over Texas Tech, BYU finds itself needing just one win to become bowl eligible.
That may be seen as a bit of a surprise at this point in the season, with the Cougars 5-2 overall and 2-2 in Big 12 Conference play.
BYU is the only new Big 12 team with more than one conference win — Houston, UCF and Cincinnati are a combined 1-11 in league play.
ESPN’s updated Football Power Index gives BYU a 74.2% probability of winning six games and becoming bowl eligible.
So, which game would give the Cougars their best chance at earning that postseason-clinching win?
What remaining game gives BYU the best odds for a victory?
Here’s a look at the percentage ESPN’s FPI gives BYU of winning in each of its final five games.
at No. 7 Texas, Oct. 28 — 5.1% chance of winning.
at West Virginia, Nov. 4 — 33.6% chance of winning.
vs. Iowa State, Nov. 11 — 43% chance of winning.
vs. No. 6 Oklahoma, Nov. 18 — 7.5% chance of winning.
at Oklahoma State, Nov. 25 — 27.7% chance of winning.
It should be noted that earlier this season after the Cougars won their first two games, BYU was an underdog in each of its remaining games in the ESPN FPI metrics.
BYU has bucked those odds and won three of the five games since then that the Cougars were an underdog in, helping bolster their odds in the FPI moving forward.
Of the Cougars’ five remaining games, ESPN gives BYU its best shot at a victory in its next home game, against Iowa State.
What has Iowa State done this season?
The Cyclones have won two straight games and sit at 4-3 on the season and 3-1 in conference play, after a bye last week.
Iowa State has beaten Oklahoma State, TCU and Cincinnati in league play, with its only loss coming against top 10 Oklahoma.
The Cyclones play at Baylor and at home against Kansas before facing the Cougars in Provo.
Per ESPN’s FPI, Iowa State is a favorite against both the Bears and Jayhawks. If Iowa State wins both, it would be 7-3 and and 5-1 in Big 12 play heading into its game against BYU.
What remaining game has the second-best odds for a BYU win?
After the Iowa State game, BYU’s contest at West Virginia in two weeks has the best odds for a Cougars win in the FPI metrics.
The Mountaineers have lost two straight after a four-game winning streak and are 4-3 on the season and 2-2 in league play.
Like BYU, West Virginia has a win over Texas Tech, though the Mountaineers edged TCU, while the Cougars lost 44-11 to the Horned Frogs.
Before West Virginia hosts BYU, the Mountaineers play at UCF this week, a game in which West Virginia has a 29.3% of victory in FPI’s metrics, despite the Knights’ four-game losing streak.