- No. 13 BYU will fill in for Liberty against Coastal Carolina on Saturday after the Flames canceled due to COVID-19
- The Cougars opened as 10-point favorites in a matchup of two of the country’s best QBs: Zach Wilson and Grayson McCall
- Read below for full odds, analysis and a pick on the game
Coastal Carolina was already preparing for one of the week’s biggest college football games, but today, that game got even bigger.
Yesterday, the Chanticleers were ready to face Liberty team at home in the last game of both teams’ regular season, but the Flames were forced to bow out last night after a COVID outbreak within the program.
On short notice, and with ESPN planned to be on campus for College GameDay, Coastal did well to find a replacement, albeit a tougher one in BYU.
Just like that, Coastal went from being 10.5-point favorites at home to being now 9.5-point underdogs against the Cougars, with superstar QB Zach Wilson and company coming to town.
Despite the perceived difference in talent, both teams come into the matchup 9-0 and 7-1-1 against the spread this season. BYU has only played in three road games this year, but is 3-0 ATS, while the Chanticleers are 3-1-1 ATS at home in 2020.
#13 BYU vs #18 Coastal Carolina Week 14 Odds
|BYU Cougars||-9.5 (-110)||-355||O 61.5 (-106)|
|Coastal Carolina Chanticleers||+9.5 (-110)||+270||U 61.5 (-114)|
Odds taken Dec. 3rd from FanDuel
Changes in Mentality
BYU hasn’t played since November 21st, and didn’t have another game scheduled until December 12th against San Diego State. With precious few options available for an independent program to advance to a New Year’s Six bowl game, the Cougars have been looking for ways to pad their résumé to secure an at-large bid. A win against Coastal (No. 18 CFP ranking, No. 14 AP Poll), would be a nice way to do that.
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) December 3, 2020
Meanwhile, Coastal had already locked up a spot in the Sun Belt Conference Championship Game on December 12th, which will be a rematch against Louisiana at home. The Chanticleers had been in a potential flat spot against Liberty, with the Ragin’ Cajuns and a shot at the first conference title in program history on the horizon. Now, that logic isn’t as sound with the best team Coastal will have played all season stepping in.
Finding the Edge
Liberty quarterback Malik Willis, who was among those reported as having tested positive, has been one of the nation’s most dynamic players this season, but he is a different player than Wilson to prepare for. Wilson can be slippery in the pocket, he’s not going to improv his way to scrambles that turn into huge gains the way Willis has this season.
Coastal has the advantage of getting an extra day to organize itself without having to travel, but how much can be figured out in a short turnaround to stop a QB that has completed 74-percent of his passes this season is a tall order.
This Zach Wilson throw >>>>> pic.twitter.com/WAM5mIcV7x
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) December 1, 2020
Coastal and BYU are both among the most productive rushing offenses in the country, but in contrast to Liberty’s read-option plays, BYU finds those yards in a more traditional manner with sophomore Tyler Allgeier. The big back has averaged more than seven yards-per-carry this season and has 300 more yards than Coastal’s lead back, Torrance Marable, on one fewer carry.
Defensively, BYU could get a lift with the return of defensive lineman Tyler Batty, who had four sacks before missing the Cougars’ last four games with a lower-body injury. On the season, Coastal has had one of the better pass defenses in the country, but if there is an area where the Chanticleers are more susceptible to giving up plays in the passing game, it’s over the top, and that’s where Wilson has made many of his eye-popping plays this year.
Making the Play
Under these circumstances, the focus of each team is to maximize what they do well, rather than make a bunch of adjustments for the other. Even though Coastal should be looking forward to playing its biggest opponent all season, BYU took this game because it is on a mission to play on New Year’s and perhaps give Wilson’s fleeting chances at winning a Heisman one more boost. The Cougars have been steamrolling opponents since a bit of a scare against UTSA in October, and need to do so again to continue climbing in the rankings.
The Pick: BYU -9.5 (-110)