Does exciting football equal winning? Utah, BYU makes a compelling case

By at least one analytical formula, BYU and Utah had their pie — entertaining football — and also ate it — winning a lot — during the 2021 season.

Both programs had a fair amount of success during the season as Utah finished the year 10-4, placed No. 12 in the latest Associated Press poll and as Pac-12 champions.

The Cougars, meanwhile, went 10-3, were 6-1 against Power Five opponents and finished the year at number 19.

But did they make the process fun?

Twitter user CFBNumbers shared some unique formulas for calculating what they called the “fun index,” which “combines only metrics I think are interesting to look at.” Both BYU and Utah did particularly well on the offensive side of the ball.

CFBNumbers explains how the offending “fun index” was calculated:

Coastal Carolina of the Sun Belt — Cougar fans still remember them well from their 2020 matchup — was the winner here. However, both BYU and Utah were among the best in the country on the offensive map, along with other programs such as Ohio State, Ole Miss, and Oklahoma.

Perhaps that explains the entertainment value of this year’s Rose Bowl between Utah and the state of Ohio, which tied for the second-most-watched college bowl game of the season.

Note: Utah State, which finished 11-3, won the Mountain West Championship and finished the year at No. 24, scoring high on winning percentage, while being more middle of the pack offensively on the fun scale.

Then CFBNumbers went ahead and created a formula to determine a combined offensive and defensive fun index, as explained in the tweet’s body.

Here Utah takes a leap over BYU, especially from a defensive fun index standpoint. Utah State also benefited from a stronger defensive fun index, the highest of any Utah school.

Then one last step was added to determine the best teams of 2021: CFBNumbers created a net fun index.

The takeaway? Utah was the clear winner—the Utes finished with the No. 7 overall net pleasure index score—although BYU, and to a lesser extent Utah State, had their strengths on the fun front.

And the number 1 team on the net fun index rating? None other than this year’s national champion, Georgia.

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