BYU finished the season ranked 25th in the USA Today/Coaches poll, and just out of the rankings at 26th in the AP poll. As predicted they needed one more of the teams just ahead of them to lose in the AP to sneak in and it didn't happen.
In fact, BYU could blame, or thank, USC for the final reckoning. The Trojans finished ranked 6th in the AP poll, nudging BYU down one spot and out of the rankings, but were ineligible for the coaches poll, therefore letting the Cougars sneak in.
All in all, it was a fitting way to end the season, as it was symbolic of the season itself. Good but not always good enough. And, despite its 10-3 record, hadn't really proved itself worthy of a ranking, having beaten the teams that it should have, and lost when given an opportunity to play themselves in. Once could argue both sides, and fittingly the rankings also rewarded them with a finish on both sides of the cutoff.