BYU’s 2013 Slate Can Stand Against Any BCS Schedule
Even without the final few pieces of the puzzle, BYU’s 2013 season could be its toughest ever.
During the seismic shifting a few years ago that saw Utah trekking off to the Pac-12 and BYU striking out on its own, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said the newly independent Cougars would need two years to iron out the scheduling kinks and produce a slate that fans could salivate over.
Holmoe is in the process of producing a 2013 schedule that could be among the toughest in the nation, and far more formidable than what Utah may face.
In talking about the 2012 season, Bronco Mendenhall said he already sees a big leap forward from independence year 1.
“[This year’s] schedule is stronger than last year by a lot,” Mendenhall said. “In ’13, it will be even better than that. This is a process. We’re preparing for that on a daily basis, acknowledging the long term, but focusing on the short term.”
While a handful of games for 2013 are still unofficial, we already know BYU will be tested early and often. It will be an epic season for the boys in blue, no matter who the remaining opponents are.
How about a September featuring home visits by Texas, Utah and Boise State? October’s run includes road games to Utah State and Houston, with a home date with Georgia Tech sandwiched in between. Even November is getting meatier with a visit to historic South Bend to take on Notre Dame and a season finale on the islands against Hawaii.
BYU’s return trip to Washington State is also slated for 2013, though the exact date remains unclear.
This week, an already impressive schedule got even more extraordinary with news out of Madison that BYU will head to Camp Randall Stadium in 2013 to take on Wisconsin, with the Badgers making their first ever trip to Provo in 2014 or 2015.
That game will take place either in September or November. Rumors are ESPN is pushing hard for the Badgers to take a break from league play for a November bout against BYU.
So how does an independent BYU’s schedule compare with a team in one of the BCS conferences, say Utah?
Based on team records and Sagarin rankings from 2011, BYU is facing a much more challenging task than the folks up north.
Overall Average Ranking/Record
BYU #43 9-5 (FIVE Top 25; 0 Bottom 100; two opponents with losing records)
Utah #57 7-6 (three Top 25; TWO Bottom 100; SIX opponents with losing records)
#8 Wisconsin 11-3
#9 Boise State 12-1
#15 Houston 13-1
#17 Texas 8-5
#26 Notre Dame 8-5
#39 Utah 8-5
#56 Georgia Tech 8-5
#80 Utah State 7-6
#83 Washington State 4-8
#97 Hawaii 6-7
That’s eight BCS teams on BYU’s slate with schools from the Big 12, Big East, ACC, Pac-12, and Big Ten, not to mention the most famous independent in the country. In fact, the only big league BYU doesn’t play in 2013 is the SEC.
What’s more, since BYU plays Hawaii on the road, the Cougars could add a 13th game (presumably a 7th home game) if it chose.
#5 Oregon 12-2
#7 Stanford 11-2
#12 USC 10-2
#34 Brigham Young 10-3
#41 Arizona State 6-7
#44 Washington 7-6
#64 Arizona 4-8
#66 UCLA 6-8
#80 Utah State 7-6
#87 Oregon State 3-9
#107 Colorado 3-10
#136 Weber State 5-6
Perhaps Mendenhall summed up 2013 best in a January interview. “2013 will be the toughest schedule we will have played. When you see it, you will say, ‘What, is he crazy?’ But it is good.”
Adding to the goodness, if the boys over at Deep Shades of Blue are correct, an independent BYU could become a premier scheduling partner in years to come for BCS teams looking for quality opponents looking to boost their strength of schedule.