The Brigham Young Cougars athletic administration had hyped the 2013 football schedule for many, many months. The more hype the greater the odds of a letdown. When BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe unveiled the football schedule almost two weeks ago, the big question became how do the fans feel about it?
At this point in time, fans have a very positive feeling about this schedule. (To view the complete 2013 schedule, click here.) For the last week, BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL polled site visitors asking them, "On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate the 2013 BYU football schedule?" Almost half of all respondent (47%) gave the schedule a 9. One-fourth (25%) rated the schedule as an 8, while 22% think it is a 10. Just 4.5% of voters said 7, and the final 0.5% gave the 2013 football schedule a 5.
The 2013 schedule is a great model that BYU would be fortunate to replicate most years, but it is not perfect. After a long road trip to start the season, BYU doesn't leave the state of Utah all of September and the first half of October. That will help the team stay energized down the stretch. Although four of the final six games are on the road, BYU has a bye the week before traveling to Wisconsin and a de facto bye (Idaho State) the week before going to Notre Dame. The only back-to-back road trip is manageable with a quick jaunt to Reno, Nevada following the South Bend, Indiana excursion. Bye weeks were used very strategically following Boise State and before Wisconsin, and after Texas and before Utah.
The list of opponents is fresh. The only teams that BYU has played more than 10 times are Utah and Utah State. Fans will never tire of seeing them on the schedule. It is also refreshing to see only one team was a "push over" in 2012 (Idaho State), after having five or six guaranteed wins on the schedule the first two seasons of independence.
The difficulty of the schedule also works against it. Fans were greatly disappointed in 2012 when BYU lost a couple of games to teams who were surprisingly good. It may look and sound nice now to have the Cougars scheduled to play so many mediocre to good teams, but how will it feel in November if BYU is fighting, again, to stay above 0.500?
A perfect schedule wouldn't have any trap games on it. This schedule has one: Middle Tennessee State. Squeezed between Utah and Utah State, the Blue Raiders could surprise BYU the same way they stung Georgia Tech last season, 49-28.
The Boise State game on the last weekend in October is a good second half of the season home game, but not quite late enough in the year to get this schedule a perfect 10 vote, in my book. Quality November home games have still been hard to come by. In fact, the only November home game is Idaho State. November is when teams are playing their best football, which is why fans are craving to see a match up in LaVell Edwards Stadium against a strong opponent in the final month of the season. After supporting the team all year long the fans deserve it.
BYU will play games in Virginia, Wisconsin, California (if bowl eligible), and Texas. These states are all loaded with talent that the coaching staff can better recruit by playing there. The repercussions on recruiting is always a key component in designing a schedule.
All things considered, I would give the 2013 football schedule an 8. I really like it, but better schedules can be assembled.
Thank you to everyone who voted. Don't forget to vote in this week's poll: "Will the emphasis on offensive line in recruiting pay off in 2013?"
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