The start of the 2013 college football season is still months away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about preseason predictions and some of the top games to watch in each conference — and since BYU doesn't play in a conference, the Cougars stand alone.
Bronco Mendenhall is entering his ninth season in Provo and the Cougars have won at least 10 games in five of those eight seasons. However, BYU now has to schedule a fully independent slate for the third season in a row. It means that the Cougs will face another brutal schedule with few easy wins and upwards of seven or eight bowl teams.
BYU 2013 Schedule
Aug. 31 at Virginia
Sept. 7 Texas
Sept. 14 Bye Week
Sept. 21 Utah
Sept. 27 Middle Tennessee (Fri.)
Oct. 4 at Utah State (Fri.)
Oct. 12 Georgia Tech
Oct. 19 at Houston
Oct. 26 Boise State
Nov. 2 Bye Week
Nov. 9 at Wisconsin
Nov. 16 Idaho
Nov. 23 at Notre Dame
Nov. 30 at Nevada
* A trip across the country to face an ACC opponent steeped in a rich tradition of football success isn't normally how anyone wants to start the season. However, Virginia lost eight games a year ago and there isn't much to indicate they will be dramatically improved. The season opener will be tough but is very winnable for the Cougars.
* An early-season visit from Texas provides Provo a chance to host and defeat a national powerhouse. Texas has issues but is extremely talented and has eyes on a Big 12 title. This is a huge barometer game for both programs, as well as their respective head coaches and quarterbacks.
* The first bye week comes early in the year in Week 3 but is well placed following two tough power conference opponents and prior to The Holy War with Utah. Getting a second week to prepare for the school's most hated rival can only be a good thing.
* Following the in-state battle with the Utes, BYU will host back-to-back Friday night affairs with tricky but beatable mid-majors. Both Middle Tennessee and Utah State have experienced success of late and both will be looking to knock off the Cougars.
* After the two Friday night primetime games, the schedule starts to get rough. Georgia Tech, Houston and Boise State are three of the winningest programs over the last few seasons and BYU will face the trio in consecutive weekends in October. The good news is the Yellow Jackets and Broncos have to come to LaVell Edwards Stadium.
* The second off weekend also is well placed following a tough October and prefacing a brutal November. Three road trips to Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Nevada are about as tough a final month of the season as there is in the nation. Idaho at home will offer a small breather, but 2-2 in November would have to be considered a success for Mendenhall's bunch.
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