After the 2013 game between BYU and Wisconsin was reported last week by Tom Mulhern of the Wisconsin State Journal, both schools made the game and date official today by official release. BYU will travel to Madison on November 9, 2013 in what is shaping up to be an exciting yet challenging schedule.
As the 2013 slate comes together, more thoughts about the season and possibilities of finishing out the schedule come to mind.
First, an updated look at the schedule:
While the return trip to Washington State was a possibility in 2013, it seems as though that game will happen in a different year.
First, some thoughts about Wisconsin:
It is very awesome, both for BYU and for college football at large, that Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema wanted so much to schedule this game that he was willing to play it in November. Bielema said he "wanted to do everything he could 'to make this BYU game happen.'" He was quoted in the release as saying, "I’m very excited because hopefully it’s something that will continue to grow from here ... There have been talks beyond next year and that’s very intriguing to me."
Mulhern originally reported a home-home series was finalized, but no return date to Provo was set. It sounds like a return trip will definitely come. Whether or not future games happen, such as a second home-and-home or a third game at a neutral site, two games with the team who has topped the Big Ten two years in a row is quite good.
The game comes on November 9, which is the week before BYU plays at Notre Dame. In the season's final month, the Cougars travel to Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Hawaii. Can we stop with the November nonsense now?
As for the rest of the 2013 schedule, many possibilities remain. With three games still open, BYU can fill in with two home games and one more road trip for a traditional 6-6 split. The Cougars can also stand pat on the road schedule and add three more teams to the home slate for seven home games. And in either of those scenarios, Tom Holmoe can also schedule a 13th game because of the trip to Hawaii (giving BYU either seven or eight home games).
Given the length of travel (destinations: Wisconsin, Indiana, Texas, Hawaii) on the schedule, I suppose it wouldn't surprise me to see BYU stop at five road games. The question then becomes if Holmoe can make the extra home game worth it to fans.
I will say that I personally won't be too disappointed if the schedule is rounded out with some former WAC teams or lower-tier MWC or C-USA schools. Frankly, I think that's what needs to happen -- it's that referred to "balance" we hear coaches say in schedule discussions. Keep in mind that BYU will likely have Taysom Hill, who will either be a sophomore or a redshirt freshman, starting at quarterback.
One distinct possibility is that New Mexico State and Idaho will be independent in 2013 as they both work to find a way to remain in FBS. Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said today that his conference has no plans to add either of those schools and that they should "work on Plan B." While scheduling both for a third-straight year would feel like old hat, both schools will probably agree to fit in the schedule wherever BYU wants them to, and would help with the balance BYU might need.
However the remaining dates are filled, I wouldn't expect any more headlining games -- but that won't bother me. This already and easily is the best BYU football schedule of my lifetime.