2014 however looks to be a different story. With 11 of 12 games already scheduled, this is what it looks like.
Virginia, Houston, Utah St., Nevada, Southern Miss, UNLV
Connecticut, Texas, UCF, Boise St., Middle Tennessee, and opponent not yet determined
I don't see BYU losing any games at home next season, and sure, Texas and Boise St. will be tough road games, but considering how well we did against them in recent seasons, I don't find those games impossible to win. If BYU manages to pull off those two big games at Texas and Boise St., I could see the magic happening for BYU.
As we're all familiar, BYU has yet to make it to a BCS bowl game (as the BCS held its first bowl in the 1992 season, and BYU won the championship back in 1984). In 2014, the NCAA will have a playoff system for the top 4 teams, who are picked by a selection committee which is still being assembled. BYU will have to go undefeated on a good schedule to make that top 4, but if they went undefeated they'd definitely be picked as an at-large for a BCS bowl, a.k.a. Major Bowl. It's where the money, credibility, and exposure are.
The last major bowl game BYU went to was in the 1996 season, 17 years ago where they held off 14th ranked Kansas St. in the Cotton Bowl (not a part of the BCS bowls at this point) and finished the season ranked 5th in the country with a 14-1 record, which still stands as an NCAA record for most wins in a season.
Since then, BYU has yet to reach a post-season bowl game that has that level of prestige.
In 2014, the offensive side of the ball will have an experienced O-line, Taysom Hill, Ammon Olsen as his backup, Jamaal Williams and Adam Hine at running back, Ross Apo, Nick Kurtz, Mitch Matthews, Eric Thornton, and Michael Davis at receiver. The pieces are there.
The defense would take a dip considering we'll lose Van Noy, Hadley, Sorensen, Hague, etc, but with our scheme defensively and team defense, it shouldn't be too difficult to reload.
Call it optimism or far-fetched, but 2014 is shaping up to be a special BCS-type year with potential to go undefeated or a one loss season.
Bronco has had a run of 11 and 10 win seasons, but has yet to have a one-loss season. I feel this is the next step for the BYU program and with a favorable schedule and the returning of many offensive starters and a good defensive scheme, 2014 could be one of those years to remember.
But for now, let the 2013 games begin...