BYU will face one of the toughest schedules in school history this year, and will enter the season with a redone offensive staff and new faces all over the field.
For those reasons alone, mostly the schedule, not many people are giving them a huge shot at having a great season.
The Cougars may have lost some big playmakers, most notably Riley Stephensen and Ezekiel Ansah, but they could still send shock waves across the country. Here are four reasons why they will overachieve in 2013.
We don't know a whole lot about the new offense that is being installed at BYU - other than that it is, well, fast. For all I know, it could end up being a huge disaster, but even that would be a step up from last year's.
Robert Anae put together the best Cougar offenses of this century with Max Hall and John Beck, and if those years are any indication, it should be a huge success. With a tough schedule ahead and a desperate need of offensive progression, "shaking things up" a bit good may be the best way to go.
BYU finished last season as 64th in the country in rushing offense, and needless to say, there's room for improvement. So far in the offseason, the Cougars have done just that - improved.
Michael Alisa, who headed the depth chart heading into last season, is recovering from an arm injury and will be back to full health come August. On the other hand, sophomore Jamaal Williams (who replaced Alisa after the injury) is projected as the starting running back, with promising backups in Adam Hine, Paul Lasike and Iona Pritchard.
With the new offense coming into play, the backfield could turn into a vital weapon for BYU.
Despite an opportunity to forgo his senior season and enter the draft, Kyle Van Noy opted to return to BYU and finish what he started. Already, Cougar fans have started an unofficial "KVN for Heisman" campaign and are preparing to watch opponents get "Van Noy-ed".
Deja vu, anyone?
No, Van Noy may not end up blowing up college football like Jimmer Fredette did to basketball, but the similarities are there. He's an exciting player to watch and could surprise the country with a big season.
He is backed up with a good group of linebackers, starting with Spencer Hadley on the strong side. Despite inexperience, Uani 'Unga and Tyler Beck will start at ILB, who could also pan out to be good players.
Cody Hoffman has received his due amount of preseason hype, and rightfully. He's one of the best wideouts in the country and is a legitimate NFL prospect.
But the rest of BYU's receivers have had little - to no - attention since December.
They, too, could have a good season; Skyler Ridley is tied with Hoffman with the highest catch rate of Cougar receivers, and JD Falslev will return for his senior season as a dangerous kick returner and slot receiver.
Ross Apo, a highly-touted recruit out of his Texas high school, has not been a huge force in BYU's offense, but has the potential to have a breakout year. In all, the Cougar receiving corps is something to get excited about, and it leaves quarterback Taysom Hill with plenty of options.