BYU's 2011 Football Schedule: Ideal, Probable, and Worst Case Scenarios

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BYU's 2011 Football Schedule: Ideal, Probable, and Worst Case Scenarios
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Cougar fans were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Big Name packed schedules danced in their heads.

There is no doubt that in the future BYU football fans will enjoy watching the Cougars play schedules the likes of which they could only have dreamed about as part of the MWC, but next year? The Cougars currently have only 3 games currently scheduled for the 2011 season.  I have no doubt that they will be able to fill their schedule for next year, but the quality of that schedule is still uncertain.  This article outlines 3 general scenarios.  1) The ideal or best case scenario. 2) The most likely scenario, and 3) The Worst case scheduling scenario.

Ground Work:

All of these scenarios are technically possible.  The proposed games will only be with teams that have openings on their schedules and would at least consider playing BYU in 2011.  As of right now, BYU has @ Oregon St. scheduled for Week 1, @ Texas for Week 2, and vs. Utah St. most likely week 5.  That leaves 9 games needed. 

Ideal Schedule:

1) Add Notre Dame.  They currently have only 10 games announced.  The weeks they have available are:6, 7, 10, 12, and 14.  ND will play BC in 2011, but a date for that has yet to be set.  ND currently has 6 home and 4 away games scheduled, so there is a chance that BYU could get ND at home  next year.

2) Add Utah.  This will actually be a tough game to get for next year.  Utah already has 3 Nonconference games scheduled. The Pac 10 will probably have 11 teams in it next year.  The only way they will be able to fit BYU in is if the PAC 10 goes to an 8 game conference schedule (like the Big 10 did when it went to 11 teams).  Plus, Utah needs another home game to even out their schedule.  If BYU plays Utah next year, it will be at their place.  The dates Utah will have available are uncertain because of their conference switch, but it will probably have to be in the beginning of the year, so either the week 3 of week 5.  Week 3 won't work for the Cougars because that would make 3 road games in a row against really good/great teams.  Looks like it will have to be week 5.  We'll just have to move the Utah St. game.

3 &4) Add Nevada and Fresno St.  Technically both Nevada and Fresno St will be required to stay in the WAC until 2012 because they did not give notice until after the July 1st deadline.  Both of the have an empty "conference" slot where Boise St. used to be.  BYU could fill that spot.  Nevada would be at home and Fresno St would be away.  This would be a nice addition because the games would be during conference play.  Plus it provides BYU with 2 winnable games against teams with winning records.

5) Oregon at home.  Another marquee matchup.  It could work because Oregon currently has only 5 away games and gaps in weeks 1, 11, and 14.  Plus, if the Pac 10(11) goes to an 8 game conference schedule, there is an aditional non conference slot available.  It would be another very difficult game, but its being at home and Oregon's breaking in a new QB sould help

6) Arkansas at Home.  BYU hasn't played an SEC team since 2001 when whey defeated Mississippi St in Starksville, MS.  Arkansas would be a good fit in this schedule.  BYU already plays several conference and even national championship contending teams.  Arkansas is very good, but the loss of Ryan Mallet will make this a very winnable game for the Cougars.  Arkansas has several games planned that do not yet have assigned dates, so currently they have spaces in weeks 2,4-7, and 10.

7) @ Kansas St.  Lets revisit the Big 12.  Kansas St needs another home game.   Byu would be more than happy to fill that billet.  Scheduling is a bit up in the air at the moment since the Big 12 will have 11 teams next year, but at the moment there aren't any games scheduled in weeks1-3, 6, and 13.

8)vs. Clemson.  On to the ACC.  Clemson has only 5 road games next year.  Make the 6th in Provo.   The in conference schedule for the ACC hasn't been decided on yet. so far only weeks 1, 3, 13, and 14 are out of the picture

9)@ Louisville.  Now to the Big East.  At the moment Louisville has only 5 home games scheduled.  Conference schedule have yet to be set, so this game could be placed on the 2nd, 3rd, or 6th-14th weeks of the season.

OK, now lets fill out the schedule with actual dates.

Week 1: @ Oregon St.

Week 2: @ Texas  

Week 3: vs Nevada

Week 4: vs Arkansas

Week 5: @ Utah

Week 6: vs Notre Dame

Week 7: @Louisville

Week 8: Bye

Week 9: vs. Clemson

Week 10: @ Fresno St.

Week 11: vs Oregon

Week 12: vs Utah St.

Week 13: @ Kansas State

 

Beautiful, and technically possible (if rather unlikely).  It would be very difficult, but manageable schedule.   BYU will probably be very strong next year, returning the most of this years starters.  They should be favoredi n most of these games, but they would also be challenged in each.

Games in Which BYU would be a clear underdog (please note that this is for 2011, not this year): @ Texas.

Games in which the betting line will be almost dead even: @ Utah, vs. Oregon, @ Oregon St.

Games in which BYU would be favored, but will be close and could still go either way: Vs Arkansas (assuming Petrino stays after this year), vs Notre Dame, vs Clemson.

Games which should be wins assuming BYU doesn't take the day off: @ Louisville, @ Kansas St, @ Fresno St, vs Nevada, vs Utah St.

Cupcakes: Zero (possibly Utah St, but I think they will at least be bowl eligible)

 

Most Likely:

Most likely we will not get most of the BCS teams on the ideal schedule list.  BYU (with ESPN using some of its leverage) might be able to get 1 or 2.  Clemson and Louisville already have 2 SEC non conference games scheduled.  I doubt they will want to add BYU to their schedules. 

The Pac 10 and Big 12 will both have 11 teams each which will make scheduling highly problematic and they likelyhood of the Cougars getting more than 1 additional game from those 2 conferences doesn't appear to good.

ESPN may be able to "encourage" a team like Arkansas (whose non conference schedule includes troy and FCS Missouri St) to play BYU

As far as I know, the Notre Dame game could happen.  As independents,  both need games during the latter 2/3 of the season in place of conference schedules.  Both teams have the room and the need for a mid/late season game.  It makes sense for them to play each other.

Summary of shattered dreams: In addition to the Oregon St. and Texas, BYU will probably only be able to get 2 more games with BCS teams next season.  I don't know which ones, but in this schedule I'll let Notre Dame and Kansas St. take the place of those 2.  Now BYU has 5 games scheduled for 2011, Lets find the other 7.

1&2) Nevada and Fresno St.  The WAC and BYU have been rumored to be interested in upholding at least part of their original deal, which may include the planned football games and a home for BYU Softball, Track, Swimming and Diving.  If that is the case, which I think likely, BYU could get 4-6 WAC teams scheduled this year  to help fill their schedule.

3) @ Hawaii. BYU can take Boise St.'s slot for 2011.  This will give the cougars an extra game.

4&5) vs San Jose St and New Mexico St.  Not great games, but at least their not FCS teams (yet).

6) vs FCS team.  Sad to see it, but with only 1 year in advance to plan 10 games, you knew it was probably going to have to make an appearance.

7) vs  New Mexico (or SDSU or Air Force or UNLV or CSU).  They may not like BYU for leaving the MWC, but they do like the money they bring in.  BYU should be able to keep at least 1 of these games.

8) @ UTEP.  This could be replaced with several mediocre mid major teams.  Utep just happens to be short 2 non conference home games at the moment.

 

Ok lets set up the schedule.

Week 1: @ Oregon St.

Week 2: @ Texas  

Week 3: vs New Mexico St

Week 4: @Fresno St

Week 5: vs. Utah St

Week 6: Bye

Week 7: vs Notre Dame

Week 8: vs Air Force

Week 9: @ Hawaii

Week 10: San Jose St.

Week 11: @ UTEP

Week 12: vs FCS team

Week 13: @ Kansas State

Week 14: vs Nevada

 

Not bad.  Not particularly good, but for having so short notice it will do.  Lets put these games into their respected catagories:

Ranked teams: Texas, Oregon St., and Notre Dame.

Teams that will be bowl eligible: Air Force, Nevada, Fresno St, Kansas St.,

Teams that may be bowl eligible: Hawaii, Utah St., Utep

Cupcakes: San Jose St., New Mexico St., FCS team.

 

Worst Case Scenario:

BYU can't get any other BCS teams on their schedule in time for next year.  Nevada and Fresno St. find a loop hole and leave the WAC after this season.  Most MWC and WAC teams are bitter about BYU's move and blame them for ruining their conference (WAC), or weakening their conference and destroying their AQ hopes (MWC) and don't want to play BYU.

This would result in a nightmare (if you have a phobia of being surrounded by cupcakes) schedule.  BYU manages to get 3 games out of lower tier MWC/WAC teams, scourers the other midmajor conferences for anyone who has room and is willing to play them, and is forced to add 3 FCS teams when they run out of FBS options.

Lets take a look at this pastry shop of a schedule:

Week 1: @ Oregon St.

Week 2: @ Texas  

Week 3: FCS team

Week 4: @North Texas

Week 5: vs. Utah St

Week 6: Bye

Week 7: FCS Team

Week 8: vs UL Monroe

Week 9: @ New Mexico St

Week 10: vs FCS team

Week 11: @UL Lafayette

Week 12: San Jose St

Week 13: @ UTEP

 

Yuck. I think I am going to be ill.  Fortunately, the chances of that happening are very small with ESPN on board.

 

Well, that about wraps it up.  Anybody who is dreaming of an "ideal schedule" had better hit the snooze come 2011, because the only place you're going to see it is in your dreams.  Fortunately for the Cougar faithful, the following years will likely see schedules moving in that direction.  We just have to be a little patient.

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