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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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Will BYU's 2013 football schedule really be the toughest ever?

BYU finally released its 2012 football schedule on Monday, with few, if any, surprises. Here's the schedule, in case you missed the reports.

Naturally, it's time to look ahead to the 2013 schedule, which football coach Bronco Mendenhall and athletic director Tom Holmoe have said will be difficult.

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How difficult?

After a teleconference with Holmoe on Monday night, I tweeted out that "Holmoe agreed with Bronco that the 2013 BYU football schedule will be the most difficult in school history."

Actually, Holmoe said, after being asked if he agreed with Mendenhall's assessment, that "it will be the toughest schedule ... I am sure."

Both men may have meant that the 2013 schedule will be the toughest in Mendenhall's tenure.

Earlier Monday night, Holmoe said on BYUtv that "as we look to 2013, you're going to see a trend of tougher and tougher teams. I've got to be careful as we look [ahead] that we don't overdo it."

By the way, Holmoe also said on BYUtv that the Cougars will announce the scheduling of several "high-profile" teams in the near future.

"We have been working on these games for years. It has gone back and forth," he said. "We just need to finish off the contracts. These are two teams that I think a lot of our fans are going to like."

Robert Garrick, an astute reader in Clayton, Missouri, points out that the 2013 schedule will have to be incredibly difficult to be the most difficult in school history.

"Holmoe and Mendenhall will turn out to be WRONG, and their memories are short," Garrick notes. "In 2004 [BYU] played three teams--USC, Utah, and Boise State--that finished the regular season undefeated. That had never happened before to a school in college football's top division. Sagarin rated BYU's 2004 schedule the 11th toughest in the country. BYU also played Notre Dame that year (and won). The Boise State game, played in Boise, should have been a BYU win, but Matt Payne, who had made 28 consecutive field goals, missed an easy 37-yarder with 23 seconds left, and Boise escaped."

Garricks says only one other schedule in BYU football history was close to 2004 in difficulty -- the 2003 schedule, which was rated as the 14th most difficult in the country by Jeff Sagarin.

"By contrast, BYU's 2011 schedule, which got them a national ranking, was only the 90th toughest in America," Garrick notes. "I have no doubt the 2013 schedule will be more challenging than that, but I'll bet you, Mendenhall, or Holmoe $1,000 right now that it won't be one of the ten toughest schedules in America. That's what it would have to be to make it "the most difficult in school history."

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Holmoe also said Monday that he only needs to add two or three more games to the 2013 schedule. Here's what I know so far about the 2013 schedule. Feel free to shoot me an email if I am missing an opponent or have an incorrect date.

Opener: At Washington State (Based on reports when the series was announced; However, Holmoe said Monday that BYU would return the 2012 game to WSU "in a few years." So who knows?)

Sept. 7 -- Texas

Sept. 14 -- Utah (again, this game has not been contracted yet. But it would have to be played in the first three weeks, due to Pac-12 scheduling rules)

Sept. 28 -- at Hawaii

Oct. 4 -- at Utah State

Oct. 12 -- Georgia Tech

Oct. 19 -- at Houston

Oct. 26 -- Boise State

Nov. 16 -- at Notre Dame

BOWL: Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco vs. Pac-12 No. 6

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The BYU basketball team will practice this afternoon in the Marriott Center in preparation for Thursday's game at San Francisco.

It is a huge game as far as BYU's NCAA Tournament hopes are concerned, because the Dons are 17-10 and have won seven of their last nine games.

Andy Glockner of Sportsillustrated.com has put out his always-informative bubble watch and bracket watch iterations this week, and he has BYU as a No. 11 seed like almost everybody else.

Notes Glockner on BYU: "A three-game league roadie kicks off in San Francisco and culminates in Spokane on Feb. 23. That game is huge for postseason positioning. BYU could really use a sweep of the Zags."

Finally, former BYU star Jimmer Fredette is pretty good at the old tv game show Password. Check this out as Fredette and a teammate breeze through some Valentines Day words.



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