With four key road wins BYU's football team can go undefeated in 2012.
Without a conference title to compete for, BYU fans like me can only hope the Cougars run the table and get an invite to a major bowl game as an independent.
After a convincing 30-6 season-opening victory against the Pac-12's Washington State Cougars, hope abounds among the Cougar faithful.
Though it is a stretch to see this happening, here is how the Cougars could go 12-0.
The "Gimme" Games
BYU has 11 games remaining this season. The Cougars should win at least five: Weber State, Hawaii, Idaho, San Jose State, and New Mexico State
With the Washington State game already won, BYU should go 6-0 against these teams.
The "Should Win" Games
The Cougars have two more "Should Win" games on the schedule:
Oct 5th vs. Utah State - Going back to 1983 the Cougars are 19-2 against the Aggies, but this game can never be overlooked. BYU only beat Utah State in 2011 with a last-second miracle, but BYU should win this game.
Oct 13th vs. Oregon State - ESPN has OSU ranked behind Washington State in their Pac-12 rankings, and BYU dominated WSU in Week 1. Last year BYU beat OSU 38-28 in Corvallis, so this is a "Should Win" game for the Cougars.
The "Tough" Games
Outside of the eight "Gimme" and "Should Win" games, there are four tough games looming, and they are all on the road:
Sep 15th at Utah - ESPN ranks the Utes third in the Pac-12 as Utah returns 18 starters. While Utah will likely be favored at home, the Holy War usually comes down to the wire and either team can win this game.
Sep 20th at Boise State - BSU entered the season ranked #24 and lost their opening game to #13 Michigan State in a close 17-13 game. After losing key players like Kellen Moore and Doug Martin to the NFL, BSU can be beaten.
Oct 20th at Notre Dame - Notre Dame looked impressive beating Navy 50-10 to start the season and jumped to #22 in the AP Poll. But Notre Dame is not Alabama or USC, and BYU can win this one.
Oct 27th at Georgia Tech - Georgia Tech is ranked fifth in the ACC by ESPN and should compete for the Coastal Division crown. Georgia Tech lost its first game of the year in overtime to #16 Virginia Tech but looked impressive in the process.
BYU can and should compete with Utah, Boise State, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. These games are winnable for the Cougars.
With one game in the books, Notre Dame is ranked #22 in the AP Poll. While the Cougars are not in the AP's Top-25, BYU received 63 votes compared to Boise State's 79 votes, Utah's 34, and Georgia Tech's 14.
The odds of BYU winning each of the four "Tough" games are slim, but it is possible.
Until BYU loses, I will be pulling for 12-0.
Because without a conference title to compete for, that's all a hopeful BYU fan can do.
Andrew Sweat is a BYU alum and die-hard Cougars fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check out these articles: