PROVO — At the time BYU announced it was going independent, in September 2010, athletic director Tom Holmoe said it would take a couple of years for the school to set up an ideal independent schedule.
According to coach Bronco Mendenhall, that time is not far off.
On Wednesday, Mendenhall told reporters that the 2013 schedule "looks really good, with some strong middle-to-end (opponents) … 2013 will be the toughest schedule we will have played. When you see it, you will say, 'What, is he crazy?' But it is good."
A number of those games in 2013 have already been announced, including home games against Texas, Georgia Tech and Boise State, with road contests against Hawaii, Utah State, Houston, Notre Dame and Washington State.
The coach added that the 2014 slate "is almost done. … Then '15, '16, '17 and '18 look like they are about half done. So that's as much as I can tell you without saying anything."
As for the 2012 schedule, all 12 opponents are set, though dates for the last four games haven't been announced.
BYU will open the campaign with back-to-back home games against Washington State (Sept. 1) and Weber State (Sept. 8), followed by road games at Utah (Sept. 15) and Boise State (Sept. 22). The Cougars will then host three straight games against Hawaii (Sept. 29), Utah State (Oct. 5) and Oregon State (Oct. 13) before traveling to Notre Dame (Oct. 20).
BYU is also scheduled to play Idaho at home, with road games against Georgia Tech, New Mexico State and at San Jose State.
"It is coming together well," Mendenhall said of the '12 schedule. "I don't know when we intend to release it, or why we haven't, because I think all the contracts are in except one. But in 2012, there's a nice balance."
SLOWSTARTS: The Cougars have started with a 1-2 record in five of Mendenhall's seven seasons at the helm.
"I have thought a lot about that, because I think we have been 1-2 or 1-3 almost every year," he said. "I have looked into a couple of things. It is interesting, because we play good teams in our openers, and we win. Sustaining that has been another matter. Through the first three games or four games, in most cases. Some of that has to do with who we are playing, and when, and the back-to-back nature of that. Certainly, it could be some elements in design. The last two years, it has been interesting."
Mendenhall said he is going to examine the way the program handles the offseason.
"I am looking at the design through the spring, through the summer. I am talking about the time we can't have any involvement (with players). But I like our fall camp model. If I have missed, I might have missed on the side of staying healthy, which is a hard tradeoff to give up. But I will examine that as well and try to see if there has been any link in maybe having played the first four games."
Despite the lackluster starts, BYU is 5-2 in season openers under Mendenhall.
"Again, the opener hasn't been the issue," he said. "It's been games 2-4, just off the top of my head."