Odds of any college football team going undefeated are slim.
There are too many factors at work: injuries, luck of a bounce or call or emotions of an instate rivalry.
While Bronco Mendenhall's 2008 team has its primary goal of winning the Mountain West, there are plenty of Cougars who believe this is a year they could run the table and make a BCS game like Boise State, Utah and Hawaii have done in this decade.
BYU's run the undefeated route before. But even then, it was not easy and it took some big plays that could have gone either way.
In 1979, the season the Cougars finished 12-1 (11-0) in the regular season, a perfect run eluded that Marc Wilson team by a missed field goal with two seconds left against Indiana in the Holiday Bowl. A team that featured BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and Bronco Mendenhall's older brother Mat Mendenhall, the Cougars marched 60 yards in two minutes at the end of the game and had Brent Johnson in position for a chipshot field goal and the game winner.
Johnson had kicked field goals of 40, 28 and 29 yards in the game and the 27-yard attempt should have been routine, but it squirted off the side of his foot and harmlessly hit the turf and the Cougars lost to Lee Corso's team 38-37.
The next year, a Jim McMahon team never lost a game except the opener at New Mexico. That was the first year for offensive line coach Roger French and the Lobos unveiled a blitzing defensive attack made famous by coordinator Joe Lee Dunn and it caught the Cougars unprepared. The team finished the season with a thrilling comeback win over SMU in the Holiday Bowl, the first-ever bowl win for the Cougars. Again, one game, one situation, one night in Albuquerque and perfection ended right out of the chute.
In 1984, the year the Cougars did go undefeated and were crowned national champions, the season was filled with big plays that could have gone the other way. One was a Robbie Bosco pass to Adam Haysbert in the opening win against Pitt. Another was a key reception by David Mills against Air Force and a diving goal-line tackle for loss at Hawaii by safety Kyle Morrell on the Warrior QB.
Inches. Single plays. Bad games.
They haunt football teams and make it nearly impossible to run the table.
The 1980 stumble repeated itself for the Cougars in 1996, a team that finished 14-1 with a win over Kansas in the Cotton Bowl.
An unfocused start on the road at Seattle that included an argument before kickoff about "spats" on shoes and a decent Washington team humbled that Steve Sarkisian-led team.
No Division I team finished undefeated in 2007 after Hawaii lost to Georgia in a BCS bowl. In 2006, Boise State managed a 13-0 campaign and Texas also finished 13-0 in 2005 and of course Utah ran the table in 2004.
Some oddsmakers have placed BYU's statistical odds of going undefeated this season at less than 10 percent.Undefeated is rare, indeed.
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