I've followed the Cougs for over 20 years and find the perceptions of our fan base a bit amusing. It seems we come from a place where BYU is a football powerhouse that is always on the verge of greatness. In reality, we're a second-tier football power that tends to drub the second-tier competition and occassionally rise up to beat the first tier competition. When we lose to second-tier competition we wring our hands and struggle to understand how we could have been beaten by such poor competition.
What makes being a BYU fan fun, is that we HOPE to beat the first tier competition, but we know in our heart of hearts that it will take our absolute best game to beat them. I can remember, but a few seasons where we marched in against a first tier competitor as the favorite and really pummelled them. Yes, we had some good runs at the Pioneer Bowl and some other occassions, but the reality is, those were the exceptions. We are, in my mind, the perennial underdog in the first-tier games.
So, for example, Wash St will be a big win for us--I doubt we'll just roll them. Unfortunately, I think the U and BSU will clobber us. OSU, ND, and GT will also be tough. I can remember but a few seasons where we might approach a schedule like this with some swagger. The reality is that, with some luck and good play, we'll win 4 of 6. We probably won't fair so well. If any of these teams were at top form, we'd likely not have a shot at all. We can talk about National Championships, top 10 finishes and undefeated seasons, but I think those are relegated to a few special seasons every 10-15 years. Should we hope to land in the top 20 every 3-5 years--yes--that's a realistic and achievable goal.