Dave Christiansen's 2012 squad had a nice passing offense run through Brett Smith, but only managed four wins -- and needed some help getting there. In 2013, he'll try to put together a third bowl trip in his sixth season in charge of the Cowboys -- and if he can't figure that out, he might be in trouble.
The chances for wins are on the Cowboys' schedule. Here's a look at the team's 2013 slate:
2013 Wyoming schedule
Projections from Football Outsiders' 2013 college football almanac.
For the second straight year, the Cowboys open their season on the road against an major conference opponent, heading to Nebraska for a game where they'll be a long shot to even stay competitive. But the rest of Wyoming's non-conference schedule provides three opportunities for wins -- an FCS squad in Northern Colorado, and teams projected to be in the bottom 25 of college football in Idaho and Texas State. Three W's there, and Wyoming is halfway to bowling.
The Cowboys also host the projected three worst teams on their conference schedule Hawaii -- saving them a long, long road trip -- Colorado State, and New Mexico. Their best chance to steal a road win will be against Air Force, where the altitude of Colorado Springs won't do much to a team that already plays at 7,000 feet: Boise State is Boise State, and San Jose State and Utah State were fearsome in the now-defunct WAC. But Wyoming won three of their four victories in 2012 on the road, so perhaps they'll continue their trend of winning outside of Laramie.
Smith is one of the better quarterbacks in college football you probably haven't heard of, improving quite a bit in between his freshman and sophomore years for a 27-touchdown, six-interception season where he completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 2,832 yards. Now a junior, further improvement could give him an even scarier statline. But the passing game wasn't really a problem for a team that averaged just 3.4 yards per carry and gave up 33.4 points per game, 99th in the country.