Those four other 10-3 teams came in 1989, 1990, 1994, and 2008.
1989: BYU started 10-2. Loss #3 was in the final game of the season, the Holiday Bowl, against Penn State.
1990: BYU started 10-1. Loss #3 was also the final game of the season, the Holiday Bowl, against Texas A&M.
1994: BYU started 9-2. Loss #3 was the regular season finale at Utah. BYU won the Copper Bowl against Oklahoma to reach 10 wins.
2008: BYU started 10-1. Loss #3 was the final game of the season, the Las Vegas Bowl, against Arizona.
Interestingly, BYU has also had four 9-win teams (minimum 13 games in a season). They came in 1978, 1987, 1988, and 1998 teams.
1978: BYU could have won 10 games, but lost in the Holiday Bowl to Navy, and finished 9-4.
1987: BYU could have won 10 games, but lost in the All-American Bowl to Virginia, and finished 9-4.
1988: BYU could have won 10 games, but finished the year 1-2 in the final three games. The lone win was in the Freedom Bowl against Colorado. BYU finished 9-4.
1998: BYU could have won 10 games, but lost the WAC Championship Game against Air Force and the Liberty Bowl against Tulane, and the Cougars finished 9-5.
The trend from these eight seasons is disturbing. Only one of the 10-win teams got win number 10 in a bowl game, which is exactly what the 2011 BYU team will have to do. Three of the 9-win teams could have joined the 10-win club if they won their bowl game.
BYU teams that are in the 9-10 wins range have struggled to finish the season on a positive note. The 2011 team will have to buck this trend to become the fifth 10-3 BYU football team.