We've been getting more and more information on BYU's decision to become an independent in football and move its other sports to the West Coast Conference. One of the more important bits is ESPN's new relationship with the Y. From the Seattle Times:
BYU and ESPN have reached an eight-year deal for the network or one of its affiliates broadcast the Cougars' home games, which at the moment are a lot of open dates.
(BYU athletic director Tom) Holmoe said scheduling as one of just four independents in major college football was an obvious risk that BYU considered, but felt the Cougars still have enough name recognition and a large fan base that should make building a schedule without eight conference games at least a little easier.
As scheduling is the biggest concern of any BYU fan when it comes to independence, it's good to see ESPN is assisting in this effort. Teams that may have been reluctant to play the Cougars in the past may be more open to the idea if the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
One of the future opponents will likely be Notre Dame, which Holmoe said is working with BYU to iron out the details on a six-game deal through 2020. Another is archrival Utah, which is also leaving the Mountain West after getting an invitation to join the Pac-10 next year.
Holmoe said he has been talking with Utah athletic director Chris Hill about ways to keep the annual clash going while no longer in the same conference.
"We both are in agreement in that it's an important game to continue," Holmoe said.
A series with Notre Dame is always good, and I am definitely in favor of continuing the rivalry with Utah. Good news all around. And it gets better.
Salt Lake Tribune writer Michael C. Lewis reports:
Not only will [the deal] vastly expand the potential audience for Cougar games — every home game will be televised nationally, on either an ESPN channel or the school’s BYU-TV network — but it also will help the Cougs fill their annual 12-game schedule by enlisting ESPN as a partner to help arrange match-ups.
Every home game televised nationally and distribution over BYUTV? Great news for fans who can't get the mtn thanks to HOA arrangements or other circumstances, and in addition, it exposes BYU football to NCAAF fans everywhere who might not have ventured into the 600's.
On to the game of the day!
It's August 25, 2001. LaVell Edwards' era at BYU is over, and new hire at head coach Gary Crowton's first game is against Tulane in Provo. I watched this game at my uncle's house a few blocks from the stadium, and the anticipation of seeing a brand-new coach and what he could do was palpable.
Tulane struck first on a 75-yard touchdown run from running back Mewelde Moore, and three rushing touchdowns from Cougar back Luke Staley in the first quarter later, the score was 21-21.
BYU scored 49 more points to Tulane's 14 over the next three quarters, and if there's one thing fans knew, it was that Crowton's offense was going to be pretty good. We also knew Luke Staley was special, and 21 more touchdowns later, he won the Doak Walker award.
Here's the highlight. Thanks to Cougarboard.com member Garn.
BYU averaged 46.8 points per game that season, the highest a Cougar team has averaged in school history. Of course, after Staley broke his ankle against Mississippi State later that season, the team was never the same under Crowton.
But for one hot day in August, it seemed the sky was the limit.