Utah AD Chris Hill on Tuesday did as many expected he eventually would, announcing an interruption to the 90-year BYU-Utah football rivalry, with the series taking a break in 2014 and 2015.
In a sit-down with local media members, Hill confirmed that a 2013 meeting in Provo will bring to an end a run of 68 straight games over 67 consecutive years, with the rivalry to return at Rice-Eccles Stadium in 2016. The only other interruption of the annual game--first staged in 1922--was for three seasons during World War II, from 1943-1945.
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall and AD Tom Holmoe have repeatedly stated their desire that the rivalry continue unabated, while recent statements from their Ute counterparts were non-committal at best and speculatively pessimistic at worst. Hill's announcement will not have have taken anyone by surprise.
By this time next month, college football's preseason camps will be open around the country, and the countdown continues with the coordinated release of the individual preseason award watch lists.
As coordinated by the National College Football Awards Association, the first watch lists were released today, and BYU quarterback Riley Nelson appears on the 65-player nomination list for the Maxwell Award, given to the college player of the year.
The Cougars have had multiple Maxwell Award nominees in the past, with Ty Detmer winning the award in 1990.
Every few years, it happens: BYU enters the college football season with a senior starter at quarterback. Such is the case this season, with Riley Nelson slated to start under center on August 30th, as the Cougars host Washington State in 2012's lid-lifter.
Over the better part of the last four decades, a pattern has been observed in Provo. Since LaVell Edwards took over as head coach in 1972, every time a senior has been the clear-cut starter at QB, the Cougars have followed that player's lead in successful fashion:
The 2011-12 BYU Football and Basketball seasons were once again as successful on KSL Radio as they were on the field and the court.
Ratings from the just-completed athletic year showed BYU broadcasts on the "Radio Home of the Cougars" led the market in audience numbers, dominating in-state rival Utah's broadcasts in both sports, while also finishing ahead of the Utah Jazz during hoops season.
The following reports are from Arbitron© (2012 Arbitron Inc.) PPM (Portable People Meter) ratings data for the Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo Designated Market Area (DMA).
Videos courtesy BYU Cougars Official YouTube Channel
BYU Football's "Countdown to Kickoff" commenced early Wednesday during the program's 2012 Media Day, held at the BYU Broadcasting Building for a second straight year.
Members of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee will meet next Tuesday, tasked with approving a college football playoff model that will in essence spell the end of the BCS itself.
As drawn up and endorsed by the nation's FBS conference commissioners and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick, the new plan will utilize the existing bowl system in staging two national semifinals and then bid out an annual championship game that honchos hope will rival the Final Four and Super Bowl as a marquee event in a way the previous BCS Championship Games could not. While many particulars remain to be determined, it appears that although conference champions will receive particular consideration, independents such as Notre Dame and BYU would be judged on the same criteria as conference members, with strength of schedule being a primary consideration.
The NCAA reports that Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores are up across the Division I membership, and BYU's scores are up, too, with mutli-year APRs increasing in 15 of 21 sports, resulting in a six-point improvement over last year's results.
The NCAA DI APR average for 2012 is 973, up from 970 in 2011. BYU's 21-sport APR average for 2012 lands right at the NCAA DI median of 973, an improvement from the school's APR score of 967 in 2011.
BYU's men's sports averaged a 2012 APR of 965, while the women's sports average was 979.
ESPN announced Thursday that BYU's September 15th visit to Rice-Eccles Stadium will be a night-time affair, televised on ESPN2; the game will of course also be heard on KSL Newsradio, the exclusive radio home of the BYU Cougars.
BYU at Utah will kick at 8:00pm MT, with pregame coverage on KSL starting two hours prior, at 6:00pm. Cougar Sports Saturday will air from noon to 6:00 that day, giving BYU fans an entire day's worth of lead-up to the 87th playing of the annual rivalry game.
It had been three weeks since the last session, so we fired up the ol' chat machine on Tuesday afternoon.
If you missed the live version, check out the replay below. For the record, it clocked in at a shade longer than two hours and 45 minutes. Not sure if that is a good thing or not, but I hope you enjoy the read-through.
John Feinstein is one of this country's preeminent sports journalists, and he'll soon be visiting Utah's Sundance Resort to discuss his 28th and latest book, "One on One: Behind the Scenes with the Greats in the Game."
Given the opportunity to talk with Feinstein ahead of his visit, I conducted a telephone interview with him this week, during which we discussed, among other things: the story behind his new book, the interesting background to his upcoming appearance at Sundance, the state of college football--including BYU's future as a football independent--and even Tiger Woods.
You can hear those excerpts from our interview in "Cougar Cuts," left, and you can hear the entire interview during "Cougar Sports Saturday," this Saturday between 1:35 and 2:00pm, and again between 4:35 and 5:00pm, on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM.
Less than four weeks after finding out he had been cut by the Washington Redskins, former BYU quarterback John Beck took the practice field on Monday of this week as a Houston Texan.
It was Beck's OTA (organized team activities) debut for the Texans, his fourth team in his sixth NFL season. Yet, despite the new surroundings and getting accustomed to yet another set of coaches and teammates, Beck felt unusually at ease on day one, thanks to some unexpected visitors.
"I had been out (in Houston) for a little more than a week, doing the offseason stuff," Beck said in a telephone interview I had with him on Wednesday, "but it was my first put-on-the-helmet, put-on-the-jersey, put-on-the- cleats, full practice. I walked out on the field and there were all these BYU shirts."
After a week away, the Tuesday live chat returns in what may turn out to be a biweekly exercise--at least until we get into football season, when the chat will likely morph into a weekly feature.
Tomorrow's chat will get underway at 2:00pm, and if the first two chats are any indication, it will go as long as two hours, depending on what kind of response we have.
As is always the case, discussion items are free-ranging, but will ostensibly center on BYU Football and Basketball, with realignment talk sure to be a hot-button issue. Check in below at 2:00pm MT on Tuesday, and we'll see how fast I can type this week.
The BYU football team's season opener just got a little closer: the LaVell Edwards Stadium matchup with Washington State has moved from Saturday, September 1st to Thursday, August 30th as part of a slate of ESPN TV assignments announced on Wednesday.
The 2012 lid-lifter is now one of four non-Saturday games BYU will play in the season's first six weeks, in addition to the September 20th game at Boise State (Thursday), and Friday night home contests versus Hawaii on September 28th (Friday) and Utah State on October 5th (Friday). All of the games will be televised on either ESPN or ESPN 2.
He's considered the best high school basketball player in the country, and is the nation's most highly-recruited prepster entering his senior season. He is Jabari Parker, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and this week, the cover subject in Sports Illustrated. That Parker keeps BYU among his list of potential collegiate destinations makes his remarkable story all the more intriguing to Cougar fans.
BYU's status as a college football quarterback factory was underscored on Monday, with the news that former Cougar QB Ty Detmer has been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
Detmer becomes the fifth BYU quarterback and seventh Cougar to be inducted, joining QBs Gifford Nielsen, Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, Steve Young, head coach LaVell Edwards and tight end Gordon Hudson.
After 12 years on the training staff, and eight years as BYU Football's Head Athletic Trainer, Kevin Morris is leaving the Cougar Football program.
Morris made the announcement via his Facebook page on Friday:
Two weeks, two chats, and by the numbers, the second one was more popular than the first--so thanks for that. If you missed it, see the replay below, and we'll do it again soon.
I held my first-ever "Cougar Tracks" live chat earlier today; read a replay of the the two-hour extravaganza and see how it went.
College football realignment ripples are again traversing the sport's rarely-tranquil waters. Conference USA, the Mountain West Conference, the Western Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt Conference are the players in the latest act of the drama that is the now-annual "Gridiron Shuffle."
CUSA and the MWC, while putting the brakes on a merger, are both leagues in expansion mode, ostensibly by picking off teams from the WAC—-a conference that appears to be on death's door, if current rumors of multiple defections are proven accurate. The SBC, led by former WAC commissioner Karl Benson, may be able to survive the latest round of musical chairs.
The 2012 NFL Draft gets underway Thursday night at 6:00 pm MT. By all accounts, Matt Reynolds and Hebron "Loni" Fangupo are the most likely BYU Cougars to be taken during the three-day event.
There are several other Cougars hoping to hear their names called, whether it be via the draft or free agency. Among them are Terence Brown, Jordan Pendleton, McKay Jacobson, Travis Uale, Matt Putnam, Jamison Frazier, Corby Eason and JJ DiLuigi.
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