This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
LAS VEGAS — BYU and Utah are ready for their showdown in the Las Vegas Bowl. Here are five things a BYU win would do for the program.
A BYU win comes against a ranked team
Since beating a ranked Oregon State team in the 2009 Las Vegas Bowl, Bronco Mendenhall-led teams have struggled against ranked opponents. Independence has brought more opportunities to play high-caliber competition and, for the most part, the Cougs have not risen to the occasion. Since leaving the MWC, the Y. has gone a measly 2-7 against ranked teams. Neither win came against an opponent that finished the year in the top 25. If BYU wants to make independence work, they are going to have to knock off ranked teams. Saturday provides one last opportunity for Mendenhall to do just that.
A BYU win restores balance in the rivalry with U
BYU insists that they are still the U.'s main rival. Despite claims that they have moved on, the sellout of the Las Vegas Bowl suggests otherwise for Utah fans. Still, it's a fact that the Utes have been dominant in the series since joining the PAC-12. Even when Utah couldn't break .500 in two straight seasons, they still got wins over the Y. In all, the Utes have won four straight in the series. BYU views itself as an equal to the U. despite the team up north moving to a Power 5 conference. BYU needs to prove it by beating the Utes in Las Vegas.
A BYU win brings positive publicity to the program
Usually, the Vegas Bowl attracts little attention nationally. In the past, the MWC winner would take on a middle of the pack Pac-12 team, which wasn't the most attractive of matches. This year is much different, with the bowl featuring two nine-win teams who happen to be bitter rivals. The game has gotten a lot of attention from national pundits. In fact, ESPN.com ranked it as the most intriguing non-New Year's Six or playoff bowl game. The game is on the first day of bowl season and will be televised nationally on ABC (1:30 p.m. MST). BYU has been all about getting exposure to its brand and the school's mission and there should be plenty of viewers. A win would help in recruiting and give some positive buzz to the program.
A BYU win makes the Cougars a 10-game winner and top-25 team
Bronco Mendenhall has been very open about what he considers a successful season at the Y. He has repeatedly stated that double-digit wins and a top 25 ranking is the standard for the program. A BYU win gets the team to those lofty goals. It's been an up and down year for the Cougs but a win over the Utes would help make it remembered as a good season in Provo. To make it even sweeter, a win would push Utah out of the top 25 and stop them from reaching double-digit wins.
A BYU win gives the Cougars momentum amid uncertain future
Since 1972, BYU has had only three head football coaches. Mendenhall re-established the order and consistency that had been present under LaVell Edwards. However, Mendenhall surprised many by announcing he had taken the Virginia job after 11 seasons at the helm. With his departure, the Cougars have a very uncertain future. There are so many unknowns about the program — who the new coaches will be, what schemes they are going to run, and so on. A win would help the program build some momentum as it moves forward and give the next coach a good foundation to build upon.