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plus...bowl chatter and the Bruins lose a back.
First up, let's take care of the trivia. Yesterday's question was answered correctly by "Brian G." Harvey Unga and Auston Collie broke the BYU record for combined all-purpose yardage--a record set by Luke Staley and Reno Mahe in 2001. The Unga/Collie duo accounted for 3,570 yards; Staley and Mahe racked up 3,333 yards in '01.
Of the 38 games Bronco Mendenhall has coached at BYU, in how many has BYU failed to gain at least 300 yards of total offense?
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So we now know the Mountain West Conference is looking to secure a fifth bowl bid by doing a deal with the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise. Thoughts...
Pro: another bowl payout for the team/conference coffers.
Con: probably tough for teams to break even fiscally, considering the prospect of energizing a fan base to purchase tickets and travel with a 5th place team to Boise for football in late December.
Pro: the MWC rep would likely play a WAC team in the top two in its league.
Con: it's not the Pac-10, Big 12, etc. I still maintain most MWC fans would rather see their team play a middling "name" team than a very good WAC club.
Pro: postseason visibility on national television.
Con: it's Boise. In late December. Outside. Now, let me make clear: I like Boise. I've been there a number of times. It's a fine place to watch a football game...in September, or October. The reason I don't like a bowl game in Boise is the same reason I wouldn't get too excited about a bowl game in Salt Lake City: it's likely cold and snowy, and simply not fan-friendly. It's one thing to chill out in late November in a key conference or rivalry game in which the weather lends to the intensity of the game itself. It's another to spend the holidays in a destination in which diversions are limited, and in which the weather is often inhospitable, watching a football game that is relatively meaningless (5th place MWC v. 1st/2nd place WAC). I was in Boise during Humanitarian Bowl week this past winter (for BYU's hoops game at Boise State), and I recall walking across the ice-caked sidewalk into Taco Bell Arena as I looked back at the football stadium, and wondered, "how and why did they put a bowl game in Boise in the last week of December?"
Bottom line is, the league has to do its best to put as many of its teams as possible in a position for postseason play, and in this case, the Humanitarian Bowl is the most sensible, regionally-viable option. I just hope I never see BYU fall to 5th place.
L.A. Daily News UCLA beat writer Brian Dohn cites this release from UCLA in noting a couple of personnel problems for the Bruins:
RAMIREZ INELIGIBLE FOR 2008 FOOTBALL SEASON; LOCKETT TO MISS FIRST GAME
UCLA junior tailback Christian Ramirez will not compete for the Bruin football team this season because he did not meet NCAA eligibility requirements. "This is unfortunate for Christian and for our team" said head coach Rick Neuheisel. "I'm sure Christian will work hard to ensure this situation does not occur again. The rest of our running backs will just have to step up." Ramirez will have two seasons of eligibility remaining and can count 2008 as a redshirt season.
UCLA senior strong safety Bret Lockett has been suspended for the 2008 season opener against Tennessee for a violation of team policy concerning academics. He will be able to practice when camp opens on August 5 but will miss the game on Sept. 1. "We expect our players to follow our team and department rules," said head coach Rick Neuheisel. "There will be penalties when there is a violation of those rules. Bret understands that he made a mistake."
I note that Ramirez was very much in the mix at tailback this fall, averaged better than 5 yards a carry in limited snaps last season, and had 26 rushing yards on 4 carries v. BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl.