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With Saturday's win behind them and the attendant firestorm dying down, the Cougars wait for postseason marching orders.

Once a BCS bowl bid became unrealistic, I thought it was likely that BYU would play in the Poinsettia Bowl--mostly because MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson had noted that a fifth consecutive Las Vegas Bowl bid might not be best for either the bowl or BYU.

Since then, I heard that Las Vegas Bowl officials remained intent on picking the "best team available" for their game, and at this point, BYU fits the description of "best team" (ranked 14th in the BCS Standings, 10-2 on the season, 2nd place in the MWC). It was interesting, perhaps not stunning, that no one from the bowl was in Provo on Saturday, but that the Poinsettia Bowl was making one of its committee members available to the media at Edwards Stadium.

Indeed, we interviewed Holiday Bowl/Poinsettia Bowl Selection Committee member and President-elect Eric Graves during our halftime broadcast on Saturday, and while he acknowledged the possibility that the Las Vegas Bowl would select BYU, he was clearly excited about the possibility of bringing BYU to San Diego. I know, the common perception is bowl officials will tell anybody anything (Eric was a genuinely nice guy, of course), but I sensed a little less gusto when he addressed Utah's potential selection. Granted, he was talking to the BYU radio guys, but anyway...

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall, meantime, has softened his stance about bowl possibilities. Before, he wanted the most prominent national platform and a game against the highest-ranked team available. Now, he wants the game and preparation for it to be about "fun" for his players, and while the team doesn't have the final say, he expects his players to express a preference in the days to come.

What BYU, the league or the bowls would do with that preference is anyone's guess, but reading between the lines would seem to say that the Cougars might appreciate a change of scenery. Bronco says "we've had a great year," and when he says that, he means that while he wants to win the bowl game, it's a bonus for his guys, and he just wants to enjoys it to the fullest extent possible--in Las Vegas, San Diego or wherever. Utah Kyle Whittingham, meantime, said "it looks that way" when asked if he thought his team was headed to San Diego.

Note that the Las Vegas Bowl ($1,000,000) has a payout double what the Poinsettia Bowl offers, and that the Las Vegas Bowl has potential to match two teams in the Top 20 of the final BCS Standings. The Poinsettia Bowl is not going to get a ranked Pac-10 team in its game, and there's a good chance that Arizona will be the Poinsettia Bowl participant. BYU just played the Wildcats in last year's Las Vegas Bowl, and another meeting would make four in the last four seasons. Bowls are mindful of avoiding rematches, and the Las Vegas Bowl's best game (from its standpoint) may well still be BYU versus a new, and potentially highly-ranked Pac-10 foe.

Although many experts are predicting BYU to San Diego, and while Bronco Mendenhall and his players might even prefer it, the Las Vegas Bowl holds the cards and needs to fill seats and attract viewers to its game. I have no doubt that Utah could sell out the game just as BYU has in years past, and that fact alone might be enough to convince Vegas bowl officials to switch things up.

It would be unusual, though, to see the higher-ranked winner of the BYU-Utah rivalry game playing an unranked team in a bowl rematch, at a destination farther away, for half the money available to it elsewhere (where a ranked team awaits). When you put it that way, Las Vegas just makes more sense for the Cougars; we still have to wait a few days to see what makes the most sense to the bowl organizers.


You can check out a one-on-one interview with ex BYU great Ben Cahoon conducted after last night's Grey Cup win, Cahoon's second as a Montreal Alouette. Ben's wife Kim is alongside for the on-field interview at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, where I attended Calgary Stampeders' games growing up. Nostalgia and Cougar props, all in one video clip.


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