PROVO, Utah -- The Mountain West Conference and BYU today announced the football schedule for the 2003 season. This year's 12-game slate includes six home games, six road games, and at least four nationally televised contests.
"We're very excited about this year's schedule," men's athletics director Val Hale said. "This is one of the most ambitious schedules in the history of BYU Football. We'll have some exciting road games, playing in tradition-rich places like the L.A. Coliseum and Notre Dame Stadium, as well as one of the best home schedules we've had."
The schedule features three top-25 teams from last season, and seven different teams that played in post-season bowl games. Overall, the 2003 list of opponents registered a combined 83 wins during the 2002 campaign, including seven teams that won seven or more games.
"This is one of the toughest schedules we've ever had, especially the non-conference schedule," head coach Gary Crowton said. "It will be a challenge for us. We're going to have to continue to work hard and be prepared. I'm excited about some of the things we'll be doing, and I think we'll be ready to go."
The Cougars will have their hands full right from the opening game. BYU will look to avenge last season's loss at Georgia Tech when the Ramblin' Wreck comes to town for the 2003 season-opener on Thursday, Aug. 28.
One week later, BYU will travel to the L.A. Coliseum--one of the most historic sporting venues in the country. The Cougars will take on USC in the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Trojans, with Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer, defeated seven different top-25 teams during the 2002 season, including a 38-17 victory over Iowa in the Orange Bowl. The Trojans finished the 2002 season as the fourth-ranked team in the country.
Perhaps the highlight of the 2003 schedule will be a Nov. 15 trip to South Bend, Ind., to take on Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish finished the 2002 season with a 10-3 record, a No. 17 national ranking and an appearance in the Gator Bowl. This season's contest will mark the first of three games scheduled between the two schools over the next three years. The Fighting Irish own a 2-1 record over BYU, dating back to the first meeting in 1992. However, the last time the two teams met (Oct. 15, 1994) the Cougars came away with a memorable, 21-14, victory in South Bend.
In other non-conference action, the Cougars will host Stanford on Sept. 20 for the first-ever meeting between the two schools, and Boise State will travel to Provo for a nationally televised contest on Friday, Nov. 7. The Broncos finished the 2002 season with an impressive 12-1 record, including a 34-16 win over Iowa State in their third Humanitarian Bowl victory over the past four seasons. BSU finished the season ranked No. 12.
With television schedulers still pounding out the final details of the 2003 schedule, Hale indicated the Boise State game is still subject to change. Currently scheduled for Friday, Nov. 7, the game could be moved to Friday, Oct. 31.
The MWC season will kickoff on Saturday, Sept. 13 in Albuquerque, as the Cougars travel to New Mexico for their first of four league, road games. After a non-conference tilt against Stanford, BYU will host Air Force on Sept. 27, which has tentatively been scheduled as the Cougars' 2003 Homecoming game. The following week, the Cougars will travel to San Diego State for a night game against the Aztecs.
The MWC season will conclude with a Thursday-night, nationally televised game in Provo against Colorado State, a pair of road games at Wyoming and UNLV, and the regular-season finale against in-state rival Utah on Saturday, Nov. 22.
Season tickets for Cougar Club members will go on sale April 1. The general public may begin purchasing season tickets after April 30. The BYU ticket office will also begin taking orders for Cougar Club members interested in attending road games, beginning April 1. Others may contact the ticket office after April 30 to purchase road-game tickets. Priority for Notre Dame tickets will be given to Cougar Club members. If tickets remain after the Cougar Club buying period, available tickets will go on sale to the public. Due to the anticipated demand, ticket order limits will be in place.
For additional ticket information, including season ticket and new priority seating information, fans may contact the BYU ticket office at (801) 378-BYU1 or toll free, (800) 322-BYU1.