BYU Cougars

Getty Images

Tennessee adds future home-and-home with BYU

2 Comments

At the moment, BYU is looking at one hellacious start to the 2019 season.

Thursday afternoon, BYU announced tat it has added a future home-and-home series with Tennessee.  The Volunteers will serve as the host for a Sept. 7, 2019, matchup at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, with the second game set for Sept. 1 or 2, 2023, at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.

The 2019 game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two football programs.

“There’s something about those orange and white checkerboard end zones that shouts ‘Tradition!’,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a statement. “When the opportunity to play a series with Tennessee presented itself, we didn’t blink. They’re a storied football program with a winning tradition, national championships, a classic stadium, incredible fans and hall of fame coaches.

“It will be a great experience to visit SEC country and play in Neyland Stadium, and later host Tennessee in Provo.”

BYU will kick off the 2019 season against Utah, followed by games against Tennessee, USC and Washington the next three weeks.  They also have a pair of mid-October games against Washington State and Boise State.

UT’s other non-conference games that season include Georgia State, Chattanooga and UAB.

BYU, San Diego State agree to future home-and-home

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Thursday, both BYU and San Diego State sent out press releases announcing that the two football programs have reached an agreement on a future home-and-home series.  Just where the home part for the latter will be remains to be seen.

The Aztecs will play host to the Cougars Nov. 30, 2019, with BYU returning the hosting favors Nov. 14, 2020.  Neither press release mentioned Qualcomm Stadium as the home venue for the 2019 game, although it’s expected that current home will be as such through 2020.

The two teams have met 36 times since the first meeting in 1947, with the last regular-season matchup coming in 2010 when both were members of the Mountain West Conference.  The last meeting was in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl.

BYU currently a 28-7-1 advantage in the series.

“We’re excited to renew our strong history with San Diego State in a series that has included many incredible games over the years,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in a portion of his statement.

SDSU had previously announced a home-and-home with UCLA in the same two seasons.  In that same span, BYU has games lined up against Utah (both years), Arizona State, Michigan State, Minnesota, USC and Washington among others.

Independents and Group of Five National Signing Day Recap: Irish bounce back, Memphis tops AAC

Getty Images
2 Comments

Outside of the Power Five conferences, recruiting went about as expected in 2017.

Notre Dame continued to pound the national trail and landed a top 12 class full of players who will be expected to play early. BYU managed another impressive group that was one of the most diverse out there. The schools with a talent-rich backyard to draw on did well in the AAC.  Boise State was once again tops in the Mountain West and did better than a few peers in the region. And yes, Lane Kiffin earned that recruiting reputation by pulling in the best class of Conference USA.

Though there wasn’t much drama outside the top schools, there nevertheless was plenty of action for many programs on National Signing Day.

Top recruits (all rankings via 247Sports Composite): No. 67 overall Brock Wright (TE, Notre Dame), No. 154 overall Chaz Ah You (DB, BYU), Aisa Kelemete (DE, Boise State), Nick Robinson (TE, Memphis), Nicholas Sims (RB, Toledo)

Top classes: Notre Dame (No. 11 overall), Memphis (No. 58 overall), Boise State (No. 60 overall), BYU (No. 65 overall), Florida Atlantic (No. 71 overall), Toledo (No. 74 overall), Texas State (No. 87 overall)

Biggest storyline: Irish still land solid recruiting class

Despite the worst season in South Bend since Charlie Weis and a nearly brand new coaching staff, Notre Dame still managed to cobble together a top 12 class on Signing Day. Tight end Brock Wright was the highest rated player and should see early playing time but the number of quality offensive linemen was really evident in the group Brian Kelly signed. Will it be enough to help with a big turnaround? We’ll see.

Biggest surprise: Memphis runs away with things in the AAC but new coaches still fared well

Given all the turnover in the American this year, it should probably come as no surprise that the Tigers pulled the top recruiting class in the conference. That’s a testament to what Mike Norvell is building with the program and the fact that they don’t have to go far for players. Many of the same factors played a role in Scott Frost landing the second-best class at UCF. It was also pretty impressive what Luke Fickell did on the recruiting trail at Cincinnati and Charlie Strong did at USF given those two didn’t have a ton of time to get things lined up.

Don’t sleep on: Boise State, Colorado State

The Broncos were once again the class of the Mountain West on the recruiting trail and fended off several Pac-12 schools for prospects. That will put them firmly in the mix to win the league again in 2017 but don’t overlook another good job by Mike Bobo and staff at Colorado State in landing 17 three-star players.

We’ll see about: Everybody else

Mountain West commissioner says Chargers’ move to LA played role in Poinsettia Bowl folding

Getty Images
2 Comments

One of the bigger surprises this offseason has been the announcement that the Poinsettia Bowl was closing its doors and folding for good this year after a strong dozen year run.

The move has left several in college athletics scrambling as a result of the shakeup to the postseason picture and the league most directly affected is the Mountain West. Perhaps not surprisingly, commissioner Craig Thompson isn’t too thrilled with the big hole in the bowl lineup now and went on 93.1FM/1350AM The Ticket up in Boise, Idaho to discuss the move and some of the reasoning behind it.

What’s most interesting there is the fact that Thompson thinks the Chargers move from San Diego to Los Angeles played a role in the decision to cancel the game. The Holiday Bowl, run by the same organization, has denied that is behind folding the game but has already begun to explore moving from Qualcomm Stadium to the San Diego Padres’ home of Petco Park in case the city decides to close the football stadium after next year.

“This is purely a decision made for our organization,” Mark Neville, executive director of the bowl game association, told the Associated Press last week.”It’s a completely different environment. Doing two games in San Diego, in the span of a week, is becoming more and more challenging in relation to ticket sales and sponsorships.”

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, as it has no doubt become much tougher to operate two bowl games in one city and the fact that the local pro football team is heading up the 405 certainly doesn’t help matters. In addition to the Mountain West needing to find a new spot for bowl eligible teams in 2017, BYU — which beat Wyoming in the final Poinsettia Bowl last December — is also looking for a new bowl game to go to next season.

Poinsettia Bowl shuttering its postseason doors after 12-year run

Getty Images
10 Comments

For those who are of the opinion that there are way too many bowl games, today’s like Christmas in January.

The San Diego Bowl Game Association announced Wednesday that its board of directors has voted to shift its focus solely on the group’s running of the Holiday Bowl.  That decision means that the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is no more, ending a 12-year run for the postseason game.

The last Poinsettia Bowl was played in December of last year and saw BYU top Wyoming 24-21.

“College football and the bowl game structure has gone through major changes through the years and our board feels the time is right to focus our efforts on one post-season game,” said Mark Neville, executive director of the San Diego Bowl Game Association, in a statement. “The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl staged exciting match-ups for more than a decade and we were one of the few cities to host two bowl games.”

The annual game had recently pitted a Mountain West school against either one from the MAC or BYU.  With the decision to axe the game, both of those conferences, at least for the moment, have temporarily lost one of its potential postseason destinations.

“We were aware today’s announcement from the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl was a possibility,” a statement from MWC commissioner Craig Thompson began. “While we are disappointed by the decision, the Mountain West is thankful for the tremendous relationship we’ve enjoyed with the bowl game. The city of San Diego and the Poinsettia Bowl were outstanding hosts and provided a first-class experience for several MW institutions over 12 seasons. The Poinsettia Bowl is one of six postseason games the Mountain West has been a part of creating during its 18-year history.

“We are well-versed in the bowl space and are already in the process of vetting future options to ensure postseason opportunities for our student-athletes.”

In its release, the SDBGA noted that “[d]iscussions are also underway with the San Diego Padres about playing the Holiday Bowl at Petco Park in the event Qualcomm Stadium closes after 2018.” “The Padres have already started talking to the architectural firm that designed Petco Park about what would be required to allow football to be played in the stadium,” the group added.

With the San Diego Chargers moving to Los Angeles, there’s doubt as to the future of Qualcomm Stadium, which also serves as the home of the San Diego State Aztecs.  That MWC program is currently weighing its options for a future home.