Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Mailbag: BYU-Utah Series, 2012 Halftime Ceremony, and Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame

Welcome to the Friday Mailbag where once a week I answer your questions and respond to your comments about Brigham Young Cougars football. As a quick reminder, there are three ways to submit a question:

1. Email: bluecougarfootball@gmail.com
2. Twitter: @BlueCougarFball and use #BCFmailbag
3. Leave a comment at the end of a BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL article.

On to the mailbag.

[Former BYU player and current Utah head coach] Kyle Whittingham’s comments about possible future games between BYU and Utah didn’t portray the same rosy outlook that [BYU Athletic Director] Tom Holmoe always does. What do you think about the possible end of the Holy War?

I have always been part of the “continue the rivalry at all costs” camp. My feelings are starting to change. While I would like to see it continue and will love watching the games, I won’t be too hurt if BYU and Utah do in fact stop playing annually in football.

Regardless of what happens, two things are certain. One, BYU and Utah will continue to be rivals off the field. BYU and Utah alumni and fans will continue to see each other at work, school, and church everyday. Families will remain divided. The two schools will continue to recruit against each other. Many fans will continue to keep a close eye on each school. When one team wins nine games and the other wins six fans of the nine win team will take pleasure to declare superiority over the other, even if they didn’t play on the field that year.

Two, BYU isn’t hurting for rivals. Yes, Utah is the biggest and can’t just be replaced in a snap, but the Cougars have fan bases at several other schools waiting to become BYU’s new archrival. Utah State, Boise State, Hawaii, and San Diego State quickly come to mind. Even without the Utes on the schedule, the rivalry element of college football will be alive and well in BYU football.

Before pronouncing the rivalry dead, however, remember Whittingham did say, “That’s really an athletic directors conversation.” Maybe we can put more stock into Holmoe’s words.

*****

Tom Holmoe keeps harping on how great the future schedules are, but he never mentions anything concrete to help fan pessimism subside. If they are so great shouldn’t he be able to mention a few particulars?

It is easy to forget with all that has happened since BYU first declared independence, but BYU has Texas, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame on the 2013 schedule. The first two of those three will be in Provo. Holmoe and BYU have given concrete games that we can all point to.

More frequent announcements of home-and-home series’ with name programs would be nice. Several more could be ready, but conference realignment uncertainty may be preventing BYU from formally announcing them.

*****

I remember reading on your site a year ago some suggested special halftime ceremonies that BYU could do during the 2011 season. What ideas do you have for this year?

Unless the plan has changed, BYU will select another position group to do a reunion and try to fund raise to endow a scholarship at that position. Quarterback was done first in 2010, and tight end last year. My guess is either offensive line or linebacker this year.

In addition to that, I think BYU needs to do something special for the 30th anniversary of the expansion of Cougar/LaVell Edwards Stadium. Use the new video scoreboard to relive some of the great moments at BYU home games since 1982: dethroning #1 Miami, Steve Sarkisian to K.O. Kealaluhi in the 1996 Pigskin Classic, Air Force quarterback Dee Dowis complaining that the crowd was too loud, renaming the stadium after Coach Edwards, shutting out UCLA 59-0, and Andrew George beating the Utes in 2009 (just to name a few).

Then again, the 50th anniversary of the original stadium at that site is just two years away. Maybe BYU waits for that since it could also include the 1974 win over Arizona State that put BYU in the drivers seat for its first WAC championship under LaVell Edwards, as well as some footage from the days of Virgil Carter up to Jim McMahon.

*****

Huge congrats to [Shay] Muirbrook for making it to the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. He played a great game that day, and is very deserving of the honor. Now we need to get Sark in!

Muirbrook was “the man” January 1, 1997. I completely agree that he is very worthy of being enshrined in the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame. He was the anchor to the BYU defense that limited Kansas State to just 41 yards rushing and 274 total yards.

I was impressed that the judging committee selected Muirbrook at this, relatively, early stage of the Cotton Bowl Hall of Fame’s existence. This was just the ninth hall of fame class, and as Tommy Bain, the Chairman of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association noted, the bowl has a 76 year history and its “record book reads like a Who’s Who in college football.” With so many worthy candidates, I would think the mentality of the voters would be that Muirbrook should wait while the other worthy players who have been waiting a lot longer are honored. Of the five inductees this year, Muirbrook waited the least amount of time. Jim Williams and Tom Campbell have been waiting over 40 years.

I agree about Steve Sarkisian. He tied Roger Staubach’s Cotton Bowl record of 21 pass completions, and Sark was one yard and one pass attempt away from tying two other records. It should just be a matter of time before he gets enshrined.

*****

You exposed BYU fans for how they answered the poll questions, but what about yourself? How did you score on those 20 questions?

I didn’t start giving my opinion on a regular basis until several poll questions had been asked. For those that I gave a clear response to, I didn't do any better than the average BYU fan. I scored a 3 out of 9 (33%).


Thanks everyone for all the great questions. Keep them coming for next week's edition of the mailbag.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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