BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe met with reporters for over an hour the other day with the media, and there was a ton of good information he shared with everyone. Topics ranged from the new media center that is suppose to be awesome with everything on BYU-TV in high definition, Utah to the Pac-10, BYU expansion options, and the rivalry with Utah and BYU. The majority of the discussion was about expansion and what BYU plans to do to improve their situation by either going independent, making overtures to the Big XII, or staying pat in the Mountain West by making the best of it.
The Utah rivalry was a hot topic as well and it seems that both sides want this to continue:
As far as continuing its rivalry with Utah, Holmoe said BYU wants to continue to play the Utes in all sports if that is at all possible. He said he didn't want to speak for Utah athletic director Chris Hill, but that the vibe he has gotten from Hill is that the Utes want to continue playing BYU as well. Utah is "a great partner of ours" and "we had a great rivalry," he said, adding, "That's sad that it will change."
'Had a great rivalry' is a mild concern that Holmoe used the past tense regarding Utah vs. BYU. However, this game will not change it will always be played and most likely at the end of the season, and if it is interrupted for any amount of time it would be a mistake. Florida State plays Florida at the end of the season, and with more and more conference games being pushed into the first few weeks of the season there should be no issue making the BYU vs. Utah game a Thanksgiving weekend game. Even in that scenario BYU will be on Utah's schedule each and every year with the possibility of the game being early in the year. If the game were to be played at the beginning of the year how cool would it be to have this game open this season.
The week leading up to the game, but how about an entire off season and more specifically a full month of smack talk leading up to a game that should be played either on a Thursday, Friday, or even a Monday night game to get some nice national exposure to an otherwise game that is often over looked.The only way it might not be played in the short term would be if the Pac-10 goes to a nine conference schedule where Utah is unable to shift a non-conference game around to fit in BYU.
Now onto the a very odd question that was asked in this session.
[Holmoe] was asked specifically if BYU will agree to a two-for-one football arrangement with Utah -- two games in SLC for every one game in Provo -- if that is what it takes to keep the series going, Holmoe said, "I don't think we would do that." He said he and Hill "have had conversations about making [football games in the future] happen, not [about] not making it happen."
While, Utah is going to be in a power league they do not have the clout to do a two for one, especially since the teams are not really that much different in their success of the past decade. Utah probably could do a two for one with Utah State but they do not, yet BYU did a two for one with Utah State in football. This will never happen, even Colorado and Colorado State play at a neutral site at Mile High stadium (or whatever it is called where the Broncos play), with the loan exception of last year with Colorado squabbling over not having six home games so they played in Boulder. That is the only example I have off the top of my head that has a game that is truly a rival which separates teams from a BCS league and a non-BCS league team.
However, after hearing the audio the question was not not saying that BYU would do a two for one with Utah, but rather have BYU visit Utah two years in a row in 2010 and 2011 due to scheduling issues. The reasoning behind that is because of Utah's current non-conference schedule in 2011 has road games at Boise State and Pitt. It also depends if the new Pac-10 goes to eight or nine conference schedules. Utah currently has Oregon at home on the schedule for 2011, but that game may not be played or will be a conference game.
If the schedule is nine games then Utah would have to most likely either buy out Boise State or move the game to another year and keep the game in Provo against BYU and that would be the simple answer. If the conference schedule is eight games then Utah could easily add BYU, but that would mean Utah would have three non-conference road games and only five total home games. Five home games for a Pac-10 school at any level is unacceptable, and I can not recall the last time a Utah football only had five home games.
So, Utah will have to either figure out a way to entice (with cash) BYU to play two road games against their rival, buy out Boise State or move the game which could mean paying Boise some money and most likely paying a Weber State of another FCS school to take the place of Boise to have six home games, and the worst case scenario is not having BYU on the schedule for a year. 2012 has a similar scenario with Colorado scheduled as a road conference game, but that can easily be swapped for BYU, and could give the Utes seven home games.
Holmoe also talks about getting zero interest this time around from the Pac-10, which is surprising to him since BYU was close to going to the Pac-10 in the early to mid 90's:
Asked point blank if the Pac-10 conference ever approached BYU about adding the school, Holmoe said, "no." Holmoe acknowledged some frustration that, although money is driving realignment, Utah was picked by the Pac-10, rather than BYU, although BYU would seem to be as attractive, or more attractive, than Utah as a revenue generator. However, he said the Pac-10 never offered an explanation to him or other BYU officials as to why it had no interest. He said the conference didn't extend a courtesy call. "You would have to ask the Pac-10" those questions, he said, noting that all he knows is what he's read or heard Pac-10 officials say in the media.
First off, I personally do not think the Pac-10 or any other league owes a school an explanation on why they were not being considered, just look at Missouri which begged to get into the Big 10 but were stiff armed with no reasoning. If BYU was not in consideration then why would a courtesy call be merited?
Later, when asked if his Pac-10 connections as the former head football coach at California would have been a factor, he noted that the conference choosing Utah and Colorado "was not an athletic decision....not about what you do on the field." He was also asked what Utah has that BYU does not have that would have made the Utes more attractive to the Pac-10. "They've said what they've said," he said after a pause. "The Pac-10 made the decision....We can't worry about the what-ifs."
If it was not about what you do on the field and is only about money making teams then BYU would have been in since they have an edge over the Utes in that department. Holmoe seems to be a bit upset and is holding back from his comments.
To listen to all of the audio head over to 1280 The Zone. They have it set up where you can not download the audio, but nonetheless it is a good listen.