College Football: Y. to renew rivalry with Utah State
LaVell Edwards probably went to bed happy Monday night, knowing that his alma mater and the football program he built will renew their long-standing rivalry.
Utah State and Brigham Young have agreed to a three-year contract, beginning with a game this season, Sept. 23 in Provo. After playing in Logan in 2008, the series will shift back to the stadium named after BYU's legendary coach in 2009.
"LaVell can stop bugging me," joked BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe. "I called him [Monday], and he was happy."
The two schools, which have played 76 games against each other dating back to 1922, haven't met since 2002. The series ran every year from 1946 through 1994, but the two have met only three times since 1995.
Holmoe and USU athletic director Randy Spetman have been working several months to resume the series. A date came open after Oregon agreed to let the Aggies out of a game in Eugene this Sept. 23.
USU, which is negotiating a buyout for this year's game against the Ducks, will play at Oregon in 2008. Oregon played in Logan five years ago.
"We are going to be able to resume a tradition between two great schools," Spetman said. "We truly appreciate the administration of BYU to help make this happen. We look forward to working out a long-term agreement for the years to come."
Holmoe said the two schools will work to extend the series - also known as the Old Wagon Wheel, which is the trophy awarded to the winner of the rivalry game - beyond the three-year contract. Ideally, the games will be played on the Friday night before the LDS Church's General Conference, which is held the first weekend in October. The 2008-09 games are on a Friday.
"Randy did a very good job of hanging in there and he found an opening," Holmoe said. "Both Utah State and BYU wanted this. A lot of people think that BYU didn't want to play Utah State, but that's just not true."
Since the NCAA approved a 12-game schedule starting this fall, BYU has been looking to complete its schedule. USU officials reportedly were miffed that BYU sent out an e-mail seeking schools interested to play this season.
The e-mail was sent to the WAC, which is USU's conference, and then made its way to Logan. If BYU officials were holding out for a 2-for-1 deal, they won.
BYU's stadium is about twice the size of USU's, which seats less than 35,000.
"We both win," said Holmoe. "No way you can say the advantage is for BYU."
The game concludes BYU's nonconference schedule, which includes games at Arizona (Sept. 2), Tulsa (Sept. 9) and at Boston College (Sept. 16). The Mountain West is expected to release its conference schedule Wednesday.
USU announced its schedule last week. The BYU game is the only change.
* Utah State and Brigham Young have agreed to a three-year contract, beginning with a game this season, Sept. 23 in Provo.
* The teams will not play in 2007. After playing in Logan in 2008, the series will shift back to Provo in 2009.
* The two schools, which have played 76 games against each other dating back to 1922, haven't met since 2002.
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