Lots of excellent rivalry game and BYU sports-related links for you this morning, but my favorite is this story by The Tribune's Kurt Kragthorpe on the rivalry's hotbed -- South Jordan.
Here's a bonus tidbit Kragthorpe came across in researching his story about how the town of South Jordan may be the best example in the state of a town that's evenly divided about the BYU-Utah rivalry, Kragthorpe contacted the sports editor of The Prospector, Bingham High School's newspaper. As it turns out, Austin Weeks is an interesting story in himself.
He comes from a devoted BYU family, to this degree: “One condition of marrying my dad was to become a BYU fan,” Austin said. Cindy Weeks agreed to Dan's terms, and Austin would be raised to love the Cougars.
Even as a baby, he accompanied his parents to BYU football games, launching quite a streak of attendance. In 17 years, Austin has missed only one home game – vs. Idaho last November, when he accepted an invitation to a girls' choice dance.
It's no secret that BYU coaches love to recruit players from Bingham High. Why?
On Bingham High pipeline to BYU:
"I just think they are trained well," coach Bronco Mendenhall said earlier this week. "Coach [Dave] Peck does a really nice job of how he prepares and trains them. He works them really hard. Their fundamentals are sound. They win a lot, and he knows and has worked closely with our program, and knows what we are after, and there are some similarities between the programs. So it is usually a fairly [easy] transition between the two programs."
My main story in today's paper is about last year's beatdown, and the Cougars' reaction to it a year later. BYU linebacker and defensive captain Brandon Ogletree delivered the best quotes for the story. Here's one more:
"To be honest, I don't think our preparation was wrong. I think our execution was wrong. I felt as prepared for that game as I have ever felt, and I think the rest of the team would say the same thing, but we had some turnovers that hurt us, we had a few miscues on defense where they busted some long plays. It is really hard to dig yourself out of a hole once you get in it. So we are going to do our best to stay out a hole, put them in a hole, not commit turnovers and make them turn the ball over, and just play football," he said.
Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News is picking the Utes to "upset" the Cougars. In his weekly Pac-12 picks, he writes: The line has moved to BYU minus-4 due to Jordan Wynn’s season-ending shoulder injury. All signs point to BYU — and by all signs, I mean Utah’s horrendous performance last week — but that seems too simple, especially in this rivalry. Come Saturday night, Jon Hays will be the toast of SLC (the Ute part, at least). Pick: Utah.
Like yours truly, USA Today couldn't get a comment out of BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe yesterday regarding the news that Notre Dame is hooking up with the ACC and what that might do to the scheduling agreement BYU has with Notre Dame.
But George Schroeder weighed in on BYU's independence nonetheless, and even got Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby to comment on the Cougars.
"I wouldn't presume to know what they're thinking at BYU," Bowlsby said. "But I think it is harder than ever to be an independent. I think it's very difficult, and the fact that even Notre Dame struggles with it is testimony to the difficulty of it."
In a basketball-related item, the matchups for the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic have been announced.
BYU will take on Florida State on Nov. 16 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., at 5 p.m. MST. Notre Dame will meet St. Joseph's in the later game. On Saturday, Nov. 17, the consolation game will begin at 5 p.m. MDT and the championship game will tip off at approximately 7 p.m. MDT.
All four games will be televised live on truTV.
Tickets for the Championship Round games at Barclays Center may be purchased by visiting www.cvcclassic.com or www.barclayscenter.com.