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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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Strong senior class to be honored in BYU's final home game

A day after learning that BYU is close to joining the Big East as a football only member -- not a done deal yet, but close -- I spent much of the day talking (or communicating via email) to college football experts around the country. The main question I posed was about the Big East's status as an automatic-qualifier in the BCS system, and whether the league will retain that status with the additions of BYU, Boise State and others when the current BCS contract ends after the 2013 season.

Here's my report, posted a bit ago on The Tribune's website. Bottom line, says Jerry Palm of Collegebcs.com, is that if Boise State joins the Big East, the league will keep its status.

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Palm also noted: "I think adding BYU is a plus for both the TV partners and the bowls."

The Tribune had some major problems with its server yesterday, and so my initial report on BYU-close-to-joining-Big East was on the site for awhile, then off it, then on it., etc. Anyway, here's the link if you didn't catch it yesterday.

Also, here's columnist Kurt Kragthorpe's take on the matter.

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BYU's basketball team defeated BYU-Hawaii on Tuesday night, 73-52, with Brandon Davies scoring a career-high 25 points. Steve Luhm covered the game for the Tribune and filed this report.

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BYU and its Big East chances weren't the only BYU-related things I wrote about Tuesday. Here's a feature on the career of BYU senior JJ Di Luigi, who will be one of the seniors honored after Saturday night's final home game of 2011.

A couple more comments about this year's seniors and Di Luigi that didn't make the story:

Bronco Mendenhall on whether these seniors were all recruited by him or his staff:

"I think they are all mine. Well, Matt Putnam was not. Matt Putnam, I remember watching him on film when I came as a def. coordinator. So he would be an exception. Jadon [Wagner] was one of ours because he was at Washington State and wanted to transfer.

Either way, the overwhelming majority are our recruits, and they have helped us win a lot of football games, and to have so many that have made it through the program from beginning to end in this class, that also means a lot to me in terms of retention and hopefully identifying the right kids on the front end, and my hope is as you visit with them after the season and even now is what they say about their experience and what has transpired here, that will matter a lot to me."

Senior offensive lineman Marco Thorson on the biggest contribution this year's senior class has made:

"I think our leadership going into this season. There was a lot of hype about going independent, and a lot of different thoughts about what was going on. I think the seniors did a good job of organizing player-run practices this summer. Just the thoughts and the attitudes and what the younger players were going to have. Just that leadership; I think that's the biggest attribute we brought this season."

Thorson on what he expects on Saturday as a senior:

"Yeah, I think the emotion won't hit until it is actually over. I think you just go out ready to play, and to perform, and to do your best. I think when the time runs out, I think it will hit me. I think it will hit all the seniors. And I don't know what that moment is going to be like. I guess I will just have to wait and see, but up to that point, the attention is just going to be on performing, and doing my assignment, and just kind of treating it like all the other games."

Senior receiver McKay Jacobson on playing his final home game:

"It definitely hasn't hit me yet, that it is my last game. But we will see how I feel on game day and after the game and everything. But I am excited to have at least one more opportunity to play at home."

Jacobson on what contributions this senior class has made:

"Well, I feel that we have a strong senior class. It is always a little bit different at BYU, because there are some guys that I came in with that are juniors this year. Some of the classes get mixed up with missions and different things. That's a little different here at BYU. But the senior class has done some great things. It is something to be proud of and at the end of the day, we are not finished with the season yet. So we can look back at things, but we've still got to finish the year. It is just a blessing to still have some games left."

Defensive back Preston Hadley on the guys he will miss who are seniors:

"I think we already do miss Jordan Pendleton. He has been a playmaker his whole time here at BYU, and especially this season. He has been a great leader as well, someone that you can rely on to make a big play when we really need it."

I think also J.J. as well. I mean, he's a great leader. I think he brings a lot of intensity to the game. He is a confident player, and we can all really rally around him.

Those are two that we will really miss.

ALso, Loni [Fangupo]. He is fun guy to be around. He is always smiling. I have never seen him when he is not smiling and stuff. We are going to miss him on the field, but also off the field. He has had a big impact although this is the only year he has been here."



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