Cougars left scrambling for 2008 opponent

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28 2007 8:37 p.m. MST

PROVO — There's a debate whether BYU and other Mountain West teams should schedule up or down to get into the BCS now that Hawaii appears on the verge of making a bundle of cash by playing two Division I-AA opponents.

But what the Cougars do or don't do will be affected as early as next season now that the University of Nevada has stiffed the Cougars in 2008.

The Wolfpack signed a contract to play BYU in Provo early next fall, but Nevada, which plays in the WAC, now appears to have breached that legal pact.

In a press release dated Tuesday announcing that Nevada had finalized its nonconference football schedule, BYU was nowhere to be found.

"We are disappointed to learn that Nevada-Reno has decided to drop BYU from its 2008 schedule," BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe. "This puts us in a very difficult situation to find a comparable opponent for our season-opening game with such late notice."

In 2008. the Cougars have a nonconference home game scheduled against UCLA and nonconference road games at Washington and Utah State.

Nevada will play Grambling State, Texas Tech, Missouri and UNLV. It appears Grambling replaces BYU on the Wolfpack schedule.

Said Nevada athletics director Cary Groth in the release: "I have said before that we are committed to bringing high-quality opponents to Mackay Stadium and I think the 2008 schedule represents that commitment. We have a quality schedule that will provide plenty of excitement for our fans. We are very excited to play host to Grambling State and their terrific band."

Grambling over BYU? Has the WAC found a successful BCS strategy?

"That's what I understand, that they are on our schedule but we are not on theirs and they are in breach of an agreement both schools had signed," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said.

Nevada could be liable for monetary costs of the contract and/or be responsible for finding BYU an opponent to play, possibly Florida State, according to some who confess they do not know fully the impact of the breach.

BYU issued a press release Wednesday saying, "To the extent that BYU suffers damages from this breach of contract, it will seek to recover them from Nevada."

Hawaii has gone undefeated by playing one of the weakest schedules in the country, yet has climbed into the top 10 in some polls.

Mendenhall told reporters the Mountain West might have to schedule easier opponents and pile up wins if that is going to be a major component of getting into a BCS bowl game at the end of the season.

COUGAR NOTES: Mendenhall said QB Max Hall underwent a full practice and appears further ahead than he was a week ago with his shoulder injury ... RB Harvey Unga did not practice Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday but is expected to have a full workout today in preparation for an expected start at San Diego State. "Right now, I expect he will be fine come game time," said Mendenhall ... Unga was named to the Rivals Freshman All-America team, listed as a second-team honoree. Unga needs 166 yards rushing against the Aztecs to become the MWC's all-time leading freshman rusher.


E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS