PROVO — Near-freezing temperatures and a chance of snow are in the forecast when BYU hosts New Mexico State on Saturday.
Not to mention kickoff is not slated until 8:15 p.m.
But Cougar coach Bronco Mendenhall said the possibility of inclement weather, coupled with a late start, pale in comparison to the exposure his team can receive with the game being televised on ESPNU.
"Late starts are not my favorite. However, it's a tradeoff that I would make and make every time now in relation to the exposure," Mendenhall said. "I didn't feel like that at one time. In the Mountain West (Conference), we had a huge push talking about we play college football when it's supposed to be played, and that's Saturdays at 11 (a.m.) or 1 (p.m.). The feedback now from so many people having seen us play, I'm willing right now to endure a long day to have more people see us. But they're hard."
A crowd of 57,700 watched BYU beat Idaho, 42-7, last Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium, which has a capacity of 63,725. That game started at about 7:30 p.m.
Mendenhall hopes for a big crowd this week, as well as a large television audience, as his team plays its final home game of the season.
"This test that we have this Saturday is more significant than last week," Mendenhall said. "Whether an 8:15 start or not will affect (attendance), to where there will be 58,000, there will be many more watching it on TV. I certainly would like both. I'd love for the stands to be absolutely full and I'd love for everyone who gets the channel to be watching it. That's what I'd prefer. But right now, the number of people that are seeing it so far outweighs a few of the corners (of the stadium) that are empty. It's just how it is."
INJURY UPDATE: Defensive back Mike Hague suffered an AC separation (shoulder) against Idaho. Mendenhall said Hague has a chance to play this week, though he may not practice until Thursday.
Offensive lineman Houston Reynolds has been playing with a torn labrum in his shoulder. He was re-injured against Idaho.14 comments on this story
"His hope was to make it through the entire season before he gets surgery," Mendenhall said. "He took a shot to it and it's very, very painful. It doesn't look like structurally there's anything worse done that would require surgery immediately."
CORRECTION: Prior to Saturday's game, the media was informed that former BYU tight end Itula Mili would be carrying out the alumni flag in the pregame ceremony, which was reported in the Deseret News on Sunday. However, those plans changed suddenly, and instead it was former Cougar quarterback Max Hall who carried out the alumni flag.