BYU football: Tom Holmoe discusses recruiting, the rivalry, scheduling issues and the 'secret sauce' of success at Education Week
A: "When you're in a conference, you share revenue, which is good. You have commonalities, a (built-in) schedule, conference championships and all-conference teams. … Some conferences are really good. The older conferences have been around for decades. They have a lot in common. There are great benefits. There are things that are better about being in a conference. Right now, we don't have that. So we're charting our course and doing the best we can. The WCC has been great. Our teams that play in the WCC enjoy it. The football team is independent. So it's something we're trying to be comfortable with. It's so unique. But it's hard. There are pros and cons to being independent. We're unique in that we can (be independent). There aren't many schools that can be independent. We have resources with BYUtv and our national fan base that allow that to happen. I've had a number of schools call me — I won't say who they are — and say, 'We're thinking about going independent.' I say to myself, 'Be careful.' Even with the things we have, it's hard. They're looking at it for the wrong reasons, in my opinion. People think there are some things that are really attractive about it, which there are. But there are other peripheral things that are difficult."
Q: How is BYU's relationship with ESPN?
A: "Our relationship with ESPN is wonderful. They've been fantastic to us. I can honestly say that I never thought it would be this good. … It's been better than expected. There were only five teams ahead of us in college football that played more national TV games. We were sixth. If you count BYUtv, you add a little more. When you talk to about access to exposure and to our fans, we got exactly what we wanted in that area. ESPN brings us more than we could have ever imagined. It's a good financial deal and they've helped BYUtv. They work closely together. … It's a new era. We're on the crest of this new era. Can't thank ESPN enough."
Q: What is going on with the relationship with Utah (the rivalry will take a two-year hiatus in 2014 and 2015)?
A: "It's strained. When I say that, I mean the games, and that part of it. I actually have a really good relationship with their athletic director, Chris Hill. We talk more than you think. There's reasons why this has happened. I feel bad that it happened, not just for the sake of the games. I feel bad for fans, players and coaches. But it's something that, they don't understand how good that was. But we're not in the same conference. It was really weird. When they left the Mountain West Conference, we had to do a contract for the first time ever with Utah. We had played them more than anybody, but it was weird because we had to do a contract to play them. When teams leave conferences, things change. I try to look at it optimistically. We can't say, 'woe is me.' We have to chart our course. I understand how disappointed people were that they got in the Pac-12 and we're not. We still have to be as good as we can. We can't worry about them but about what we can do to reach all of our dreams, all of our goals."
Q: What can you tell us about the transfer of Josh Quezada?
A: "He transferred (reportedly he will play at Fresno State) and when he left, he ended up getting baptized. It was a great thing. He's a great kid, one of my favorite kids. It's one of those things where he wanted to play more and we have really good depth at our running back position. For him, playing was a priority. Now, he has a chance. I'm supportive of that. I really am."
Q: Does ESPN determine when BYU plays — at night, on Thursdays, etc.?
A: "I'm glad you brought that up. Here's the double-edged sword for me. We want exposure and access. Those are the two pillars of why we went with ESPN. We get on national TV, the sixth-most of anyone in the country. Sometimes we're on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. ESPNU isn't quite up to ESPN2 yet, but ESPNU is getting bigger and bigger. Most of you have ESPN and ESPN2, but not ESPNU. When we play on Thursday and Friday, the ratings for those games are off-the-charts. We have so many people watching them. It's not just our fans now. There are people all over the country that turn on ESPN and watch, no matter who's playing. And we get some of those games. The Friday one, we do because of (LDS) General Conference. … The double-edged sword is, so we get the big TV games, but it's hard for the fans. You have your local fans and you have your national fans. I can't tell you how many times people come up to me and thank me so much for having the games on ESPN. These are people in Provo. They have a big screen TV, they get to sit on their couches and they don't have to come to the games anymore. You lose the ticket sales. Our ticket sales are down a little bit because every game is on TV. It's a double-edged sword, but we'll deal with it."
Q: What can you tell us about the November schedule in the future?
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