BYU football notebook: Starting in 2014, the Cougars' future bowl destinations are uncertain

Published: Thursday, Dec. 13 2012 7:30 a.m. MST

Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Uani Unga (41) runs back an interception as BYU plays Idaho in the Cougar's final home football game on 2012 Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012,in Provo, Utah.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

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PROVO — BYU and San Diego State will tangle in next week's Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego, and next year, if the Cougars are bowl eligible, they're contracted to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.

But after that, starting in 2014, BYU's future bowl destinations are uncertain.

Where would coach Bronco Mendenhall like to see the Cougars play?

"I don't have ideal preferences," he said. "Three years ago, and even last year, there were conference bowls that contacted us saying they would have a sincere interest because they knew we would be there and we travel so well. It will be interesting to see how that comes. We've been reached out to over the last couple of years pretty heavily. It will be interesting to see if that follows through and where we might end up."

Under Mendenhall, the Cougars played in five consecutive Las Vegas Bowls, followed by the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque and the Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas. Mendenhall has enjoyed the change of scenery in recent seasons.

"It's just different experiences. It's easy for players, coaches and fans to be entitled when you go to the same game a number of times," he said. "Formerly, BYU saw it in the Holiday Bowl. We saw it for the Las Vegas Bowl. Sometimes, it's nice to have a change."

ALL-INDY TEAM: Fifteen Cougars were named to Phil Steele's Postseason All-Independent first and second teams.

BYU had nine players make the first team and six earned second-team honors. Notre Dame led with 19 total selections to the Cougars' 15, followed by 10 each from Army and Navy.

For BYU, defensive lineman Ezekiel Ansah, linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Brandon Ogletree, and defensive backs Daniel Sorensen and Jordan Johnson were named to the first-team defense. Defensive back Preston Hadley and defensive lineman Romney Fuga earned second-team honors.

Wide receiver Cody Hoffman and offensive lineman Braden Hansen represented BYU on the first-team offense with freshman running back Jamaal Williams, tight end Kaneakua Friel, wide receiver Ross Apo and offensive lineman Braden Brown making the second team.

On special teams, punter Riley Stephenson and kick return specialist JD Falslev were first-team selections.

BOWL PRACTICES: The NCAA allows bowl teams to hold 15 practices, but BYU will be taking advantage of just eight practice opportunities.

It's nothing new, however. It's a similar model to what the Cougars have used for years under Mendenhall. BYU is practicing Monday through Friday this week, then three times while in San Diego for the Poinsettia Bowl.

It's hard to argue the results — the Cougars have won three consecutive bowl games and five of their last seven.

"I don't really have a strong opinion on it," said quarterback James Lark. "Coach Mendenhall's done it for seven years and we've won five of the seven bowl games. It works."

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