BYU football: ESPN critical to BYU's scheduling efforts as an independent
There are times when Mendenhall will inquire about games that interest him. “I've met coaches that I thought, 'This would be a good game,’” he said. “But I haven't had any success yet with the coaches saying, 'Yeah, let's play.' In most cases they say, 'No, I'm not interested in playing,' which is a compliment to our program. So really, Dave has had more success in generating momentum through the ESPN and national exposure. ESPN has certainly helped us do that."
Mendenhall added that he is impressed with ESPN’s ability to get deals done. "The power of ESPN has absolutely amazed me to this point, of what teams will do to get on ESPN,” he said. “Balance is what I'm seeking in our schedule. It's difficult, but my biggest challenge now is saying no to all of the great opportunities. Dave is really helpful and he's bringing opportunities to us all the time. Tom and I are bringing our contacts to him all of the time. ESPN is ESPN. People move games to be on ESPN. They'll move from a date to get on ESPN. Dave has a huge influence."
In addition to receiving help from ESPN, the renewed emphasis on strength of schedule, as it pertains to the new college football postseason format, benefits BYU in terms of its scheduling. It will help the Cougars set up more high-profile games with opponents from all over the nation, Holmoe said.
"The really good teams don't have trouble scheduling. They're like, 'We'll play BYU.' The great teams don't back away from people,” Holmoe said. “They won't play us if they've already scheduled a really, really good team outside of their really, really good conference. They'll catch us on another year, and that's why we're doing games into the 2020s. That's a long ways out. As strength of schedule comes more into play, teams will realize BYU is a good (option). Right now we’re not a top-10 team. It’s a recognizable name, a good name, gets good ratings; there's a lot of positives about it, but quite frankly, those teams think they can beat us."
Holmoe knows that to be nationally relevant, BYU — especially as an independent — needs to have a perennially attractive schedule.
“We’re aiming to have a really good schedule that will look good and feel good, where the pundits and the people that are going to be determining who goes to the playoffs feel that it’s a good enough schedule to have a great season," he said.
"You can’t have a great season if you don’t have a good schedule. There are a lot of factors that go into having a great season, and one of them is the schedule. This year has a better schedule maybe than next year. But I don’t think we can put together the perfect schedule every year.”
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