BYU football: Scheduling international games intrigues athletic director Tom Holmoe
UTEP showed some interest initially in moving one of its games to Canada, on Halloween night, but in the end, the Cougars decided not to do it. The frigid temperatures in Calgary at that time of the year also played a role in the decision, Fehlberg said.
There’s a chance BYU will play a game in a foreign country again someday, if Holmoe gets his way.
“We’ve gone international. It works for us,” he said. “Now you've got to find a team that wants to do that, and why would they want to do that? Notre Dame has a reason to do it.”
Indeed, just last fall, Notre Dame and Navy played a season opener in Dublin, and it was a wildly successful event. The Emerald Isle Classic drew a crowd of 49,000 — mostly visiting Americans. It was the first U.S. college football game in Ireland since 1996.
"It's kind of exciting. It's hard,” Holmoe said of scheduling an international game. “We can do it. We're used to doing it. We're used to traveling around a lot. You have to have the right (opponent). I would be really excited about that, but there aren't a lot of other teams that are excited about that. People don't want to do that.”
One idea that Holmoe has proposed is to play one of the military academies — Army, Navy or Air Force — overseas like Notre Dame did.
“I'd love to play a military team near a big military base somewhere in a big international city,” Holmoe said. “That would be great, and I would do anything I could to help make that happen. But they're not interested in that right now. But there may come a time. There are so many factors around their teams and colleges that might not even be athletically related that come into whether or not they can do that.”
Last fall, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall was asked about the possibility of playing in a foreign country, similar to what Notre Dame and Navy did in Dublin. Of course, there are obstacles to overcome, including travel costs and the timing of such a game.
"Maybe if it were the last game of the year or for a bowl game," Mendenhall said. "The thought of starting the year with a trip like that, and then having to play your season, if there was a bye after that, maybe. You'd have to look hard at what you had before that game and what you had after it."
What about a game in New Zealand, a nation that’s close to his heart? "Once you say New Zealand, then you get my attention," he said. "Other places, I'm not so sure."
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