Mark A. Philbrick
Brandon Davies BYU vs Dixie State BYU - 96 Dixie - 85

BYU's basketball team, which squeaked by Dixie State last weekend in its final exhibition game, opens the season Friday at Utah State. looks ahead to the Cougars' inauguarl season in the West Coast Conference, where Gonzaga has claimed 11 consecutive league championships. Coach Dave Rose told that winning the conference will be a stiff challenge.

"So for those who think Brigham Young downgraded leagues by leaving the Mountain West, Rose believes the WCC will present an even greater challenge for a program coming off a Sweet 16 appearance and five straight NCAA tournament bids," writes Diamond Leung. “'We won four of the last five regular-season championships in the Mountain West Conference, and to do that in this league will be way more of a challenge than what we’ve seen because there were good teams in the Mountain West Conference, but there wasn’t the same team with the same tradition and the same expectation,' Rose said."

Turning to football, BYU is coming off a bye week and will host Idaho on Saturday. projects that the Cougars will face Southern Miss in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 30. Southern Miss has an 8-1 record and is rated No. 22 in the latest BCS rankings.

BYU is the most popular choice to join the Western Division of the Big East, according to this fan poll.