PROVO — Snow was swirling in Utah County Monday morning when news broke that BYU could be headed to the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl against an American Athletic Conference opponent in December.
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reported that the Cougars will be one of the participants in the new bowl, as long as they qualify.
The game will be played at Marlins Park in Miami, home of the Florida Marlins baseball team. The Miami Beach Bowl is scheduled to kick off the week before Christmas, but no exact date has been set.
According to McMurphy, the Miami Beach Bowl was originally scheduled to match up teams from the AAC and Conference USA this season. But the AAC relinquished its spot in the Bahamas Bowl to Conference USA, and C-USA let the Cougars take the Miami Beach Bowl berth.
BYU has played in a bowl game in the state of Florida twice — the 1976 Tangerine Bowl, and the 1985 Citrus Bowl. Both games were played in Orlando, and the Cougars lost both games, to Oklahoma State and Ohio State, respectively.
The Cougars are 0-5 all-time in games played in the Sunshine State. BYU lost at Miami in 1988 and at Florida State in 2010. The Cougars fell to the Seminoles in Jacksonville in the 2000 Pigskin Classic.
BYU is already scheduled to play three AAC teams next season — UConn (the season-opener on Aug. 29), Houston (Sept. 11), and Central Florida (Oct. 9). The UCF game will be played in Orlando.
BYU officials did not immediately respond to questions about the Miami Beach Bowl report.
In late February, athletic director Tom Holmoe told reporters that he’s been busy working on a bowl tie-in for 2014.
“I feel really good about where we are,” he said. “But that’s not contracted, so I can’t comment on it. But I think it will be good for our program. I’m excited about the potential matchups. I think when it’s done, it will hit some of the pillars we’re looking for in our program We have an agreement with ESPN that they’re going to get us a (bowl) game. I’m not worried about that. They have a lot of games.”
The AAC announced the creation of the Miami Beach Bowl last October. The bowl is owned and administered by the conference. Television and title sponsorship agreements will be announced later, according to the conference.
"We are excited to bring postseason football back to Miami," AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said at the time. "And we are equally excited to be able to provide this experience to our student-athletes and fans. The Miami Beach Bowl fulfills our goal of providing postseason opportunities in desirable locations that are easily accessible for our fans. This state-of-the art venue will provide a great stage for our student-athletes and institutions.”
“We are proud to be able to stage this game at Marlins Park — the site of the original Orange Bowl, where some of the greatest players and coaches in college and professional football history have performed," said senior associate commissioner Nick Carparelli. "We have received great support from the Miami and South Florida communities and that ongoing partnership will make this game successful."
Since going independent in 2011, the Cougars have played in the Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas), the Poinsettia Bowl (San Diego) and the Fight Hunger Bowl (San Francisco).