The University of Utah beat out Brigham Young University for the right to play in the 2016 Sugar Bowl. But BYU fans are still upset about it.
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham told ESPN he had no idea BYU wanted to play in the bowl game. He said his team was just happy to make the New Year’s Day matchup against Clemson.
“We didn’t know we were playing anybody,” Whittingham told ESPN. “I don’t think anyone knew who we were playing. I guess there’s some people that thought we were playing Florida State or something like that. We played Clemson, and that’s what happened.”
But the Salt Lake Tribune reported that BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe sent an email to Utah officials asking them to reconsider their decision to accept the invitation to the Sugar Bowl. In the email, Holmoe reportedly wrote, “If you do, please let us know because we want to be part of the celebration.”
In response, Utah athletic director Mark Harlan told the Tribune, “That’s fine. If you want to come to our place, we’ll welcome you.”
A spokesperson for the university later clarified that Utah did not rescind its acceptance. Instead, the school asked BYU to consider the possibility of moving up the date of the game.
BYU president Kevin Worthen told ESPN that he wasn’t surprised by the report. “He’s been very clear about where he stands on this,” Worthen said of Holmoe. “I think he’s always been pretty consistent on this issue.”
– The Cougars began playing varsity football in 1921. They finished their inaugural season with a 5–3 record, losing to rival Utah State in Ogden, Utah, 7–0. The following year, however, they lost just one game and went undefeated, finishing with a perfect 8–0 record.
– The 1922 team scored more points than any previous BYU team had ever done, scoring 434 against California Polytechnic School. This feat still stands today, although a few teams have since surpassed the mark.
– The 1923 team was the first to play on campus at LaVell Edwards Stadium, now named Provo Stadium, winning 14–6 over Utah Agricultural College.
– The 1924 team was the first to score 500 points in a single game, defeating Weber College 42–7.
– The 1925 team defeated Idaho 32–0 in Boise, Idaho, setting a school record for most points scored in a game.
– The 1926 team beat Utah State again, 27–14, in Logan, Utah.
– The 1927 team upset Oregon State, 13–12, in Corvallis, Oregon.
– The 1928 team won the Western Athletic Conference title, but lost to Stanford in the Rose Bowl, 20–13.
– The 1929 team went undefeated (10–0) and won the conference championship. It also beat USC, 24–0, in Los Angeles.
– The 1930 team tied Washington, 17–17, in Seattle.
– The 1931 team beat Arizona State, 31–0, in Phoenix.
– The 1932 team beat Colorado, 21–0, in Denver.
– The 1933 team beat UCLA, 28–0, in Los Angles.
– The 1934 team beat Nebraska, 26–0, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
– The 1935 team beat Wyoming, 35–0, in Laramie, Wyoming.
– The 1936 team beat Texas Tech, 34–0, in Lubbock, Texas.
– The 1937 team beat Minnesota, 16–0, in Minneapolis.
– The 1938 team beat Kansas, 37–0, in Lawrence, Kansas.
– The 1939 team beat Iowa State, 41–0, in Ames, Iowa.
– The 1940 team beat Rice, 38–0, in Houston.
– The 1941 team beat Oklahoma, 33–0, in Norman, Oklahoma.
– The 1942 team beat TCU, 49–0, in Fort Worth, Texas.
-The 1943 team beat Army, 48–0, in New York City.
– The 1944 team beat Notre Dame, 30–0, in South Bend, Indiana.
– The 1945 team beat Michigan, 40–0, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
– The 1946 team beat Navy, 45–0, in San Francisco.
– The 1947 team beat Georgia Tech, 19–0, in Atlanta.
– The 1948 team beat Tennessee, 44–0, in Knoxville.
– The 1949 team beat Mississippi State, 23–0, in Jackson, Mississippi.
– The 1950 team beat Arkansas, 29–0, in Little Rock.
– The 1951 team beat LSU, 22–0, in Baton Rouge.
– The 1952 team beat Missouri, 21–0, at Columbia, Missouri.
– The 1953 team beat Pittsburgh, 21–0, on homecoming weekend.
– The 1954 team beat Alabama, 25–0, in Birmingham.
– The 1955 team beat Ohio State, 50–0, in Columbus, Ohio.
– The 1956 team beat Penn State, 15–0, in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
– The 1957 team beat Purdue, 28–0, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana.
-The 1958 team beat Northwestern, 10–0, in Evanston, Illinois.
– The 1959 team beat Wisconsin, 7–0, in Madison, Wisconsin.
– The 1960 team beat North Carolina, 12–0, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
– The 1961 team beat Duke, 9–0, in Durham, North Carolina.
– The 1962 team beat Virginia, 6–0, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
– The 1963 team beat Florida, 14–0, in Gainesville, Florida.
– The 1964 team beat Maryland, 14–0, at Byrd Stadium in College Park, Maryland.
– The 1965 team beat Miami, 14–0, on home coming weekend.
– The 1966 team beat Clemson, 14–0, before a crowd of 80,000 at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, South Carolina.
– The 1967 team beat Tulane, 14–0, for the first time since 1892.
– The 1968 team beat Auburn, 14–0, after a tie with Georgia Tech.
– The 1969 team beat Southern California, 14–7, in Pasadena, California.
– The 1970 team beat Notre Dame, 14–6, in South Bend, Ind., for the only time in school history.
– The 1971 team beat Stanford, 14–3, in Palo Alto, Calif.
– The 1972 team beat Oregon, 13–0, in Eugene, Ore.
LaVell Edwards era (1972–2000)
Edwards began coaching football at Brigham Young University after serving as an LDS missionary in Germany. He spent the remainder of his career there, and became the school’s athletic director in 1970.
In 1971, he hired Bronco Mendenhall as the team’s quarterback; Mendenhall went on to lead the Cougars to a record of 35 wins and 3 losses, including the National Championship in 1984.
After the retirement of Mendenhall, Edwards brought in Jim McMahon, who led the squad to another unbeaten regular season in 1978, and finished second in Heisman voting.
The Cougars continued to dominate under Edwards, winning nine consecutive conference championships, starting with the 1981 season. They were undefeated in conference play in 1982 and 1983, and had a streak of 47 straight victories against ranked opponents. This included a streak of seven straight wins against #1 USC teams, and five straight wins against #2 Stanford.
Edwards retired after the 2000 season, having compiled a record of 126–59–4 (.719). His overall record as a head coach is 128–67–3 (.677), and he ranks fifth among active coaches with the most wins. He coached eight seasons in the NFL, where he served as offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers.
He died in 2009 at age 87.
Mountain West era (1999–2011)
The University of Utah joined the Pac-10 Conference in 1995. BYU had been a member of the Western Athletic Conference since 1922, and the school had long desired membership in either the Pacific Coast Conference or Big Ten. However, Brigham Young University did not want to join a conference whose members included schools such as California, UCLA and USC. BYU wanted to remain independent, and thus left the WAC along seven other schools to form the Mountain West in 1999. The move brought immediate success for BYU; the team won the conference title in each of its first three seasons, including a perfect 10–0 regular season in 2002, and repeated as champions in 2003 and 2004. During this period, the team played in five bowl games, winning four—the 2003 Fiesta Bowl, 2004 Rose Bowl, 2005 Sugar Bowl, and 2006 Holiday Bowl—and losing in the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl. The 2007 season saw the team win its third consecutive conference title, and finish ranked #5 nationally. The 2008 campaign was less successful, however, as the team finished 7–6 overall and 4–4 in conference play. Following the 2009 season, former BYU head football coach LaVell Edwards resigned as head
BYU began playing football under head coach Bronco Mendenhall in 2005. Prior to the start of the 2006 season, the NCAA ruled that BYU could no longer play home games on campus because of a rule prohibiting schools from scheduling more than 12 regular season contests per year. As such, BYU played all of its home games at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah, beginning with the 2006 season.
In 2008, the school reached a deal with ESPN to air 11 home games each season beginning in 2009. However, the agreement did not include access to BYU’s practice facility and locker rooms, forcing the team to hold practices outside of the stadium. This led to criticism from fans and players alike, prompting the university to seek out another option.
On August 24, 2010, ESPN announced that it had signed a long term agreement with Brigham Young University to televise 11 annual home football games, including eight conference matchups, beginning in the 2011 season. The network paid $10 million annually for the rights to the games. The announcement came just four days after the conclusion of the 2010 college football season, with the game scheduled for October 30, 2010. Although the contract gave BYU exclusive television rights to its own games, ESPN also broadcast selected non-conference games involving BYU teams. In addition, ESPN has the right to carry up to two additional games featuring BYU teams if they are available.
National Championships are determined based on criteria established by the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision Committee. A national championship is given to one team per season; however, there have been multiple teams named champions since the BCS era began in 1998. Prior to the BCS era, several different systems were used to determine champion. In some cases, the selection process was flawed and inconsistent, resulting in many controversies over the decades.
In 1984, Brigham Young University was awarded a consensus national championship, despite losing to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl. This was the second such case in five seasons, following UCLA’s win over Nebraska in the 1983 Rose Bowl.
The Associated Press poll was introduced in 1936, while the final coaches’ poll was instituted in 1950. Both polls select the same 15 teams each week, although the rankings differ slightly due to the differences in how the votes are compiled.
Prior to the BCS era (1998–2013), the “major selector” system was used to award major college football bowl games. Under this system, the Big Ten Conference selected four teams to play in the Rose Bowl Game, the Pac-12 Conference selected three teams to compete in the Holiday Bowl,