Wisconsin Deal Could be a Trend For BYU
Thursday’s insider report by the Wisconsin State Journal that BYU and Wisconsin have agreed to meet on the gridiron is something that has been anticipated for a long time in Provo.
The two programs have been talking and trying to put a deal in place since shortly after the Cougars became a football independent.
If accurate, the Badgers will be the second Big Ten team added to BYU’s schedule in the past few months. The school announced a game with Nebraska in 2015 in February.
Neither school has officially announced the series at this point, but Badger beat reporter Tom Mulhern says that a UW source informed him that BYU will travel to Madison next season, with the Badgers making a return trip to Provo. The source did not specify a year for the return game.
New System Could Help BYU
Wisconsin has reportedly been open about its desire to increase the level of competition in its out-of-conference games and a program like BYU fits the bill perfectly. This season, the Badgers face Northern Iowa, Utah State and UTEP outside of Big Ten play. Next year they step things up with the Cougars and Arizona State expected to be on the slate.
With strength of schedule sure to be a key component of how teams will be evaluated for the four-team playoff that will determine a national champion in the future, many programs from the big five conferences could be looking to follow Wisconsin’s lead. That could be a very good thing for Tom Holmoe and BYU.
The Cougars have both a perennial top 25 program and plenty of flexibility in their future schedules to accommodate some of the big name programs that might be looking to bolster their resumes for the selection committee. Some of those programs will view BYU as a regularly-ranked team that they believe they can defeat.
Juggling the 2013 Schedule
Although a date has yet to be announced for the game at Camp Randall Stadium next season, it appears that there are two possible dates that would work for both the Cougars and the Badgers.
Wisconsin has a a bye week scheduled for November 9th, in the middle of its Big Ten schedule. The other date that would work for both programs would be September 14th, a date that is currently open in both schedules.
There are rumors circulating that ESPN would like the game to be played in November. BYU currently has a number of open dates late in the season and would probably prefer the November date as well, however Wisconsin may not be interested in stepping out of Big Ten play that late in the conference race.
If the game were to be scheduled for September 14th, that would mean that BYU’s TBA game at Washington State would almost assuredly have to take place the week of August 31st. The PAC-12′s policy of not interrupting conference play with non-conference games gives the two programs little wiggle room beyond the first three or four weeks of the season.
BYU already has games scheduled against Texas on Sept. 7th, Boise State on Sept. 21st and date with Utah in the fourth week of September according to an announcement made last week by Utah AD Chris Hill.