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Sports & Recreation

BYU Football Faces Uphill Battle as it Enters 5th Year of Independence

FLickr: Ken Lund

During the annual BYU Football media day on Wednesday, head coach Bronco Mendenhall gave his take on the state of the Cougars program as it enters its fifth year as an independent.

As the college football world embraces the new college football playoff, the schools from the so-called power five conferences have gained more money and more autonomy. That leaves BYU, an independent with no conference affiliation, in limbo. And while BYU Football head coach Bronco Mendenhall says the future of independence is uncertain, they have seen benefits from it.

“One of the primary focuses and benefits of independence is exposure," he says. "And if you look at the number of teams that have been seen more than us by national audiences, there is just not very many.”

BYU Athletics Director Tom Holmoe says, so far, the biggest difficulty has been scheduling teams for the last half of the season, especially with schools from power five conferences.

“But I think our fans would love to see us play them in September, maybe through a murderer’s row, than not play them at all," Holmoe says. "And that’s what we’re having. That’s what we’re seeing.”

BYU has also had trouble scheduling home games against top competition. Holmoe says the best way to fix that is by winning.

“You know, the great teams don’t want to travel all the way to the Rocky Mountains to play BYU right now, but if we were a top 10 team, that might be a game that we might be able to get,” he says.

BYU opens the 2015 season at Nebraska on September 5. They will then play Boise State in Provo, before traveling to play UCLA and Michigan. 

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