BYU and LSU to play a future football game?

By Kevin Kelley -

As an FBS Independent, the BYU Cougars have the luxury of scheduling 12 games against teams from all across the country. Their future schedules currently include top programs such as Arizona, California, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Stanford, Texas, USC, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

But the Cougars do not have a game on the books against a team from arguably the best conference in college football, the SEC. However, that may change soon according to BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

Speaking on his weekly show yesterday on KSL News Radio with Greg Wrubell and Marc Lyons, Mendenhall spoke about his future scheduling desires and hinted at a possible match-up with the LSU Tigers.

“I would still like to have a military academy each year. I’d love for our players to visit West Point (Army), I’d love for them to visit Annapolis (Navy), I’d love for them to experience that part of college football.

“I’d love to have a long-term agreement with Boston College. I think that would be a great game for us. And then there’s many others that will be announced later that I think the fans will really like. But there are some that make a lot of sense, and I would love to have games in each part of the country that have really natural and intriguing, kind of, similarities between programs.”

Greg Wrubell then asked Mendenhall “Maybe some Big Ten announcements in the future?”

“That would be my hope. I like that. Just after our game against Wisconsin and looking out, what Ohio State looks like, Northwestern, teams like that, that could be really fun.

“Nebraska is on the schedule in the future, Michigan is on the schedule in the future, LSU possibly on the schedule in the future. So yeah, we’re gonna travel as many places as we can to play the best teams we can.”

Mendenhall didn’t mention whether LSU would be a single game or part of a home-and-home or neutral site series.

Looking at each teams’ future schedules, 2015 would be the earliest they could play. BYU has two openings that season, as does LSU.

But LSU’s future schedules are currently in a state of flux. The Tigers have been shuffling around some non-conference opponents and have or are in the process of postponing series against Arizona State and Oklahoma.

In addition, the SEC has not decided whether to move to a nine-game conference schedule or stay at eight. A move to nine would reduce their non-conference games from four to three per season.

BYU and LSU have never met in football. If they do, it would certainly be one of their biggest scheduling coups since Texas.

UPDATE (3:20pm ET)

LSU Senior Associate Athletics Director Verge Ausberry told me via email that he “doesn’t know anything” about a future football game or games vs. LSU.

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Comments (37)

If BYU can pull off some opponents like these mentioned I think it would be great–and would help independence long term work out. I’d hope they could get Air Force in that Army/Navy rotation too–if they can make it work with AF being in a conference and Navy joining one soon.

So if they get Army/Navy/Air Force in a 3 year rotation then they only have to find room in the schedule once every 3 years per school which should be do-able.

We need more of these big teams to come to Provo. BYU is always willing to go to these bigger schools and we are stuck watching them play teams like Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss in Provo. I know we have to give a little to get them to even put us on the schedule though so BYU is in a hard spot. Having Texas and Georgia Tech here this year was great but the next two year’s home schedules are nothing to write home about. I’m hoping for a home and home with LSU as well as some of these other bigger schools. Let’s get it done Tom!

Only way you get a LSU to come to Provo is if BYU comes to Baton Rouge twice. BYU isn’t a big enough program to get a home and home with national powers like LSU. More than likely if these teams play it will be a neutral site game because scheduling so so complicated.

I would totally take a home, away, away. Or, home, away, neutral. You’re right, BYU isn’t Notre Dame and most BCS teams don’t want to take on another difficult game on an already crazy schedule. What BYU needs is what Bronco is talking about in this interview, ongoing relationships with teams and/or conferences, other than Bosie and Utah State.

I went to both LSU and BYU, and grew up in Baton Rouge. I would love to see the teams play, and I do believe LSU would be willing to schedule a neutral field if it’s an early (in the year) game. Perhaps a Texas venue?

Talk about rabid fan bases but totally opposite food and alcohol appetites for the Tailgate Party. Cultural polar extremes. Would be a great game though.

I understand the difference alcohol appetite reference, but I am curious what kind of food differences you are referring to.

I’m betting not a lot of Cajun or Creole. But if you are from Utah…please tell us. I think that was all Bruce was trying to say.

I am from Utah and there are creole and cajun restaurants in the area, Utahns tend to eat a little bit of everything. Because many Mormons serve missions around the world (and country) there is a great variety of food options in Utah, especially the Provo/Orem area.

A lot of Utah residents go to Arctic Circle Burger and get really good burgers and awesome milkshakes. The Pineapple/Strawberry may be the best shake I ever had. I havent been to Utah since 2001 or so; yet I still crave one from time to time.

The longstanding rumor, repeat rumor, about scheduling BYU either for regular season games or bowls is that their traveling fanbase is exceptionally cheap. By cheap I mean that BYU fans largely do not drink alcohol, do not frequent restaurants, and rely on LDS churches and/or their memberships in the area of the game to supplement food and provide housing. The reverse is the absence of “attractions” in the Provo area for any traveling fan base. So, if my information is correct, and I’m sure I’ll get those who disagree or want to argue, getting BYU on the schedule secures a game and, if you’re the home team, brings their very polite, respectful, and under-control fans, but little money for the local economy.

Alcohol Rumor = True,
Restaurant Rumor = False, Gotsta eat good food
Housing Rumor = False, Catholics don’t house Catholics and Mormons don’t house Mormons

*That being said. A lot of the fans in attendance will be folks that live driving distance from the stadium.

The vast majority of fans going to an away game, even if its on the east coast, will live within driving distance.

“By cheap I mean that BYU fans largely do not drink alcohol…”


“…do not frequent restaurants…”


“…and rely on LDS churches and/or their memberships in the area of the game to supplement food and provide housing.”


AFAcademy was furious with BYU over some of the circumstances under which they left the MWC. This accounts for all of the Service Academy’s refusing to schedule BYU. Perhaps they have changed their policy but I will believe that when I see it.

Though, there is evidence that officials at other schools, such as Wyoming and San Diego State, were disgruntled.

I’ve never heard the thing about not eating out or staying and eating with local church members instead of hotels/restaurants (unless individuals had family in the area or something). I can’t imagine doing something like that as a fan. So that is the part I’d question.

I’ve wondered about leaving the MWC and if Air Force has some of the same bad feelings that Wyoming and SDSU have been public about. I haven’t really been able to get a read on that from Air Force fans (they seem to be in hiding with the tough football year they are having this year).

I have to think that Air Force would have forgotten any possible “bad feelings” while they were entertaining the thought of joining the Big East.

It is also noted that Bronco and Calhoun have a friendly relationship.

AF never entertained notions of leaving the MWC . They were approached but always replied no thanks and expressed lloyalty to the MWC. The AF Academy’s unhappiness with BYU was well noted in the media and blogs at the time. The real proof is that the Academies have scheduled zero games with BYU at a time when BYU had to be non stop asking.

To be fair BYU has never played Army and only played Navy twice in history–one of which was a bowl game. So it is a stretch to say that all of the academies have boycotted BYU since it left the conference it shared with Air Force. Also if you look at the all-time series, Air Force played BYU a grand total of 3 times when they were not in the same conference (WAC/MWC) and those games were in 1956, 1974, and 1975.

The problem for BYU is when they schedule Notre Dame Wisconsin Texas etc. on 2 for 1s they need to make those games up. If all they get are 1 for 1s and 2 for 1s then eventually they will be playing more games outside of Provo then in Provo. They have been making up the home games with FCS teams like Weber St. Idaho St and Savanah St. And also with former WAC schools Utah State New Mexico St and Idaho. (utah st. is now on a 1 for 1 basis)

I think they need to make them up with CUSA MAC and Sun Belt Teams. MTSU needed to be a 2 for 1 and they need to schedule teams like NIU, North Texas, Texas St. UTSA, Troy, Kent St., Eastern Western or Central Michigan etc. If Holmoe could sign a 3 year deal with one of those conferences for 3 games a year with 2 in Provo and 1 on the road that would be great.

I am in favor of playing big name schools like Texas, Notre Dame, Wisconsin,
Stanford etc. If the only way to get them to Provo is on a 2 for 1 than do it. But I’d rather play lower level FBS schools every year than FCS schools. And I would really like to have more 7 home game seasons as an Indy.

Totally agree. Just having some teams that fans aren’t used to playing would be more interesting than playing Idaho and Weber St.(no offense guys) UTSA and Troy aren’t too exciting but we’ve been there done that with WAC/MTN West. I’d love to end up with 7 home games (I work for a hotel group with 2 hotels near the stadium), but BYU isn’t going to it. To Phil’s point below, BYU”s focus is getting out to people outside of the state, not necessarily to bring in more revenue for the area.

As much as I think we’d all love to get into a decent conference, independence works for what BYU wants to do.

I totally agree. Now would be a great time to schedule a 2:1 with Old Dominion and UTSA. Then do a 1:1:1 with LSU and go play a neutral game at Jerry’s place. It’s not too far from New Orleans, it gets us another game in Texas for our fans, so it’s actually a neutral site game.


Bronco is ok with the 1 for 1’s.
I am currently in South Bend where BYU plays on Saturday.
Bronco gets together with his team every night before the game and they speak in a church,
and share inspirational stories with the community. Bronco loves it because he can “spread positive messages outside of football. Bronco prefers to do it this way, 2 weeks ago in Wisconsin he spoke at one and that message was broadcast to over 20 different churches across the state. where was being held people had to get there 90 minutes early for seats
Bronco is a superstar at these events. Think Joel Osteen meets Bill Belicheck, you have Bronco. a positive guy, who cares about people, and knows a lot about football.

When I think Joel Osteen meets Bill Belichick I think of two crackpots.


You may be right about Bronco, and BYU does have the spread the message aspect to it. But If or when BYU stops putting up winning records and going to Bowl games then the fans start to go away and the message is not going to be as well received .

My point was simply that if BYU continues to get 2 for 1 deals then they will end up playing more games outside of Provo then in Provo. And my suggestion to get CUSA/MAC/Sun Belt teams on 2 for 1s helps accomplish a couple of things. First it counters the home vs away games that they have setup in the future. Second it helps them get needed wins in order to keep going to Bowl games and spreading their message. Because a non Bowl season gives BYU 1 less opportunity.

2015 BYU has 10 games on the schedule so far 4 home and 6 away. The imbalance comes from Nebraska and Michigan both road games with no return game. So to complete their home schedule they will likely add 1 FCS game and either another FCS game or a smaller FBS school.

2016 BYU has 6 games so far 1 home 2 neutral and 3 road games. This is the schedule to watch for me. It is only a couple of years away and BYU needs to add at least 5 home games in order to get 6. This may be the year when BYU plays more out of Provo than in Provo games. Hopefully that does not happen but BYU needs to start adding games fast for that season.

Good ol’ Bill (the one that’s been trolling for years, not the newbie). You can always depend on him to leave a negative comment about BYU.

You are right on top me Brock. I am not a fan of cults. Good job figuring that out.

As long as BYU continues to schedule these lower tier games, it’s going to be very difficult to climb in the rankings? Also, if BYU doesn’t schedule quality teams or go undefeated, it’s going to be very difficult to break into any substantial BCS bowl games!

correction…BYU’s very first game as an Independent was against the SEC (Ole Miss) and resulted in a 14-13 win.

UPDATE (1/8/2015)

LSU Senior Associate Athletics Director Verge Ausberry has been full of crap for at least fourteen months.