No college football team begins its season dreaming of playing in the New Mexico Bowl, but for the 2010 BYU Cougars it's a consolation prize.
After a disastrous 1-4 start, that included an embarrassing loss to Utah State, the Cougars finished the season winning five of their last seven games.
The two losses during that streak came to No. 3 (TCU) and No. 19 (Utah) ranked in the final BCS rankings.
This Saturday's bowl game against UTEP is vital to setting a foundation from which to launch next season's campaign.
Normally, a team that has fallen to 6-6 following four straight 10+ win seasons would go into a game like this, with little motivation. Yet, that’s not the case with this BYU football team.
Folks, the Cougars are dialed in and you can expect them to bring their “A” game into this match up with the Miners.
The Cougars believe they were the second-best team in the Mountain West Conference at the end of the season. They outplayed a Utah team that needed a series of highly unusual events to pull out a one-point 17-16 win on the Utes home field.
This team has something to prove and there is a definite sense around the program that the boys of BYU are taking this game very seriously.
This UTEP team is only sightly better than the four teams that BYU dominated from Oct. 23 to Nov. 20.
There are some significant match-up advantages for the Cougars in this game and we will be breaking down some of those as the week progresses.
With a win over the Miners, the Cougars would improve their bowl record to 4-2 under Bronco Mendenhall.
It wasn’t until its 13th season under former coach LaVell Edwards that BYU got its fourth bowl win.