BYU Football: 3 Most Attractive Games of 2012

Lou Martin@@SenorWriteContributor IIIDecember 10, 2011

BYU Football: 3 Most Attractive Games of 2012

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    BYU’s 2012 football schedule is looking more interesting than the 2011 campaign has been with matchups scheduled against Boise State, Notre Dame, Utah, Washington State and Oregon State. For only the third time in the school's history, BYU and Weber State will face off at LaVell Edwards stadium in early September.

    With eight games set in stone for 2012, does this mean BYU’s chances of joining a conference in time for the start of next season are non-existent? Time will tell, but one thing is for certain: Don’t rule out anything.

    The 2012 season is nearly nine months away, but it’s never too early to look ahead, so let’s take a peek at the top three most interesting matchups. It would be nice to include the Holy War against Utah on this short list, but the air has been sucked out of that once-inviting balloon the second the Utes bolted for the Pac-12 and the game was pushed to September.

3. Washington State (Sept. 1)

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    Backdrops often make football matchups more interesting than what actually unfolds on the field. BYU-Washington State is no exception.

    Newly-named head coach Mike Leach is a BYU alum that has spent two seasons away from the sidelines after being pushed out at Texas Tech in 2009. Like the return of Steve Sarkisian in 2010, Leach’s return to Provo may be the most interesting thing about this matchup.

    When he was introduced as the Cougars’ head coach last week, Leach said he was asked why he would want to take over a browbeaten program in the Pacific Northwest.

    “I think that’s a stupid question,” he said. “You can win here and win big, I believe.”

    What else is he supposed to say?

    Be that as it may, Leach will get to prove he can win when the Cougars visit LaVell Edwards Stadium to open the 2012 season.

    Leach inherits a 4-8 squad that finished in last place in the Pac-12’s North Division in 2011, but that could be of little concern to Leach who produced his share of winners during his 10-season stint in Lubbock.

2. Notre Dame (Oct. 20)

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    OK, so the Irish are known more these days for their past than their present, but it’s hard to knock tradition, something the Cougars are rich in themselves.

    The Irish went 8-4 in 2011 and are set to take on Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 29.

    It can be cold in South Bend in late October, but cold is something the Cougars should be accustomed to.

    Although neither team is likely to be in the BCS discussion by the time they meet, the religious affiliations both schools maintain makes for an interesting backdrop.

    Like the mayors and governors of cities and states do in other sports, maybe the Pope and Pres. Monson can make a friendly wager on the game. Perhaps a case of Deseret Industries canned peaches if the Irish win and a case of Roman candles should the Cougars come out on top.

1. Boise State (Sept. 22)

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    At first glance, the Cougars’ tilt with Boise State on Sept. 22 in Boise looks the most promising. The typical offseason issues will play a big part in how well this game pans out, but the fact the Cougars are going to play against a nationally-respected BCS buster is promising enough.

    The Broncos went 11-1 in 2011 and are scheduled to face Arizona State in the MAACO Bowl on Dec. 22.

    Boise State holds a 2-0 advantage in the schools’ series, but BYU will have the next 12 seasons to improve on that record as the schools extended their initial 2012-2015 agreement out to 2023.

    What’s least interesting about this game—and quite possibly a detriment to even watch—is the fact that it will be played on the Broncos’ hideously-blue field in which the locals have much pride.

    Is it too much to hope for snow in Boise in September?