Last week it was announced that BYU and Wisconsin had finally gotten around to making an announcement about playing each other, and Wisconsin was added to an already tough 2013 season for BYU.
This was great news! It meant that one of the ‘big boys’ was willing to play BYU. Not only that, they were willing to do so on an equal, home and home type deal.
Speculation was that the game would land in September, but then something miraculous happened.
Wisconsin actually had a Big Ten conference game against Purdue moved to September so the Badgers could play BYU in November.
Read that again.
Bret Bielema and the Wisconsin Badgers felt like adding BYU to the schedule was a big enough priority that they actually went so far as to move a conference game with Purdue to make it happen. This is huge. It took a strong desire on the part of Wisconsin, and the cooperation of both the Big Ten and Purdue.
This is really great news, but something’s been bugging me about it since I heard the story break: it should have been done for BYU earlier, and it should have been Utah doing it.
Utah should have been the first member of one of the big 5 conferences to work out a deal to play BYU in November. It should’ve been Utah requesting that the Pac12 allow a conference game be moved to September to preserve the Holy War in November. It should’ve been Utah asking a fellow conference member to switch that game with them. It should’ve been Utah asking for an exception to the Pac12 non-conference scheduling rule. But it wasn’t.
I’ll be the first to admit that we don’t know what closed-door conversations have gone on between Chris Hill and Larry Scott. For all we know, this was already attempted by Utah, and they were turned down. After all, they’re new to the Pac12, and they probably don’t have the sway with the Pac12 that Wisconsin has with the Big Ten.
Maybe I’m wrong here. Utah did recently announce two more games with BYU (2013 and 2016), and that’s certainly a move toward continuance. But are we stuck in September because Utah isn’t pushing hard enough? Wisconsin tells me yes, but again, all we have to go on is what we observe. Actions speak to our priorities, and Wisconsin has made BYU a high priority.
Perhaps it’s because I really do love playing Utah that I care so much. Maybe it’s because I still feel strong ties to them, and I’d rather not see them go away. I’m really excited about playing Wisconsin, and I’m not saying I’d prefer to schedule Utah instead of them, but it’s weird to have a school with so few ties to BYU be the one that made scheduling BYU such a high priority.
It should’ve been Utah. At the very least, it should’ve been Utah first.
For more on the Wisconsin series, see my article for Examiner.com here.