A wave of BYU football news came out of Provo, Utah, on Wednesday morning involving head coach Bronco Mendenhall, an upcoming series with Pac-12 Conference power USC and an affiliation with the Poinsettia Bowl.
The leading news is of a contract extension agreement that will keep Mendenhall with BYU until 2016, as announced on the team's official site.
The Alpine, Utah, native took over for Gary Crowton in 2005 following three consecutive losing seasons for the Cougars. Since then, BYU hasn't finished under .500, as Mendhenhall has carried a 74-29 record—making him No. 12 in total wins in the nation in that time.
Athletic director Tom Holmoe showed his support for Mendenhall in the extension agreement and lauded his coach in the BYU release:
I am thrilled to have Bronco signed as our head football coach through the 2016 season. Over the past eight seasons, his leadership has guided our football program back to national prominence through top-25 rankings, bowl victories, All-American athletes and overall excitement at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Also in the release, Mendenhall talked briefly about the future he sees in Provo:
I’m excited to build on the success of our program over past eight years, and I think there's much more that we can accomplish at BYU.
With the leader of their program locked up, the Cougars announced a three-game series with USC for 2019, 2021 and 2023 (Via BYUCougars.com).
The first meeting in the series will take place at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Sept. 14, 2019, with the two following games to take place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on the Thanksgiving weekends of 2021 and 2023.
USC and BYU have only met twice, with the Trojans winning both contests in 2003 and 2004.
Holmoe alluded to the numerous BYU fans in Southern California in his statement on the upcoming series:
We have a huge number of Cougar football fans in Southern California who will love having a chance to see their team play twice against one of the best programs in all of college football.
With that series far on the horizon, BYU also announced a more proximal playing deal with the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (Via BYUCougars.com).
The Cougars are locked in to play in the Southern California bowl for the 2015 season, as well as another season at a later date.
Obviously, BYU must be bowl eligible in order to actually fulfill the deal. Additionally, if the Cougars were to earn a berth in the College Football Playoff, they would forgo the Poinsettia Bowl.
The Cougars played in the Poinsettia Bowl for the first time last season, where their stingy defense shut down San Diego State en route to a 23-6 victory.
Additionally, BYU has made numerous Holiday Bowl appearances in San Diego, including a 1984 victory over Michigan that earned the Cougars a national title.
San Diego Bowl Game Association executive director Bruce Binkowski commented on the deal, calling it a "win-win" for all parties involved:
We are proud to have the Cougars locked in for our 2015 game. BYU played a significant role in the growth and success of the Holiday Bowl. Last year we began a new tradition when the Cougars played in the SDCCU Poinsettia Bowl for the first time. We have a long-standing and loyal relationship with the University and its loyal fans.
All of these moves show a strong commitment to football from the BYU athletic department, which recently announced its independent football status in 2011.
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