PROVO -- A five-game home schedule, including important Mountain West Conference games against Air Force, Colorado State and Utah, as well as seven road games, featuring SEC powerhouse Mississippi State, PAC-10 foe Cal and long-time rival Hawai'i highlight the BYU 2001 Football schedule, which was released today by the Mountain West Conference and BYU athletic director Val Hale.
"Because of prior obligations, we knew going in to the scheduling process we would be on the road more than we would be able to play at home," Hale said. "Obviously playing five games at home isn't the ideal situation, but given the circumstances, we are very pleased with the schedule. We will play some exciting non-conference opponents at home, as well as important Mountain West games. We will also have the opportunity to play some tough games on the road, including games at Cal and Mississippi State. We're also excited about going to Hawai'i and renewing that rivalry."
BYU go head-to-head against four teams which posted a combined 4-0 record in bowl games during the 2000 season. MWC Champion Colorado State, which finished the season 10-2, knocked off Louisville in the Liberty Bowl, while UNLV (8-5) defeated Arkansas in the Las Vegas Bowl. Air Force (9-3) flew away with a victory over Fresno State at the Silicon Valley Bowl, while Mississippi State edged Texas A&M at the Independence Bowl.
"We're all looking forward to this year's schedule," BYU head coach Gary Crowton said. "We'll have to play well on the road to win our conference but I think it's a challenge that our coaches and players are excited about. Our non-conference schedule is a good mix of teams and playing styles."
For the first time since Oct. 17, 1998, the Cougars will travel to Hawai'i on Dec. 1 to meet up with an old rival, Hawai'i. The BYU-Hawai'i rivalry spans over 25 years, dating back to the first meeting on Sept. 14, 1974 in Honolulu. The Cougars have won 18 of the past 25 meetings, including the last game between the two teams on Oct. 17, 1998 in Honolulu -- a 31-9 BYU victory. Hawai'i last defeated BYU on Sept. 26, 1992 at Aloha Stadium, 36-32.
"I think it's the right time for BYU to be playing Hawaii again," Crowton added. "I know that it has been a natural rivalry for both schools in the past and it will be an exciting game for the fans and the players. We are really focusing on recruiting well from Hawaii so it's a good time for us to be playing there again."