BYU "Released" From BCS Bowl Consideration

PROVO -- BYU coaches and players today learned a 12-0 season means very little in the eyes of the Bowl Championship Series committee. According to Mountain West Conference commissioner, Craig Thompson, the BCS officially released BYU from bowl consideration.

"I think it's unfair for the BCS to literally pull the rug from under our student-athletes right before one of the most important games of the season," BYU athletic director Val Hale said. "I don't think it would have hurt the BCS to wait another week before making such an announcement. I think they owe our coaches and student-athletes an apology for their insensitivity regarding this matter."

Fresh off a 41-38 win at Mississippi State on Saturday -- scoring more points against the Bulldogs by a non-SEC opponent on their home field since 1993 -- the Cougars were disappointed to learn their undefeated season, as well as Saturday's game at Hawai'i (8-3) would have no impact on the BCS selection committee. They were equally disappointed to learn the committee would make such an announcement before the Cougars' season had even concluded.

"It really aggravates me," BYU head coach Gary Crowton said. "Obviously I'm disappointed for our team. They have done everything they have been asked to do, yet have been denied a great opportunity, both individually and from a team aspect. From a motivational and timing standpoint, I think it's really not a very fair way to do it. It's almost like they (BCS) want to demoralize us to the point where we don't win and then it takes the pressure off them."

The Cougars, who have won 14 straight games, dating back to last season, have oft been criticized for playing a weak schedule. Interestingly, BYU is the only team in the top-12 BCS rankings to play on the road seven times during the season, including two non-league games against teams from a BCS conference.

"I don't care what anyone says," Crowton said. "Anyone who has ever played this game knows it is tough to go undefeated. So far, we have managed to do that. It doesn't matter who you play, it is tough and I take my hat off to this team for staying focused, going out there and taking care of business in every game we have played this season. We still have one more regular-season game left, and we'll have to focus in on Hawai'i."

The Cougars are the only 12-0 team in the country and have posted more road wins (6) than any other team in the country. Additionally, two other teams ahead of BYU in the BCS rankings played opponents whose combined records are below .500, including Maryland (57-67; .456) and Illinois (61-62; .496).

"They can say what they want about our schedule," Hale said. "The fact is that if we go 13-0, we belong at their party and they know it."

The Cougars lead the nation in total offense, averaging 537.08 yards per game. The Cougars are ranked as the nation's top-scoring team, posting an average 46.9 points per contest. The BYU offense is led by not one, but two Heisman Trophy candidates in Brandon Doman and Luke Staley. Staley is also a Doak Walker Award finalist and has been cited as a first-team All-American by as many as five different publications and organizations.

Following Saturday's regular-season finale at Hawai'i (8-3), the Cougars will return to Provo to begin preparations for a Dec. 31 matchup against Louisville (10-3) at the Liberty Bowl.

"We're looking forward to playing Louisville," Hale added. "We think it will be the most entertaining and competitive bowl game of the year, including many of the BCS games. We encourage our fans across the country to make plans to attend the Liberty Bowl and support this great team."

Hale said fans can purchase their tickets through the BYU ticket office. Supporters can contact the BYU ticket office by calling (801) 378-BYU1, (800) 322-BYU1. Fans are also able to purchase tickets for the 43rd annual Liberty Bowl on-line at http://www.byutickets.com.

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