BYU promised three significant announcements during their State of the Program segment of Media Day, and they didn't disappoint.
The first was a three game series agreement with USC of the Pac-12, with the first game being held in Provo in 2019, with return dates to LA scheduled for 2021 and 2023. The Trojans beat BYU in 2003 and 2004, and represents a significant "get" in an effort to beef up BYU's home schedule (and given the LDS and BYU-grad population in LA, the Cougars shouldn't have too much trouble finding folks to head to the game). Perhaps the most interesting nugget in the announcement is the fact that at least two of these games will be held in November. If USC can find space to play BYU in November, Utah's claims that they lacked the flexibility ring out a little empty.
Speaking of Utah, those hoping for more concrete information on the continuation of the series will be disappointed. BYU AD Tom Holmoe said that he was very secure that the break in the BYU/Utah series in 2014 and 2015 will be a "temporary one", and that they expect to have additional games scheduled.
The second significant announcement, like others had speculated, was BYU's new agreement with the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego for the 2015 season, and one additional season, provided BYU doesn't make the playoffs. The Poinsettia Bowl is currently aligned with the MWC. Holmoe said that the school is looking to "fill in the blanks" with other bowls, including for 2014.
Perhaps the single biggest announcement though, was BYU announcing they had extended Bronco Mendenhall's contract through 2016. Perhaps the new found security was a reason for Bronco looking substantially more relaxed than normal, even cracking multiple jokes. While some BYU partisans might cringe, the rationale for extending Bronco is clear. The school has a 74-29 (.718) record under his leadership, a 6-2 bowl record, and regular visits to the Top 25. This extension should help assuage concerns that Mendenhall may look at other programs, or with recruits concerned about stability.
Mendenhall indicated that bowl wins and flirtations with large greatness aren't enough. He reiterated that while he didn't want to commit to a timetable, a National Title is still the ultimate goal, and that he believes that that's still possible, along with Top 10, rather than Top 25 finishes.
ESPN's positive influence on the program was mentioned multiple times, particularly in regards to recruiting. Mendenhall dropped an interesting observation, that in part because of BYU, the program was becoming an attractive choice not just for LDS-athletes, but with "socially conservative" athletes in general. It's unclear just exactly how large that population pool might be, but any recruiting advantage is one BYU fans and coaches will happily welcome.
Fans won't just have ESPN on their TV as a way of getting to watch BYU. The school announced that BYUTV will be added to the Xbox 360, along with an Android App, and that BYU Radio on Sirius XM will launch a daily BYU sports show nationally this fall. BYU will be the only school in the country with such an arrangement.
In more personnel related news, Mendenhall indicated that Cody Hoffman will be 100% by fall camp, and that Taysom Hill is healthy (although Taysom would probably describe himself as 95% healthy). The staff plans to continue to help him with decision making to keep him upright, indicating that sliding now "not optional".