College football season is nearly here. We are less than a month away from college football games being played and now a month away from BYU kicking off their 2021 season against Arizona at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Obviously, the anticipation is high. BYU is coming off one of their best seasons in program history, finishing 11-1 and 11th in the final AP poll.
Since then, Jeff Grimes left his post as offensive coordinator to take the same role at Baylor. The Cougars replaced him with former passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick.
As the page turns to a new season, there is plenty to look forward to. Let’s look at three reasons to be excited for the upcoming spectacle in Las Vegas.
Christening of new uniforms
In case you hadn’t heard, BYU unveiled a set of new uniforms, mainly featuring monochrome royal or navy helmets. With 26 total combinations at their disposal, the fans are excited for all the possibilities this season. It marks the first time since 2004 that the Cougars will don a blue lid of any sort.
The Cougars announced on Tuesday evening that they selected the uniform set for the upcoming matchup in Las Vegas. They opted for a big fan favorite- all royal everything.
I ranked these beauties as the second-best combination BYU has in the arsenal, with their all-white with royal trim kit as No. 1 in my book. This uniform combination excited fans immediately upon its release in the early spring. The royal helmet with pearly white stripes down the middle is a fantastic look. The Cougars will stick out when they take the field on a primetime stage in an NFL venue against the navy and red Arizona Wildcats. Cougar fans will likely show up in droves donning the royal as well.
Wilson set the world ablaze last season at BYU. After throwing for 3,692 yards, 33 touchdowns and rushing for 10 more, Wilson finished eighth in Heisman votes and was selected second overall by the Jets.
He left as the school’s all-time best quarterback in regard to passer rating and completion percentage.
Now Kalani Sitake and his staff have the daunting task of replacing one of the most prolific passers in BYU history. However, the Cougars have a plethora of solid options at signal caller.
Fall camp will decide who takes the first snap of the 2021 season in Vegas. The race is between Baylor Romney, Jaren Hall, and Jacob Conover.
Both Hall and Romney have started games for BYU before. Hall started against South Florida and Utah State in 2019, before going down with an injury. Romney led the Cougars to victory against the Aggies after Hall left the game. He then engineered a big win over No. 19-ranked Boise State.
Conover turned down an offer from Alabama to come to Provo and has as much talent as anyone on the roster.
Any one of these three could make the start against Arizona come Week 1.
Will this be the largest gathering of BYU fans outside of Utah?
Most expect Allegiant Stadium to be at full capacity when the Cougars and Wildcats take the field on September 4. The stadium can hold up to 65,000 spectators. BYU sold out of its allotted 12,000 tickets in less than three hours when tickets were released. As of May, over 41,000 tickets had already been purchased. This very well could be a sellout at the home of the Las Vegas Raiders.
This begs the question — could this be the largest gathering of BYU fans outside of the state of Utah? The question calls to mind the game against Arizona in 2016, at what was then University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the Arizona Cardinals and the Fiesta Bowl. According to reports, some 30,000 Cougar fans descended upon the desert for Kalani Sitake’s inaugural game as head coach.
Can this contest break that record? Given that it is a new stadium right near The Strip in Las Vegas, a place that is reachable by car for tens of thousands of BYU fans in Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California, it’s certainly possible.
See you there.