PROVO -- Add Syracuse to the list of future football opponents for BYU.
Athletic director Rondo Fehlberg confirmed that a contract for a home-and-home series between the schools was signed earlier this week.The first game is set for Sept. 30, 2000, at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, while the second meeting is slated for Aug. 31, 2002, at Cougar Stadium.
"We're delighted to play games against quality opponents who represent quality institutions," said Fehlberg, who credits ESPN for facilitating the deal.
The network's involvement, he adds, pretty much ensures that both contests will be televised by ESPN or one of its affiliated entities.
"We're very excited," said BYU offensive coordinator Norm Chow, whose daughter, Maile, recently earned her master's degree from Syracuse. "That's a very first-class organization."
Though he didn't play a role in getting the Cougars and Orangemen together, Chow got to know Syracuse's coaching staff during visits to New York. He even picked up a blocking scheme the Cougars have adopted during discussions with head coach Paul Pasqualoni and his assistants.
Chow, who is friends with Orangemen associate head coach George DeLeone, said Pasqualoni and BYU boss LaVell Edwards share a mutual respect for each other.
Such feelings between the programs led to negotiations that Fehlberg termed as enjoyable. He and Syracuse counterpart Jake Crouthamel have spoken for years about establishing a football series. An agreement was finally reached when ESPN got involved and schedules permitted.
BYU had an opening to fill when Army was forced to bow out of a home-and-home agreement when it joined the Big East Conference. Fehlberg said the Cougars scheduled the meetings because they were eager to play a game in the Northeast. And in the end, that's exactly what BYU got.
The addition of Syracuse rounds out the Cougars' opponents in 2000. Besides Mountain West Conference games against Air Force, Colorado State, Nevada-Las Vegas, New Mexico, San Diego State, Utah and Wyoming, BYU will face Mississippi State, Virginia and Utah State. This fall, non-conference foes include Washington, Virginia, California and USU.
Future agreements will pit the Cougars against the likes of Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Stanford, UCLA and USC. Negotiations have also taken place with Michigan.