LARAMIE, Wyo. — In order to peck out BYU's sixth win of the season and open the door to postseason play, the Cougars will have to turn aside an emotional battle from the University of Wyoming and 19 seniors playing their last home game in War Memorial Stadium today.
BYU (5-4, 4-2) and Wyoming (4-5, 2-4) kick off today at 4 p.m.
Historically, these two rivals, meeting for the 72nd time, have had spirited battles. The Cougars my be the most-hated rival on the planet for Wyoming faithful, and BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall, who is making his Laramie debut as a head coach, said he knows what is coming.
When asked early this week how his experience coaching BYU in Laramie compared to when he coached with New Mexico, Mendenhall said there was no comparison at all.
"There is no comparison. Every place I've been with BYU is different than at New Mexico," Mendenhall said. "The expectation is different. How BYU will play and what the tradition is carries with us. Regardless of the recent history, that's how we're viewed.
"I've learned a lot, but it's become very apparent wherever we go that we receive a team's best performance. I think San Diego State was an indication of that. I thought they played exceptionally on that night. It doesn't reflect our preparation. We prepare diligently the entire year, and because we're a big game for a team doesn't mean now that we prepare more diligently. We do that all the time and we know that we'll just be the next one of a team that will play very hard and very well against us. "
A recent Sports Illustrated survey of fans in each state had Wyoming faithful list BYU as the most hated team and LaVell Edwards as the second-most hated person behind former Utah coach Rick Majerus. You couldn't find a place on earth Edwards, who married a Wyoming girl, would make such a list — except here.
The Cowboys, who started the season 4-1 with a loss at Florida, have since gone on a four-game losing streak, most of that because of turnovers, 17 of them, during that span. The Cowboys, through their struggles in the losing streak, are capable of striking at the Cougars, who own a four-game league win streak dating back to a trip to New Mexico.
Wyoming coach Joe Glenn told Wyoming boosters he is very aware of the need to beat rivals — BYU and Colorado State. The Cowboys already lost to CSU and that puts a premium on today's game with BYU to deliver a rival win.
A victory over the Cougars could keep Wyoming's bowl hopes alive.
According to the Casper Star Tribune, Glenn referenced incidents at CSU and BYU that bugged him. He made a general reference to a "private space" incident at BYU a year ago that involved his family. "It was a little bit weird to be in their stadium last year," Glenn said. "They can put it on you a little bit."
Glenn was also quoted as saying: "I know how the people feel. They want to beat that blue team over in Provo, and we want to do everything we can to appease them."
Cougs on the air
BYU (5-4, 4-2) at Wyoming (4-5, 2-4)
Today, 4 p.m.
War Memorial Stadium
TV: Ch. 5
Radio: 1160AM, 102.7FM