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BYU football notebook: Dreams of white Vegas bowl may come true

LAS VEGAS — So much for a warm-weather bowl site.

The weather outside was frightful Wednesday in Las Vegas with temperatures dipping into the mid-30s and snow falling most of the day. The storm was expected to drop 3 to 6 inches of snow on the valley floors across the Las Vegas area, and it prevented flights from landing at or leaving McCarran International Airport.

BYU held practice in the morning at Bishop Gorman High School, where snow fell lightly during the hourlong session.

"You don't expect to come to Las Vegas and get snow," said tight end Dennis Pitta. "But it's fun. We're pretty much used to it."

Later, Arizona practiced at UNLV's outdoor facilities and the snow fell even harder. Of course, the Wildcats aren't accustomed to inclement conditions like that.

"It feels like it's in the Midwest. It was a little bad out there, but we got a lot of good work in today," said Arizona coach Mike Stoops. "It looks like we're in for a cold night, so we might as well get used to it."

"It's new to (the players) to see this kind of weather," Stoops said. "If that's the way it is Saturday night, we should be acclimated to it."

Both teams are scheduled to practice again today. Snow was expected to continue through the night before tapering off Thursday morning.

For now, there is no snow in the forecast for Saturday's Las Vegas Bowl.

2009 SCHEDULE: Reports are surfacing of changes with BYU's football schedule for 2009, but those reports aren't coming from BYU.

On Tuesday, Louisiana-Monroe released next year's schedule, which listed a game against Arizona State. The Sun Devils would have to drop one of their non-conference games, and it could be their game with BYU because there's speculation that the Cougars could face Oklahoma in Dallas in the season-opener. If that game is scheduled, it would require some juggling of the dates of other games.

BYU is scheduled to visit ASU on Sept. 12, 2009.

On Wednesday, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe emphasized that no contracts have been signed yet and he declined comment until they are. He also acknowledged that the schedule being worked on right now could create a domino effect for multiple teams around the country.

"We're very close to solidifying a change. We could probably come out with our schedule in the next week," Holmoe said. "We're moving around our schedule to fit in some new challenges and some new opportunities. Now, if this thing doesn't come together, then we're going to have a schedule with our previously scheduled games."

Currently, Arizona State, Florida State and Utah State are BYU's non-conference opponents next season, with one more to add.

"This next year, I don't think you're going to look at our schedule and go, 'Wow, they're going to go undefeated.' But we could," Holmoe said. "Bronco intends to. The quest continues."

SIGNEE: Jordan Atkinson, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound linebacker at Diablo Community College in the Bay Area of California, will sign to play for the Cougars, according to his father, Dave. Atkinson will be a mid-year player who will enroll at BYU next semester in time for winter conditioning.

Dave Atkinson set multiple interception records at BYU for a season (9), game (3) and career (20). His grandfather, Chick Atkinson, was BYU's head football coach in the 1950s.

DOUBLEHEADER FOR ARIZONA: Before the Wildcat football team plays BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl, the Wildcat basketball team takes on UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center at 1 p.m., five hours before kickoff of the bowl game.


E-mail: jeffc@desnews.com