How does some football in Miami in December sound?
It's not Detroit or Boise, but as far as projected weather goes, it certainly doesn't sound like a bad place for a bowl game.
The BYU football team announced Tuesday that it has inked a deal with the brand-new Miami Beach Bowl to wrap up the 2014 season. If the Cougars reach bowl eligibility and aren't in the playoff or one of the other big bowls, then they will head across the country to compete against a team from the American Athletic Conference at Marlins Park in Miami.
"We are excited our football program has the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl against a team from the AAC," BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in the press release. "Marlins Park is a fantastic facility and we look forward to being in Miami in December."
The date, time and broadcast details will be announced later.
AAC commissioner Mike Aresco and Miami Beach Bowl executive director Carlos Padilla in their statement both emphasized how glad they were to have BYU on board.
"We are excited about this outstanding opportunity to have one of our teams play BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl," Aresco said in the release. "Our representative will have the opportunity to compete against a respected and accomplished BYU team with a storied history and national following, which will make the Miami Beach Bowl one of the most exciting postseason games in 2014. This matchup quickly establishes the game as one of the premier bowls in the coming years."
Padilla added: "We are delighted to have Brigham Young University on board for the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl. BYU is one of the most respected programs, with one of the most passionate fan bases, in the nation. With BYU and an American Athletic Conference team in our first game, we expect to have great interest and support from the Miami and Miami Beach communities and will deliver an exciting game for college football fans everywhere."
It will most likely be the second trip of the year to Florida for the Cougars (who play at Central Florida during the regular season) and the second straight bowl game played on a baseball field (since they played at AT&T Park in San Francisco in the Fight Hunger Bowl in 2013).
It was noted in the release that the agreement was "unless selected to participate in the college football playoff or one of the New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day bowl games."
Of course, BYU football fans would much rather be playing in the Orange Bowl, although that game has ties to the ACC, SEC, Big 10 and Notre Dame this year.
The drawback, of course, is the travel challenge it presents for local Cougar fans. The success of the team and its potential opponent will probably decide whether BYU supporters show up in droves or not.
Fan reaction on the CougarBlue Facebook page was mixed:
- "I'm happy that BYU has a bowl destination. Miami is far from most BYU fans (the west coast and mountain region)."
- "I love it but I am partial. The Marlins Stadium is in my ward boundaries. Great venue and Miami is a wonderful place regardless of what others might say."
- "Sure beats a bowl game in Boise!"
- "Couldn't they find something better?"
- "Who can afford to travel to Miami a few days before christmas. I would rather road trip to vegas or CA."
- "The thing that stinks is there is a good chance we will end up playing a team we already played this year."
Twitter responses echoed similar sentiments:
- "It is okay for me. Personally I have family in Fla (who) will go to (the) game but on a sidetone (I) wish they could ink a bigger bowl game." - @KahunaCougar
- "No one wants to watch BYU vs. SMU… Would rather play in New Mexico vs Big 5 opponent. Not attractive." - @BYUinsider
- "Lame." - @logan_reading
- "I like it from the standpoint of opening up recruiting in the southeast." - @Debit2Cash
- "Great location and east-coast game to expand reach. Way better than playing in NM or ID." - @Dominus_Thom
- "Feel the program is 'stuck.' Would love a Big 12 announcement." - @docsls
- "Absolutely need to make a statement win to recruit in the south!" - @rkhalsell
While any bowl arrangement that doesn't get the Cougars into a BCS-level contest will be disappointing to some fans, it's nice for the BYU football team to know that if it goes through some rough patches in 2014 it won't be hunting for an opportunity.
It doesn't appear that this game will greatly differ from most of the other second-tier bowls the Cougars have participated in for the last decade (Las Vegas Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, Armed Forces Bowl, Poinsettia Bowl and Fight Hunger Bowl).