BYU intends to play in power conference “in the near future”

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Time to fire up the BYU power conference discussions. During a media roundtable today, BYU athletics director Tom Holmoe said it was BYU’s intention to be playing as a member of a power conference “some time in the near future.”

BYU may have the intent of playing in a power conference as the disparity between power conferences and non-power conferences continues to grow. BYU is not a member of any conference in football, but they are not in the same boat as Notre Dame as the balance of power continues to tilt. When BYU made the decision to abandon the Mountain West Conference and pursue football independence during the realignment craziness of a few years ago, there seemed to be some promise about stability as a football independent. But as so often happens, BYU was unable to predict the emergence of autonomy and the power conferences grabbing an even larger slice of the pie. This has resulted in BYU feeling even more pressure to secure some level of stability as a football program that few could have pictured developing a few years ago when it seemed things were settling.

“I don’t think we can do it indefinitely,” Holmoe said when asked about the ability to stay competitive as power conferences adopt their own parameters.

The problem is BYU may not have anywhere to go. The Pac-12 is unlikely to expand beyond its current membership and already has Utah covered with BYU rival Utah. The Big 12 would make the most sense, geographically at least, but the conference has stood firm on the idea of not looking to expand. Also, the Big 12 has suggested if it expands, it would look east (think Cincinnati, UCF). Without the Big 12 providing a landing spot, BYU’s most likely scenario may end up crawling back to the Mountain West Conference, but this is not considered a power conference. BYU is going to have to convince the Big 12 to accept them, and we have been down this road so many times to know what the chances are of this happening. If anything, the Big 12 may have to work out a Notre Dame-ACC sort of partnership, which seems to have much more of a realistic chance of happening if anything.

Speaking of Notre Dame, Holmoe said it is possible the Irish will not end up making a return trip to Provo as part of the previously arranged scheduling agreement. FBSchedules.com shows there are four future games between BYU and Notre Dame that have yet to be placed firmly on the future schedules. Each school is supposed to get two home games, although with Notre Dame making room for ACC opponents and other annual rivalry games, and the need to play a certain number of home games in addition to a neutral site game in an NFL venue most years, the possibility of playing a game in Provo was likely to be limited for Notre Dame. Notre Dame is currently yon the hook for one game in Provo under previous arrangements, but Holmoe said Notre Dame could pay a buyout for the game.

Helmet sticker to Jay Drew of The Salt Lake City Tribune for the Holmoe quotes.

Former Navy coach Niumatalolo joins UCLA staff

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LOS ANGELES – Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo is joining UCLA’s coaching staff as director of leadership.

The school said in an announcement Friday that Niumatalolo will serve as an advisor to the Bruins’ football staff and players.

Niumatalolo led Navy for 15 years and was the winningest coach in school history at 109-83. The Midshipmen, however, finished with losing records the past three seasons, including 4-8 the past two.

Navy played in 10 bowl games under Niumatalolo. He also was the only coach to win his first eight games in the storied Army-Navy rivalry.

Troy, Jon Sumrall agree to new 4-year contract through 2026

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TROY, Ala. ⁠— Jon Sumrall agreed to a new four-year contract as Troy’s coach after leading the Trojans to a Sun Belt Conference championship and national ranking in his debut season.

The school announced the deal, which runs through 2026, but didn’t release details.

The Trojans went 12-2 and won their final 11 games, second only to national champion Georgia, including the league championship game and the Cure Bowl against UTSA. For the first time, they finished a season ranked, ending up 19th in The Associated Press Top 25.

“When we appointed Coach Sumrall in December 2021, we challenged him to return Troy football to the top of the Sun Belt Conference,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “It didn’t take long, as the 2022 season was the best in our FBS history.”

Troy held all 14 of its opponents to under their season average in scoring, beating UTSA 18-12. The Trojans beat Coastal Carolina 45-26 in the Sun Belt title game.

“Last year was an amazing accomplishment for everyone associated with Troy football and was the product of relentless effort from our players and staff, athletic administration and university leaders,” Sumrall said.