BYU, AAC make it official: Cougars in Miami Beach Bowl if eligible
BYU and the American Athletic Conference (AAC) made it official on Tuesday: If they are bowl eligible this coming football season, the Cougars will play in the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl in December at Marlins Park in Miami. The AAC owns and administers the Miami Beach Bowl and will pit the Cougars against one of its member institutions. That BYU was headed to the Miami Bowl was first reported by ESPN's Brett McMurphy on Monday. "We are excited our football program has the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Miami Beach Bowl against a team from the AAC," BYU AD Tom Holmoe said in a school news release on Tuesday. "Marlins Park is a fantastic facility and we look forward to being in Miami in December." The exact day in December that the bowl game will be played on was not announced Tuesday, but it will likely be a few days before Christmas, probably Dec. 22 (a Monday) or Dec. 23 (a Tuesday). My hunch is that the Cougars would like the game to be played on the Dec. 23 because they don't practice on Sundays.Actually, Saturday, Dec. 20 would probably be more optimal, but preparations and practices for that early of a game could interfere with final exams. In addition to the Miami Beach Bowl matchup, the Cougars will play three other AAC teams this season: UConn on Aug. 29, Houston on Sept. 11 and Central Florida on Oct. 9. AAC commissioner Mike Aresco appeared on the BYU Sports Nation radio show Tuesday morning and said that BYU is in talks with another AAC school, Tulane, about a future football series. "We are excited about this outstanding opportunity to have one of our teams play BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl," Aresco said in a news 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." Marlins Park seats 34,000 for football and is the home of MLB's Miami Marlins. The date will be announced at a later time, officials said, along with broadcast information and kickoff time.