The reason why BYU was able to add Virginia to its 2013 football schedule the Cougars will open the season Aug. 31 in Charlottesville is because Washington State wanted out of a contracted game next year, coach Bronco Mendenhall said Wednesday after the Cougars practiced. Wazzu pulled out even though the game was supposed to be played in Pullman. BYU owes WSU a game because the red Cougars played in Provo in September. "Well, that's really up to them," Mendenhall said when I asked him why WSU would give up a home game. "They chose to not want the game. So I don't know if we go back there or not."
Thursday afternoon, WSU athletic director Bill Moos confirmed that WSU wanted out of the BYU game in 2013 to achieve "better scheduling balance" and said WSU has replaced BYU with Southern Utah University.
Moos said Washington State will play host to BYU in 2019.
Mendenhall said BYU is "really excited" to play at Michigan in 2015 and that school officials have been working on scheduling Big Blue for quite some time. As far as the home-and-home deal with Virginia the Cavaliers play in Provo on Sept. 20, 2014 Mendenhall said the Cougars jumped at the opportunity. "Virginia was the result of Washington State wanting out of a contract. So the ACC needs games. It is a nice opportunity there. I like the matchup. Virginia has a really strong academic reputation, and they play good football. It's a home-and-home, so I like it a lot." Mendenhall will coach his 100th game on Saturday when the Cougars play host to 1-8 Idaho at 8:15 p.m. MST, but he didn't know that milestone was approaching until receiving an email about it last week. "It surprised me. I didn't know I would make it to 100, so yeah, it seems like a long time," he said. Asked the odds on whether he will make it to 200 games, Mendenhall replied: "Slim." The coach said that senior offensive lineman Braden Hansen is probably a week away from returning to action after aggravating a groin injury against Notre Dame. He said sophomore offensive lineman Brock Stringham, who has been out with Tonsillitis, is also probably a week away. However, running back Adam Hine, who has battled a knee injury most of the season, is finally practicing full-tilt this week and could suit up on Saturday. "I don't know what his role might be yet, but it was fun to see him running around. He made a few guys miss, which was good. ... First full week back. There's kind of been toes-in-the-water, kinda testing it. But this was different," Mendenhall said. Mendenhall said he didn't know weather conditions for Saturday's game will be cold and possibly snowy until his wife, Holly, mentioned it to him earlier this week. "It doesn't matter to me. We are going to play. I mean, I am usually in bed at 8. So if I am going to be up, we might as well play a game," he said, only half-joking. "...I think it is just kind of what you make it. If you don't play well, that will be a reason. If you do, the other team will have a reason. You just play. So again, I didn't know what it was. Holly told me, I think because she had family traveling because of our game. It shows you where her priorities are." Finally, Mendenhall said he applauds the fans who will brave the late start and cold temperatures to watch the Cougars play their final home game of 2012. "Oh yeah. I think the late start, and as cold as it will be, I think the ones who are Cougar blue deep in their hearts are the ones that will be there, and I will applaud them," he said.