Top UW-BYU basketball games

There isn’t much talk that Wednesday likely will be the last Wyoming-BYU men’s basketball game in Laramie, or at least for quite a while.

BYU moves to the West Coast Conference next season in hoops and most other sports, and will be an independent in football.

UW’s current basketball struggles has most to do with such little fanfare for Wednesday’s game. At 8-13 overall, 1-6 in the MWC and coming off a 39-point loss at No. 7 San Diego State last Saturday, most wonder how bad it will be Wednesday against No. 8 BYU.

The Cowboys have lost 11 straight to the Cougars dating back to 2005. The average margin of victory during that time for BYU has been about 13 points, and 17.5 points in the last five.

Good riddance if this is the last time UW sees BYU in Laramie, right?

But what is your favorite UW-BYU men’s basketball game or memory?

Even though I was only 11 years old at the time, my favorite was in 1982 when UW won at BYU 27-25.That win went a long way to helping the Cowboys get to the NCAA Tournament that year.

Other good ones include the last time UW swept BYU in the regular season, which was in 2005.

Steve McClain’s last game as UW’s coach was a loss to BYU in the semifinals of the MWC tournament in 2007. Not a favorite memory, but a memorable one.

Would love to hear yours.

See Wednesday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.comfor more on Wednesday’s game, including a look at what people are saying about BYU senior guard Jimmer Fredette, a candidate for Player of the Year in the country. Is he the best player to have played in the Arena-Auditorium? Would love to know your thoughts on that.

Also, the UW and BYU women play for first place in the MWC Wednesday. And, Wednesday is signing day for UW football. Look for a story on two of UW’s newest players from Germany in Wednesday’s papers. Also join me at 4 p.m. Wednesday for a live chat about the signing class and anything else UW related. See the top of this blog for the direct link.

McCoy looks good as punter and kicker

For the last few weeks junior Austin McCoy has been pulling double-duty as Wyoming’s punter and kicker. He will handle the place-kicking chores in Saturday’s season opener with Southern Utah because sophomore Ian Watts will serve a one-game suspension for violating team rules.

During fall camp when McCoy was doing both, he was inconsistent at both. Wednesday at practice he looked sharp. He made a 46-yard field-goal near the end of practice, and also boomed a 70-yard punt from his own end zone. He also did a good job of getting hang time on his punts on a short field.

“He’s kicking a lot better and getting good height on the ball,” coach Dave Christensen said. “We’re not going to ask him to kick a lot of 50-yard field goals, but he’s certainly good from the 30-yard line and in. He’s done a nice job. … He’s punted well and has been consistent there.”

McCoy did both at the start of last season. He was 4 of 6 in field goals with a long of 25. He also made 3 of 4 field goals. He averaged 43.3 yards per punt, which was nearly five yards better than his average in 2008 as a freshman.

Some other thoughts and observations from Wednesday’s practice:

–Junior Bryson Studnicka has been moved from defensive end to fullback.

–UW lists nine receivers among the four position spots on this week’s depth chart, and its likely all nine will play against Southern Utah based on the rotations in practice.

–True freshmen quarterbacks Sam Stratton and Austin Woodward shared time as the scout team quarterback this week, as has true freshman receiver Drew Martinez. Woodward, a walk-on from Sheridan, is listed as the backup punter to McCoy.

–UW had five running backs practice today, only four will be available for the opener and only one — sophomore Alvester Alexander — has any game experience.

–Shane Sullivan, a walk-on true freshman receiver from Orange, Calif., broke his leg early in fall camp and has been on crutches and in a cast since. But he still goes to every practice and meeting. He told me the leg feels pretty good and hopes to be out of the cast soon.

–Christensen on BYU leaving the Mountain West Conference: “It hasn’t changed my thought process any. We’ve got to get ready for Southern Utah. I have no control over it and I don’t spend a lot of time on things I don’t have control over.”

Join me at 3 p.m. Thursday for a live chat about UW football, anything UW sports related and even the latest happenings in the MWC. Here is the link

You also can go to this blog and scroll down until you see it.

And, be sure to join me at 6:30 p.m. Saturday for the first live blog of the year for the season-opener against Southern Utah. Here is that link

See Thursday’s Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Laramie Boomerang www.laramieboomerang.comfor a story on UW junior offensive guard John Hutchins and how he doesn’t plan to let another opportunity to start for the Cowboys slip away. Also see a reaction story from other UW coaches on BYU’s departure from the MWC.

Speaking of that, here is a good story by Frank Schawb of the Colorado Springs Gazette on that as he talked to MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson Wednesday

Sunday’s stories

It’s game week mode for everyone in the MWC now. Here are some interesting stories I found:–run-defense-faces-big-challenge-from-badgers–clay-101744868.html

Colorado, Utah not good enough for Pac-10?

Check out this article from the San Francisco Examiner

And many of you may have heard or seen this, but here’s how the BYU to the WAC deal fell through. … at least to this point. Still no official news. But this is an interesting read.

Thursday’s stories

Air Force has some nice things planned for its Sept. 11 home game with Brigham Young, and is BYU staying in the Mountain West?–clausen-still-doing-battle-101544943.html

BYU, WAC certainly were talking

Interesting story by the Deseret News out of Salt Lake City on BYU’s possible move to being an independent in football and to the WAC in other sports. From the sounds of this story, BYU may stay in the MWC. What do you think?

And here’s a story on BYU and TV

Some other stories around the MWC:

Hope you will join me tomorrow afternoon for a live blog during Wyoming’s fourth and final scrimmage of fall camp. We will start around 3:30 p.m. Here is the link

Take that, BYU

Denver Post college football writer John Henderson gives his take on BYU’s proposed move to become an independent in football.

As of now, no news on what BYU will do. As MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson said last week, the Cougars are still members of the MWC.

As for Wyoming, it’s the first day of classes today. No practice and there will be only a light practice Tuesday prior to Wednesday’s scrimmage at 3:30 p.m. I will live blog from it. Check back for a link to the blog.

Sunday stories

News and notes from around the Mountain West. Like Wyoming, several teams had scrimmages Saturday.

Report: BYU to leave MWC

The rumors starting flying last night, and not long ago The Salt Lake Tribune reported that BYU is leaving the MWC to go independent in football and to the WAC in other sports.

Here is the link to the story

Wyoming athletics director Tom Burman offered no comment when asked about his earlier in the day. MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson is traveling right now has has meetings scheduled. MWC Associate Commissioner for Communications Javan Hedlund referred all questions to Thompson. My request to Thompson, and dozens of others, were forwarded on to him.

Initial thoughts on this:

–Big blow to the MWC losing two of its three big boys in Utah and BYU. Like BYU or not (and I know Wyoming fans don’t like them) the MWC needs BYU.

–Could this move prompt Boise State to re-join the WAC, and will TCU look to leave, too? If these two bail, is the MWC a relevant college conference in anything, let alone football? I don’t think so.

–BYU, I think, has ideas of being an independent like Notre Dame in terms of gaining BCS access. BYU is not Notre Dame and I don’t think the same exceptions for BCS including for Notre Dame (top eight or nine in the BCS with at least nine wins) would get them into a BCS bowl game.

–Utah leaving for the Pac-10, unhappy with the MWC’s TV deal, BCS uncertainty in the MWC and no Big 12 invite are all reasons for BYU to do this. And, there is talk about BYU starting its own HD TV network. It has the equipment and rescources. Kind of what Texas has thrown around.

–Wyoming loses two rivals that have pretty much had their way with it in recent years. But a lot of tradition and history will go away, too. But in this day and age, that means nothing.