Nov. 11, 1999
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -
By Robert Gagliardi, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle
Wyoming's football rivalry with Brigham Young is surpassed onlyby the Border War between UW and Colorado State.
But unlike the UW-CSU rivalry, UW and BYU haven't played each other everyseason in recent years.
Now that the Cowboys and Cougars will play on a yearly basis in the newMountain West Conference, that rivalry will soon again challenge for topbilling among the UW faithful.
Saturday marks the first time since 1992 BYU will play UW at War MemorialStadium. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. The game will be televised by SportsWest, andseen in Cheyenne on KTWO-TV, channel 8.
Fans will look back and see Saturday's game as the most important home gameof War Memorial Stadium's 50th birthday.
However, only if the Pokes win will they look at the game as the best.Wyoming enters the game tied for fourth place in the MWC with a 5-3 overallmark and 2-2 conference record. A win, and the Cowboys are still alive for abowl berth and a shot at the inaugural MWC title. A loss, and the Pokes willlikely be watching the college bowl season from home.
Like it did most of the time in the WAC, BYU is atop the conferencestandings. The Cougars have already secured no worse than a first-place tiein the MWC. The Cougars enter the game 8-1 overall, 5-0 in the MWC andranked No. 15 in the country. A win over UW and BYU win the MWC titleoutright.
?It's going to be nice to play them again, and it's a make-or-break game forus,? said UW senior receiver Wendell Montgomery. ?Now that the old rivalryis back, it?s a good feeling to play them especially at home.?
The two teams haven?t played since the Western Athletic Conference titlegame in 1996. In that game, BYU won 28-25 in overtime and went on to a 14-1season a national ranking of No. 5.
Wyoming finished 10-2 that season, but failed to qualify for a bowl game.A handful of UW players this season were freshmen in 1996, and vividlyremember what it was like playing the Cougars.
?BYU's doing real well this season, and I think it will be a good matchup,?UW senior receiver Kofi Shuck said. ?Everybody is talking about them. Lasttime we played them, it was a good game, and I remember it like it wasyesterday.
?Hopefully, it will be a good game like in 1996, but this time we come outon top.?
Wyoming hasn't enjoyed a lot of success against BYU in recent years. TheCowboy have dropped six straight to the Cougars, including two straight inLaramie.
The last time the Pokes beat the Cougars was in 1988. In the first-evernight game at The War, UW posted a 24-14 win over BYU in front of an ESPNnationally televised audience.
?I'm anxious to get that rivalry back,? said Randy Welniak, ExecutiveDirector of the UW Cowboy Joe Club UW's starting quarterback in 1988. ?Thereis something special about playing BYU.?