- Ivan Maisel, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Since BYU became an independent for the 2011 season, the questions hanging over the Cougars have been whether athletic director Tom Holmoe would be a) able and b) willing to schedule games worthy of a national independent. Good news: home-and-homes with Virginia (announced Monday), Notre Dame, Texas, and Wisconsin, and a long-term deal with Boise State. Bad news: the Holy War against Utah, played annually since 1946, won’t be played in 2014-15. Utah, playing Michigan those two years, begged out.
2. Coaches at schools that need to nurture fans will go to lengths that coaches at established programs would never consider. Southern Miss head coach Todd Monken, in his first spring in Hattiesburg, will keep the Golden Eagles’ practices open, as they have been before. But fans will have to show an ID to get in, and cameras, cell phones and -- old school -- note pads aren’t permitted. Pull one out and you’ll be thrown out. It seems draconian. But if that’s what it takes for Monken to open practice, I’m willing to see how it works.
3. The Paul W. Bryant Museum’s plans to celebrate the legendary Alabama coach’s centennial this year include a documentary and a book. However, neither the calendar nor the Southeastern Conference schedule provides much help. Bryant’s 100th birthday, Sept. 11, falls on a Wednesday. Alabama plays Kentucky and Texas A&M this season, where Bryant served as head coach for eight and five seasons, respectively. But neither game is in Tuscaloosa. Alabama is off on Sept. 7, and plays at A&M on Sept. 14. Maybe the Aggies will offer to help?
2dSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
3dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney