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BYU Taking Big Payday To Play Oregon At Autzen Stadium

Sep 13, 2022, 2:43 PM | Updated: 2:57 pm
BYU Oregon, Autzen Stadium...
BYU/Oregon will take place at Autzen Stadium on September 17, 2022. It's the first meeting in Eugene between the two schools since 1990. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – It’s not often BYU football takes on a “money game,” but Saturday’s tilt against No. 25 Oregon is one of those rare instances.

For the first time since 2015, BYU is playing a true road game against an opponent that won’t be making any return visits to Provo.

Oregon won’t roll through Provo anytime soon. So instead of a return visit to Provo, the Ducks are paying No. 12 BYU $1.1 million. That’s according to a game contract obtained by the FOIA directory from Matt Brown’s Extra Points.

Saturday will be the first regular-season meeting between these two schools since 1990. That 1990 game saw No. 4 BYU, led by Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer, lose to the Ducks in a rowdy Autzen.

BYU will receive $1.1 million for Oregon game

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe got the one-off game with the Ducks in 2015.

When the game was announced seven years ago, Holmoe said, “Oregon had an opening in its 2022 schedule, and the circumstance was right for BYU. We hope to develop a long-term relationship with Oregon.”

The long-term relationship hasn’t materialized as BYU and Oregon haven’t scheduled any other games in future years. That will be even more of a challenge when BYU moves into the Big 12 Conference in 2023.

But it’s an interesting backdrop for one of the best games on the week three college football slate.

BYU’s history of playing in “money games” during Independence

With money games, power conference schools are paying universities that they know will provide an automatic victory. That’s not the case in this one, as it is practically a toss-up with a slight edge going in favor of the Ducks by prognosticators.

The last time BYU made a true road visit for a money game was in 2015 against Michigan. In that game, the Wolverines annihilated BYU 31-0. But, at least BYU cashed a check of $1.3 million.

Three weeks before that, BYU had another big payday from a Big Ten team. That was against Nebraska. We all know what happened in that one. Quarterback Tanner Mangum threw a ball into the wind and down to the goal line, with wide receiver Mitch Mathews coming up with the game-winning touchdown as time expired.

So not only did BYU hand Nebraska a devastating loss, but they also walked out of Lincoln with a $1 million payday from the Huskers.

BYU taking on money games in true road venues is not common. Typically, the home-and-home series has always been BYU’s goal, with 2-for-1s also being considered depending on the opponent. But a big payday was hard to turn down when operating as an FBS Independent.

Going forward, with BYU moving into the Big 12 Conference, money games become a thing of the past for the Cougars. Instead, BYU will pay non-conference opponents to come to Provo as they did in 2020 amidst the COVID season and for Sam Houston State to open next year’s 2023 schedule.

No. 12 BYU versus No. 25 Oregon kicks off on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on FOX and KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM).

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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