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Watching BYU games on ESPN influenced a young Sarkisian’s college choice

USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian, who grew up watching ESPN, will be playing host to Cal in an ESPN Thursday night college football telecast on Nov. 13 at 9 p.m. ET.

Steve Sarkisian during his time as a BYU quarterback. (Photo courtesy BYU Athletics)
Steve Sarkisian during his time as a BYU quarterback. (Photo courtesy BYU Athletics)

While every head coach knows the value of victory, each also understands ESPN’s Thursday college football series provides an opportunity to showcase his program to a national audience of fans and potential recruits.

Sarkisian probably is more aware of this than most. He will have a reminder tomorrow when BYU – where he was a standout quarterback from 1995-96 – plays host to Houston (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) and on Oct. 9 when BYU visits UCF (7:30 p.m.). BYU long has been identified with Thursday night football games, as the program has made 16 previous such appearances on ESPN networks.

Sarkisian was a high school baseball and football athlete when he saw ESPN’s coverage of BYU and the Cougars’ high-scoring offenses led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Ty Detmer. In the video above, Sarkisian spoke with Front Row and reflects on the role Thursday night football had on his college choice. He also recalls a 52-52 tie between BYU and San Diego State in a 1991 ESPN game.

Video produced by Mike Humes

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