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Arizona’s three-game football series with BYU to begin in Glendale

Mike Stoops

Coach Mike Stoops and linebacker Ronnie Palmer celebrate beating BYU in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats and BYU announced a three-game series in football, with the first game being held at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale in 2016.

Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne often his stated his desire to hold a neutral-site game in the Phoenix area, and now it’s a reality as the teams will play in the home of the Arizona Cardinals.

“I think it’s an important area for our fan base,” Byrne said on a Google+ hangout featuring representatives of both schools.

“We have a lot of alums up there. It’s our second-largest alumni base. It’s also an area in all of our sports, especially in football, that we recruit a lot to.

“I know Coach Rodriguez, from the time he came to the University of Arizona, said our No. 1 recruiting priority is the state of Arizona, and with the population base up there in Maricopa County, this will send a great message to our fans, to our recruits, to future regular students, the importance of that market for us.”

With a strong BYU following in the Phoenix area, the game will be a draw on both sides.

“It’s a great game for us,” said BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall. “The regional nature of the game makes complete sense.”

The next game in the series will be held in Tucson in 2018, with the Cats traveling to Provo for a game in 2020.

BYU is an independent in football.

Arizona has a 12-9-1 edge in the series, which began in 1936. The teams last played in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl, when the Wildcats beat the 17th-ranked Cougars 31-21 to finish 8-5.

Here is a look at Arizona’s future non-conference schedules:

UNLV, at Texas-San Antonio, Nevada

Texas-San Antonio, at Nevada

Grambling State, BYU (Glendale)

UTEP (site TBA)

BYU, UTEP (site TBA)

at Hawaii

Hawaii, at BYU

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