More Reasons Why BYU Should Join A Conference


Last week I posted a column on KSL.com titled “Time has come for BYU Football to swallow its pride and join a conference.” Basically I laid out why it made sense based on the new playoff and bowl rules for 2014 for BYU to join either the Big East or rejoin the Mountain West Conference. My opinion was that BYU would have an easier road since the five lesser conferences now had a guaranteed spot in the new BCS bowls where the school as an independent did not. Most of the feedback on my twitter and in the comment section of the post from BYU fans were negative while the poll on the page had 63% of the voters agreeing with me.

Monday, Maryland officially announced it was leaving the ACC to join the Big Ten and that Rutgers would follow departing from the Big East. Reports are saying that Big East teams UCONN or Louisville could replace the Terrapins in the ACC. Of course I then received several tweets giving me flack along the lines of this:

Also Monday ESPN.com reported that BYU, Boise State and San Diego State have had disussions with the Mountain West to rejoin. This report was immediately refuted by the athletic director of San Diego State who said none of the schools have talked to the MWC.

Meanwhile for those BYU detractors that still want to go independent, Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com laid out the bleak reality here:

BYU and Army were not mentioned in a press release detailing access last week. In fact, they have the worst access of the any of the 124 FBS schools because of their independence. They will each be automatic in the playoff if they finish in the top four. Otherwise, they will have to be selected by the human committee.

That has led to speculation BYU may rethink its independent status. A Mountain West source told CBSSports.com on Monday that member schools and BYU have been talking among themselves about the future, but only because those schools continue to play each other. No formal contact has been made with the Mountain West.

He went on to write that BYU and Army will most likely receive just $200,000 from the new playoff system while the Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC and Big 12 will collect $40 million alone from their participation in the Rose and Sugar bowls whilte Notre Dame will receive $1.6 million annually.

And as for those Cougar fans still holding out hope that they’ll one day be invited into the Big 12–not so fast. Columnist Berry Tramel from the Oklahoman believes the Big-12 might go to 11 schools adding Louisville to prevent them from joining the ACC but not 12 writing that the conference doesn’t want to have a title game. Officials apparently believe a championship game could actually hurt the league knocking out one of their programs from the new four team playoff.

As for BYU, Tramel wrote geographically it doesn’t make sense anymore and there is that little issue of not being able to play nice:

BYU, I’m sure you know all about. Geographically, it’s a tough sell, since the Big 12 moved East. Norman is five miles closer to Provo, Utah, than Norman is to Morgantown, W.Va. and Stillwater is 32 miles closer to Morgantown than Stillwater is to Provo. In other words, it’s a long way from Morgantown to Provo. Plus, BYU has independence issues; even when the Brighams aren’t an independent, they don’t have a good reputation for playing nice with others in their conference.

So if you’re a BYU fan where does this leave you? Besides driving you crazy once again it leaves BYU officials have to decide whether they want to continue on their current path of remaining independent and traveling the country to give exposure to the school and the LDS Church or join perhaps in their mind a lesser conference. If they stay independent, athletic director Tom Holmoe will continue to have the almost impossible task of assembling a strong schedule every year to keep the fans happy while having limited options of teams to choose from as these mega-conferences continue to form.

Once again my opinion the school should do the smart thing and stop trying to go at it alone thinking you’re better than everyone else. If that means going to the Big East or rejoining the Mountain West Conference–so be it. In fact if Boise State and San Diego State happen to rejoin to go along with Utah State, Fresno State, Air Force, Nevada and San Jose State (a team BYU just lost too) it would be a very solid conference. It’s difficult enough that BYU would not be guaranteed to win it every year. But if they did they would almost assuredly get into one of the BCS bowls or playoff if unbeaten. Staying independent won’t guarantee that.

All I know is BYU better make the right choice otherwise they could become irrelevant and that would be a disservice to a program with their rich past and large loyal fanbase.

Tags: Brigham Young Cougars Featured Football Popular

  • JC

    BYU with the SOS of the MWC or the Big East, wouldn’t have the firepower to be ranked in the top 4. It would def increase their BCS chances joining a conference with the guarantee, but not their NC chances. and considering they’d have to be undefeated either way, I’d stay Indy which allows you to play quality teams and build a national brand because they’d have to be undefeated either way. Besides they could get picked in one of the 5 at large spots. If you are on the selection committee picking the final 4 and you see a MWC team who’s undefeated or a BYU with a quality Indy schedule who has a national brand and a traveling fan base who do you take of the two? Case and point. Unless the big 12 invites BYU, Indy IS the best way to go.

  • Kralon

    Joining one of the weak conferences gives an easier road into a BCS bowl? Really? I don’t think so, every year 10 teams get to play in a BCS bowl. In the future ONE spot is reserved for the best team from 5 conferences? And you want BYU to join one of those five weak conferences hoping that their admittedly weak schedule (weak conference) that year will be enough to be the ONE team picked out of MWC, ACC, Big East, Conference USA, Sun Belt and Mid-American? The only way that will happen is if BYU is the highest ranking team among all those teams from the WEAK 5 conferences. As the conferences are considered weak, it will all depend on the SOS and outcome of the few outside conference games! Again, conference not important!

    If BYU is going to go to a BCS bowl they will be high ranked and have a better shot at that ranking by scheduling some tougher teams than in those conferences. This year BYU, as an independent, lost to Notre Dame by 3 points! Notre Dame who is now #1! BYU needs to stay independent unless a BCS conference comes knocking and do its best to schedule tough teams. Since BYU draws a relatively big crowd (sometimes more fans than home teams, New Mexico, or set visiting team records three times the average with Georgia Tech!) they do have a shot a good teams. At least better schedules than the weak 5 conferences!

  • Jim Beecroft

    “Once again my opinion the school should do the smart thing and stop trying to go at it alone thinking you’re better than everyone else.”

    So – you say this in the best interest of the team and fans that USED TO BE your in-state rival? Grow up! Let’s recap:

    Utah left for the PAC-12 because they got the invite. Good for them. I hope they like their new home. I’ve been a PAC fan ever since it was the PAC-8. It’s a great conference and I hope it works out for the Utes. Well, guess what? The MWC does NOT work for BYU. Nor does the Big East. To join either of these conferences would require BYU to move backwards – giving up their coverage on ESPN and BYUtv. You seem to think it’s worth it for the ‘bowl access.’ Come on – think this thing through! What type of ‘bowl access’ does the Big East or the Mountain West REALLY bring with it? The payout for BYU and Utah each year in the Mountain West amounted to a little over a Million dollars a year. What does BYU make in bowls like the Humanitarian Bowl or the Poinsettia Bowl? Something close to a million dollars. Hmmmmm – the money doesn’t seem all that different, does it? But BYU is making at least 4 Million a year with their ESPN contract. Also, every single BYU game is televised. So, where’s the logic in your statement? Maybe you think it’d be best for the Cougars to jump to the Mountain West because of all the ‘great’ teams they’d be playing? Scheduling would be easier – no denying that. But here’s BYU’s 2013 schedule:

    Home
    Texas
    Boise St.
    Utah
    Georgia Tech
    Middle Tennesse
    (TBD)

    Away
    Virginia
    Utah State
    Houston
    Wisconsin
    Notre Dame
    Hawaii

    So – do you REALLY think BYU’s Mountain West schedule will be better than this? NO WAY. And, lest you think this is coming from one of those BYU fans that think I’m ‘…better than everyone else’ – both of my degrees are from Weber State! I’ve never attended BYU and have no more loyalty to that school than I do Utah (where I spent a semester).

    Quit throwing insults! I don’t blame BYU for staying independent. Based on all the information, it seems like the best course of action. And one more thing:

    “…San Jose State (a team BYU just lost too)”

    Let me give you a hint – ‘two’ is the number, while ‘too’ means the same thing as ‘also’. You’re actually looking for the word ‘to’. But a Journalist should know these things and not be told by a lowly Weber State graduate how to spell – right?

    • bman88

      You ask what kind of bowl access they would gain and the bowl access is getting into on of the 6 bowls that are basically the bcs bowls of the new post season. If BYU doesn’t join a conference they can not enter one of these bows and the best team from the big east and the mwc and the others will get an automatic entry.

      • Jim Beecroft

        Not quite, bman88. Only the top-ranked team in the 5 ‘lower’ conferences (which includes both the Big East AND the Mountain West) have a guarateed ‘in’ – not one team each for the top 6 bowls. Since the sixth bowl is a Championship game between the winners of 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3, there are really only 5 bowls under consideration, and the top two bowls are reserved for the 4 top teams – 1 vs 4 and 2 vs 3. If BYU is among the top 4, they will be invited to one of these two bowl games – whether they are in a conference or not. For the six remaining teams needed to play in the three remaining BCS bowls, one will come from the top ranked team in the combined 5 ‘lower’ conferences – that’s it! All the rest of the 5 teams will (likely) come from the ‘major’ conferences. In other words, it won’t be much different than it is today. The only thing that would have been different, if this were in effect over the last 10 years, is that Utah would have played in one of the top two bowls when they were ranked #4 (the same year they creamed ‘bama and ended up #2). If BYU joined a conference, it’d only improve their BCS Bowl access for positions 5-10. Doesn’t seem worth it, to me!