August 20, 2010

BYU Independence

Man this has been the craziest summer that I can remember with regards to college football.

Set aside all the craziness that happened with the Big XII and the PAC-10 and the high-stakes game of Texas hold 'em.  That was just the beginning.  Just last week, BYU decided they were going to play their own high-stakes game of Texas hold 'em so they can get better exposure and broadcasting rights to their games.  But then Craig Thompson pulled an Ace out of nowhere and BYU is left considering backup plans.

Two obvious questions come to my mind with regards to the recent rumors / announcements about independence:

(1)  Why is BYU opposed to reaching a BCS game the same way TCU, Boise, and Utah have done it?
It's certainly possible for non-BCS teams to reach a BCS game.   I refuse to believe that the reason BYU wants independence is to get more $$$ from Television exposure.  BYU has tons of money, including 10% of mine.  I don't think BYU is going to get the same BCS exception that Notre Dame has as an independent, which means a BCS game is going to be extremely tough for BYU to reach via independent status.  If going independent isn't for TV money, and it will be harder to reach a BCS game than if you stayed in the MWC, why go?

(2) Does BYU have a plan B?
Initially, BYU's plan was go independent in football with all other sports going to the WAC.  Craig Thompson absolutely destroyed that plan when he took a shot across BYU's bow by inviting Fresno and Nevada to the MWC.  It seems pretty clear this was BYU's preferred plan, especially because news surfaced that BYU had been in talks with the WAC since July wanting a $5M commitment from each WAC member.  Apparently, Fresno and Nevada didn't get the memo . . . or didn't care.  More likely, they gambled that if they jumped ship, there wouldn't be a WAC left to pay the buyout fee to.   

The question here is if BYU would still go independent in football at the cost of all their other sports.  BYU fields more sports than any other current MWC team, and competing with the desolate scraps of what remains of the WAC would be uncompetitive and unwise, competing with small schools ranging geographically from Hawaii to Louisiana Tech.  Ugh.  There have been rumors of BYU's other sports landing in the WCC, but to me that is even worse.  The WCC only fields 13 sports, so BYU would immediately scrap 6 sports, plus I don't think BYU fans would enjoy watching the Cougars play road games in 5000 seat gyms of small parochial schools in California.

I think the best option for the Cougars at this point is to return to the MWC which is not bolstered by a few more teams, and hope for the BCS play-in game against the CUSA champ, as is suggested here.   They could still go independent, but for a school that takes so much pride in all their other sports, any other currently available scenario seems like almost certain suicide for BYU's non-football sports.  In the end I think BYU football goes back to the MWC.

As a Ute fan, I have to say the best part of this whole situation is that the target for the 2010-2011 season has moved from a red jersey to a blue jersey, or so I perceive.  In any case, this season in the MWC could be UGLY.  

What are your thoughts?  What should BYU do ?
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