Saturday, August 28, 2010

BYU Cougars Move to Independent Status: How the Saga Could End

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  1. The MWC is not as bad as the mtn TV network. The ESPN conference with BYU having broadcast rites seems the best scenario. I prefer Independence so the Cougars could spread their influence across the country and the world. From Brazil to Polynesian, Africa to the Asia, BYU has fans and recruits worldwide being denied access by a very restrictive mtn network. The first year or two may be a little weak but in a few years the schedule and results could be very good. While Utah is off playing on the left coast, BYU could have a national footprint. Recruits would have to choose between a regional schedule or a true National and International exposure.

  2. Can you please explain something to me?

    You quoted "It is contrary to the practice of BYU and its sponsor religion to affiliate with entities that conduct business the way the MWC just did."

    At the same time, BYU privately reached a memorandum of understanding with the WAC before announcing that they were withdrawing from the MWC. Just as BYU was doing for themselves, the MWC acted in their own best interests. It seems hypocritical to claim LDS standards as an excuse not to affiliate with a conference that reacted to BYU leaving by grabbing schools to replace them.

    I think you need to not look at this as a reaction to punish the Cougars, it's a strategy to keep the conference (MWC) relevant and progress toward the BCS bid BYU's departure made less likely.

  3. Jack, a lot of people are wondering the same thing. As far as I understand it, BYU has been working on this for years (Tom Holmoe mentioned three years back in late June or early July) and that BYU has been straight forward with the MWC that it was not happy with certain issues, and probably mentioned the I word to the MWC several times. At any point, BYU would have been perfectly willing to discuss with the MWC how they could prevent BYU from pursuing independence.

    Even after the MWC found out that BYU was very serious about it, BYU was probably willing to work a deal with the MWC. However, the way the MWC reacted was very immature, and not indicative of a group that anyone should want to do business. I have compared it to the child who wants to have the biggest piece of cake, and when he is told he cannot have it, he licks his finger and then touches that piece and says with a smirk on his face, "Now I have to have it." That is where I draw the line.

    The way things have worked out, I think it is very obvious why BYU needed to "privately" reach an MOU with the WAC, and being a religous school should not restrict BYU from having private MOUs. I don't think any school in the MWC or Craig Thompson will tell you they were unaware that BYU was not happy and was considering independence.

  4. Editor:

    I don't think grabbing the two strongest immediately available schools to replace BYU and Utah (that's a whole other story) when you are trying to get to the BCS conference level is childish or immature. They picked up Boise already. It's an ugly yet necessary way of doing business. The WAC is the only conference with any real proximity to the MWC and frankly, there's not many FBS schools west of Fort Worth dying to get into the MWC. They did what they were forced to do by BYU leaving.

    In my completely unprofessional opinion, the BYU fanbase feels like Thompson screwed them by dismantling their destination conference. I know all about the agreement to play a few of those WAC schools from the MOU, and the leftovers after Fresno and Nevada left aren't exactly appealing partner schools for a program with the stature of BYU. I don't think this was a reaction to punish Provo, it was Thompson protecting his member schools.

    I'm a Texas alum so I completely understand thinking everyone hates your school. I honestly hope we work something out long term with BYU (we signed a home and home recently) but I think your reaction to the reaction of the conference you tried to bolt isn't the national perception. Frankly, it makes you sound more like the child in this scenario.

  5. Jack,

    I can see the flip side of this, and I am not a cynical person. The problem with all of this is that I fail to see how Fresno and Nevada help the MWC get closer to BCS AQ status. Look at the last two years.

    Fresno State 8-5, 7-6
    Nevada 8-5, 7-6

    How can inviting two teams that have won less than 60% of their games and not been ranked in the top 25 over the last two years possibly get you closer to AQ status.

    Additionally, the WAC bylaws won't let these two schools leave in time that they count in the BCS evaluation anyways.

    You are also forgetting that the MWC invited Utah State (4-8 and 3-9). They don't fit the "best teams available" category.

    Is a MWC minus BYU, but with TCU, BSU, and Air Force really that bad off? No. In fact, BYU leaving is mitigated by the fact that it is one less loss for most teams.

    The MWC had the chance to invite Fresno State and Nevada at the same time they invited Boise State. If that was really the best thing for the MWC, they should have done it then.

    The other big question is, why did the MWC invite without first trying to negotiate with BYU to keep them in? There seems to have been some talks these last two weeks, why not talk first, then invite the others?

    I expect that the national perception is that what the MWC did was logical and would be done by anyone else in the same situation, and that BYU fans are childish for taking the MWC move so personal, but when really analyzed, there is much more to it.

  6. Editor -

    I really think you guys did the right thing today by sending your non-football sports to the WCC. It shows as an institution that you want to be affiliated with faith-based schools and that BYU recognizes the unique position the university has on the West Coast amongst both its followers and its enemies. We can talk U-U or LDS politics keeping you out of the Pac-12 later.

    A lot of folks are going to beat you guys up for tearing apart a couple of leagues. That's their problem. I'd love for BYU to replace Colorado or Nebraska if the XII decides to be viable - and maybe this is a backdoor invitation, hooking up with UT/OU toward a superconference bid. If not, I look forward to seeing your Cougars in non-conference play in the years ahead.

    I felt affiliation with the WAC was a sham and partial acceptance was even worse. You boys did the right thing. I'll buy you a sparkling cider or mineral water when y'all come to Austin.

  7. Those are some good thoughts, Jack. I have preferred the WCC route over the WAC since I first heard the option about 3-4 weeks ago. The WAC would not have brought complete independence with the obligation to play 4-6 WAC teams a year.

    I think the MWC will end up fine. TCU, BSU, AFA, Fresno, and Nevada form a solid nucleus for the future. BCS AQ status is gone for 2012, but 2016 could happen. More of a delay than dead.

    Glad to have had you visiting the blog, hope you keep visiting all year. If you haven't noticed yet, I have a College Football blog: You might be more interested in that one.