Blog Entry

Declaring some football independents on July 4

Posted on: July 4, 2011 2:52 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 6:21 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer

Happy Independence Day everyone. It's been a remarkable 235 years but America is still going strong despite plenty of ups and downs. On the gridiron, it seems like Notre Dame, Navy and others have been independent of conference overlords for just as long. With BYU joining their ranks last week and in honor of the holiday, it's a perfect time to look at what programs could follow their lead and go out on their own.

While it's doubtful that any of these programs will actually pursue going independence in the near future, perhaps they could/would/should on second thought. Feel free to bring up some other programs that could go out on their own in the comments below.

Boise State

The Broncos have made quite the run the past few years, winning two BCS bowls and posting a remarkable three undefeated seasons. Boise State was originally a junior college who has, rather quickly, risen in the ranks from an independent in Division II to their current place in the Mountain West. Their wide-open style of play and ability to beat more talented teams has certainly earned them a national reputation and with that comes eyeballs. For example, last season's game against Virginia Tech earned a 6.8 overnight rating, making it the highest rated Labor Day night game since 1990.

From the Blue Turf to the trick plays, a lot of what has made Boise State football a national brand is due to the exposure they get on ESPN. For years they had several featured games on the network and, even if they were on late at night on the East Coast, people were at least able to see the games. Boise State is losing a lot of that exposure with the move to the Mountain West (with games on The Mtn. and Versus) in exchange for an increase in television revenue, which is expected to be around $800,000 a year based on the current conference agreements. If Boise State gets unhappy with the arrangement and decides to go independent, they could follow the lead of BYU. The Cougars recently signed a deal with ESPN to televise several football games with estimates putting the value of the deal at between $800,000 and $1.2 million per home game. As a program with a love-them-or-hate-them reputation that causes people to tune in, going independent might make sense down the road.

Florida State

If there's one team on this list that is actually familiar with football independence, it's Florida State. The Seminoles were conference-less from 1951-1991 prior to joining the ACC. In a curious twist of fate, the school was invited by the ACC to join their conference but were rejected by the SEC. Regardless, Florida State is aware of what it takes to be an independent and what challenges and benefits come with it. While most believe their relationship with the ACC is a good one, one never knows what will happen if another wave of conference realignment hits. The ACC is, mostly, a basketball-centric league and as winners of two somewhat recent national titles, Florida State is much more of a football school than the conference's other members.

Scheduling always gets tricky but Florida State has a long history of playing both Miami and Florida. Both games are usually big ratings winners so, like Boise State, the program would likely do well financially getting a majority of the television money versus splitting it with fellow conference members. Throw in nearby UCF and USF and the Seminoles could have nearly half a schedule from in-state programs alone. Add in a big name program, such as the one against Oklahoma this year, and Florida State could get back to being a much bigger draw nationally like they were in the 1990's. Of course, as with most Florida teams, they'd also have to win to stay relevant.


The way things are going with the NCAA investigation into Oregon's football and basketball programs, it's likely more than a few Ducks fans have thought about leaving the NCAA altogether, much less the Pac-12. While the program itself hasn't seen much success on the gridiron outside of the past decade, there's one thing that lands Oregon on this list: Nike. The Beaverton, Ore., based company has already made the Ducks their featured program by ensuring they have the latest Nike gear and well over 160 uniform combinations (feel free to mix and match your own Duck uniform here).

The school already has an affiliate network of television and radio stations and it wouldn't be all that surprising if they teamed with Nike to get an actual cable channel going. Given what Nike has already done in the marketing sphere, the idea of "their" team crisscrossing the country might raise as many eyebrows in Indianapolis as it does in Eugene. At the same time, it's hard not to see the idea floated in Phil Knight's office at some point, is it?


Go ahead and insert your own Big 12-Texas joke here. If there was one lesson to be learned from last summer's realignment saga, it was that Texas is the major player in college athletics - and for good reason. The football program brought in the most revenue in the country last year with a staggering $94 million take and a nearly $69 million profit. If there's any program that could afford any initial financial hit from going independent, it's the Longhorns.

The program is also uniquely positioned (perhaps more so than anybody on this list) to head out on their own. The Longhorn Network will launch in late August and, with ESPN's backing, figures to expand the Texas brand into households across the country. Like BYU with BYUtv, having their own network already up and running would be a huge advantage over others that would be pondering a similar move. Schedule-wise, they would have no problem scheduling games based on the teams nearby and their draw nationally. Add in the fact that Texas is a large public school with plenty of alumni and fans across the country, and it's possible that football independence actually makes a lot of sense if administrators don't find the arrangement with the Big 12 to be working out.


If you're making a list of things that a school should have if they're considering going independent, USC would have a lot of check marks next to their name. Lots of alumni all over the country? Check. Nationally recognized brand? Check. Traditional college football power? Check. Given the school's connections to Hollywood and Silicon Valley, it wouldn't be all that surprising if they were able to quickly move onto some unique and intriguing media options if they decided to pursue football independence.

The recent NCAA sanctions have certainly hurt the reputation of the school and the football program which might actually be one reason why the school decides to make the jump from the Pac-12 to join the ranks of rival Notre Dame as an independent. Plenty of alumni are not happy with the Pac-10's lack of support in their infractions case (unlike, say the Big Ten with Ohio State) and that cuts into some of the good will Larry Scott has brought with a new media rights package. The Trojans have plenty of history of going around the country and playing teams, why not a little more of that as an independent? The Pac-10 was known as USC and nine others during the run under Pete Carroll, so maybe the idea of separating from the bunch isn't too far-fetched.


Since: Jun 11, 2010
Posted on: July 4, 2011 11:00 pm

Declaring some football independents on July 4

I would love to see a bunch of schools go independent. This would screw up the NCAA exchanging money in the back rooms with conference presidents. ANYTHING FOR A PLAY-OFF SYSTEM.

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: July 4, 2011 10:11 pm

Declaring some football independents on July 4

Gatorrrrr. you think anyone will give a dam.n if a deserving ND gets in over a Boise St. Come on, let's be brutally honest, Boise is one 5-7 year away from being nothing. Sorry it's true. Tradition matters in college football, it's why traditional powers can go through dry spells and not even dent their fan base.

Since: Jul 3, 2011
Posted on: July 4, 2011 10:07 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: May 9, 2009
Posted on: July 4, 2011 9:52 pm

Declaring some football independents on July 4

Classy aksarbelNkcuf...cant make an intelligent response so you choose to be crude. Whether ND is in a conference or not is a tiresome argument. ND doesnt quality for a BCS
game they get NOTHING. They are willing to risk that so what's the big deal...Teams have played in BCS games who didnt win their conference. Unless and until that is the criteria for playing in a BCS game it is what it is. Live with it and move on. Enough already.

Since: Sep 30, 2008
Posted on: July 4, 2011 9:27 pm

Declaring some football independents on July 4

Look at "thegourds " bad mounthing Pete Carroll & USC and he is Bama fan LOLFoot in mouth

Since: Oct 26, 2006
Posted on: July 4, 2011 8:53 pm

Declaring some football independents on July 4

I disagree.. ND may have done well as a Independent to date... but times are a changing... you think the BCS is getting a lot of flack now?  Wait till IF ND gets better and edges out Boise State in a Championship or any BCS because of NDs special consideration that NO OTHER SCHOOL gets.  Frankly.. i dont think any team should qualify for a BCS game or Championship game that didnt also play and win a conference championship.

Since: Dec 23, 2008
Posted on: July 4, 2011 8:29 pm

Declaring some football independents on July 4

The Seminoles were conference-less from 1951-1991 prior to joining the ACC. In a curious twist of fate, the school was invited by the ACC to join their conference but were rejected by the SEC. Regardless, Florida State is aware of what it takes to be an independent and what challenges and benefits come with it.

I understand this article is completely hypothetical, but the line of thought related to FSU is a little silly. "Florida State is aware of what it takes to be an independent..." based on 40 years as an independent ending 20 years ago? Really? I doubt if there is anyone left in the FSU athletic department who was around in 1991, so how would FSU have any better shot than anyone else at what it takes? Would we bring back Bobby Bowden as a consultant? (Aack - no!)

Besides, during the last 10 (or maybe even 15) years of that independent streak, FSU was actually a member of the old Metro Conference. While it wasn't an official football conference, the 'Noles annually filled out their schedule with fellow Metro Conference members like Georgia Tech, Memphis (State), Tulane, Southern Miss, and South Carolina.

Anyway, as long as the BCS remains in tact and the ACC keeps its automatic bid status for the conference champion, there's really no reason for FSU to go anywhere else except, maybe, the SEC.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: July 4, 2011 8:02 pm

Declaring some football independents on July 4

And Pete Carroll was as slimy if not slimier that Jim Tressel, and that's saying something. Thn, he's replaced with Mr. Slimeball himself, Lame Kitten.

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: July 4, 2011 8:01 pm

Declaring some football independents on July 4

Well, they are the worst! Truth hurts. It's one of the reasons that the Rose Bowl really never means much in the grand scheme of things.

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: July 4, 2011 7:59 pm

Declaring some football independents on July 4

Boise St, FSU, Oregon, Texas, and USC should all stay in their respective conferences; Notre Dame, Army, Navy, and Air Force should join the Big Ten; and BYU should play with themselves.
ha ha ha Brilliant!  This article is stupid.  Oregon and USC go independent?  Article idea FAIL!

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