Blog Entry

BYU goes independent in fb

Posted on: August 18, 2010 3:42 pm
Edited on: August 18, 2010 4:26 pm
BYU football has gone independent in football, the Salt Lake City Tribune is reporting.

Essentially, one of the country's foremost football factories was forced into a decision by the dynamics of the BCS era: Was it easier chasing a BCS bowl by winning the Mountain West or by finishing in the top 14 in the BCS?

The key words are "eligibility" and "automatic". Non-BCS league champions get an automatic berth by finished in the top 12 or top 16 if it finishes above a BCS conference champion. Any team that does not win its conference (and independents besides Notre Dame) is eligible for a BCS bowl if it finishes in the top 14. BYU finished with its highest final BCS ranking last season, 14th, and was eligible. But, it was upstaged by Florida, Iowa and Boise who were all ranked higher and were taken by BCS bowls.

Top 14 only guarantees eligibility for BYU as an independent. Other than that, it would have to finish No. 1 or No. 2 to play in a BCS bowl.

So what's better, conference or independence? BYU may have answered the question by breaking up the Mountain West and keeping all the money for itself. No one knows for sure if the MWC is breaking up but it is certainly on life support with only eight teams and little around it to bolster those automatic BCS hopes.

At the root of BYU's decision is the need for more television exposure. The league's decision to get off ESPN a few years ago and start its own network has had questionable results. The decision, ironically driven by the BYU president at the time, was based on Mountain West teams playing a lot of weekday games. The conference presidents wanted to play more on Saturday even if it meant leaving ESPN. The four-year-old mtn. has yet to turn a profit.

As an independent, BYU can create its own TV-friendly schedule. The school also has its own HD network, BYU TV.

The paper is also reporting that Boise State could return to the WAC. There is no buyout for Boise leaving the Mountain West at this point. Certainly the Mountain West's bid to get automatic BCS access in 2012 and 2013 is all but dead.

Once Utah went to the Pac-10 that put the Mountain West in bad shape for its BCS bid. Each program charts a path of least resistance to what it considers "success." BYU has won a national championship, ironically, in the old bowl system. In the BCS era, it has been upstaged by Utah and TCU in its own conference and Boise State from its region.

If it is going to keep falling short of a BCS bowl, it might as well keep all the money while doing it. BYU reportedly will place all its other sports in the WAC.

Boise was a de facto independent in the WAC because it was so far above its conference competition. The top-12 automatic spot for non-BCS conference champions goes only to the highest-ranked team, even if more than one are in the top 12.

Look for BYU to schedule other independents (including Notre Dame) plus Utah. It can still play its old WAC rivals as well. Heck, a similar schedule has worked for Boise.

Category: NCAAF

Since: Sep 3, 2007
Posted on: August 19, 2010 11:05 pm

BYU goes independent in fb

No way LSU will leave the SEC... especially with the recent success of that conference and the Tigers winning two Nat'l Titles recently.  On the other hand, I think BYU expected an offer from the Big 12, and not getting it, are forced to do *something* that will get them out of a financially poor conference, having carried the weight by and large for many years, and now with Utah gone, even worse.
Perhaps this will force the Big 12 to make an offer to BYU.

Since: Aug 3, 2010
Posted on: August 18, 2010 10:46 pm

BYU goes independent in fb

Both conferences have too much baggage to worry about merging.

Since: Apr 27, 2008
Posted on: August 18, 2010 10:35 pm

BYU goes independent in fb

As a BYU fan I don't like this at all, it seemed that once Texas had stayed in the Big 12 that CFB armageddon was avoided, but now it looks like either the WAC or the MWC. The Rockies aren't big enough for the both them.

It is a completely selfish mode and may have largely negative implications for the basketball program, which was really making big strides.

Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2010 10:28 pm

BYU goes independent in fb

The BIG 12 is sitting back, licking their chops, waiting for potential replacements for Colorado and Nebraska. When the dust settles the BIG 12 will be better than ever.

Look for them to replace the two with better, more financialy strong, football programs. I look for BYU, Houston, TCU, Arkansas, Arizona, Arizona State, and LSU, among others, to compete for spots in the BIG 12. Don't be surprised if they become the BIG 16 sometime in the next decade.

The PAC 10 probably won't last in it's current configuration beyond 3-5 years. The Big East is almost irrelevant already, as is The ACC, CUSA, WAC, PAC, and MWC. They are all targets for cherry picking by the SEC, BIG 10, and BIG 12. The shuffle has just begun

 It is all money driven. Look at fan base, and university funding, there are a handful of giants, they will decide the future landscape. Texas, Florida, ND, BYU, Ohio State, those are the teams ready for the future, everyone else will be trying to get a piece of the pie. Most other teams have a strong, loyal, LOCAL, following, but no highly marketable worldwide presence. TV money is where it will be in the future.

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2010 9:57 pm

BYU goes independent in fb

Maybe not...TCU could take over the Boisenberry state role and simply dominate the MWC into cntinual 12-0 seasons and BCS cnsideration.  BSU would NOT have ever dominated the MWC - competitive yes, but dominate - NO!   It could do in the WAC what it hasn't proved possible in the MWC - win with top 70 recruits. 

As for BYU - smart move really.  BYU will get the recruiting dvantages nd cash.  Also, it is incorrect to think BYU has only a Mormon national following.  ESPN learned early on that BYU's style of play is what draws national viewers.  BYU was consistently one of ESPN's highest competitive draws whenever they appeared before the MWC TV pact came along.   BYU will do much better financially. But what's more important is dispelling the MYTH that a highly ranked BYU team wouldn't get an invitation.  I agree that 9 wins will never do it for BYU, but that has rarely worked for even Notre Dame as well.  The fact is an undefeated, 11-1 or even 10-2 BYU will hve a shot at a BCS birth and by scheduling 1-2 more home games every year, is likely to betterit's opportunities to win the way SEC teams do with a lot of HFA games OOC.   I've covered the WAC and MWC for nearly 30 years and the time is right, the move is correct.  BYU should do it now!


Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: August 18, 2010 8:41 pm

BYU goes independent in fb

I hope this blows up for BYU.  I am tired of all the conference movement.  I hope the Big 12 does NOT invite BYU if it expands back to 12 teams.  No other BCS league other than the Big 12 would take BYU anyway.

Since: Jun 23, 2009
Posted on: August 18, 2010 8:08 pm

BYU goes independent in fb

Maybe teams like TCU, BYU and New Mexico get invited to the Big 12? Or an expanded Pac 10? As a Big 10 fan, I still hope Mizzou and Kansas get invited to the Big 10, don't care to ruin a midwest conference by adding east coast teams, makes no sense.

I agree.  I'm an ACC guy that grew up in Big 10 country.  I'd love to see Kansas and Mizzou join the Big 10 and some of the Big East teams go to the ACC. 

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: August 18, 2010 7:37 pm

BYU goes independent in fb

The mother ship is reporting the WAC imposed a $5M buyout after Boise left, so Nevada and FSU will stay put. The remaining MWC schools may help foot that bill if necessary, given the alternatives.

Since: Jul 31, 2010
Posted on: August 18, 2010 7:27 pm

BYU goes independent in fb

The only way this worksout for BYU is if they get an invite from a BCS conference next year. Not only does this not work for BYU but it ruins the Mountain West and the WAC. This is EPIC FAIL.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: August 18, 2010 6:57 pm

BYU goes independent in fb

For me, I think this is a good move for BYU. They have the tools to go it alone and now they are masters of their own ship. If they can build the program into national independent power, conferences will come looking for them.

My guess is there have been"discrete" discussions with the Big-12 at the root of this change.  It is just a question of time before the Big-12 expands back to 12 schools.  This is a smart move by BYU, as it clears the decks and differentiates the them from other schools looking to secure a spot in a BCS conference.  I can see the Big-12 announcing the addition of BYU and TCU sometime next year, after the upcomming season is completed.

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