Wednesday, August 18, 2010

BYU to Leave Mountain West; Become Independent

BYU is looking to leave the Mountain West Conference and become an independent. Wow. After a summer of schools jumping from one conference to another, it is interesting to see that one school rather get rid of all of that.

BYU's position is pretty sweet. They'll be Independent in football but play their other sports in the WAC. It's similar to Notre Dame's status of football independence while playing in the Big East in other sports.

Could this turn into a trend the other way? Maybe, but don't get your hopes up too much. BYU most likely will not get the same BCS concessions that Notre Dame has (if the Irish finish in the top eight in the final BCS standings, they get to go to one of those bowls). Maybe BYU would have to finish in the top four of five to reach that status (the other two independents, Army and Navy, have to finish in the top two). That may not fly with schools from major conferences (I don't think Miami is going back to that), but it could be an excellent means for a non-BCS team.

BYU can make its own schedule. The can play whomever they want wherever and whenever. Their only stipulation is that they have to play four to six WAC teams every year in football. Whatever bowl they do get to, the keep the money for themselves instead of sharing it with the rest of the conference. It also allows BYU to form its own television network ... or use the current BYU-TV that's available on satellite systems already ... to gain even more money. That's quite a feat for a school that doesn't have a seat at the BCS table.

This could be something other big fish/small pond schools. Could Boise State think that this would be a good route for them, too? UNLV? In fact, I wouldn't put it past these schools to form a conference all by themselves in every sport ... EXCEPT for football. They all get what they want on the gridiron and still have a base in other sports. Who could ask for anything more?

Give kudos to Notre Dame for sticking with this plan as well. Despite everyone calling for them to join the Big Ten, the Irish have maintained their independent status. We all cried, "but you have to be in a conference to survive!" Um, no.

If this works out well for BYU, then look out. We could see a lot of teams from the WAC, Mountain West and Conference USA that will go the same route.

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