BYU Wins Holy War

BYU Wins Holy War
George, like Collie and Harline before him, is now still open!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

BYU and Utah Need Out of the MWC part 2

If the ultimatum doesn't work and the Cougs and Utes need to leave the conference here are a few options.

A BCS Conference picks them up.
The Pac-10 or the Big 12 realign and engulf the schools into a top tier conference. The Big Ten (really eleven) is looking to turn into the Big Ten(really twelve). According to rumors from Big Ten sources the school of choice would be Missouri from the Big XII. If this were to happen that would leave a spot available for someone in the Northern Division of the Big XII. This would be a great situation for BYU. They would be able to compete in the weaker Northern division, until the recruiting talent would go up from the exposure and BCS conference incentives.

The Utes on the other hand would benefit from the PAC-10. They are a research institution which the Pac-10 prides themselves on. The Utes wouldn't have any problems playing on Sunday, which is one of the main reasons the PAC-10 won't ever allow BYU into the conference. Plus Utah has already shown both on the court and the grid iron they can compete with anyone in the PAC-10.

The problems with these scenarios are simple. Greed, both conferences don't want to expand because that means all the money is now divided that many more times between the school. Also this scenario couldn't play out with the ultimatum the schools would give to the conference unless the planets aligned. Also Utah and BYU would have to break the mutual agreement to not be in the same conference. BYU vs. Utah is one of the best rivalries in the nation and not having a conference title on the line would tend to discount the strength the rivalry has shown. This would be the best situation for both schools, but the I just don't see it happening.

Join the WAC
Really do a Karl Malone and do a complete 360. The Wac would love to have BYU and Utah back in the fold. The balance of power in the Mid Major conferences would go back to the WAC, and now they would have five teams in football and five teams in basketball that really could produce on a national stage. They still have an exclusive deal with ESPN, basically the same deal that the MWC walked away from. Also both would be able to lay even more claim to the Polynesian recruiting base with a guaranteed trip to Hawaii every other year.

The problem is this is really a step back. The WAC no longer has the ties with the Holiday Bowl, which was as it is now a prime non BCS bowl. They also don't have an automatic bid into the BCS. The football team would still have to have a perfect record to make it into the game, and even that isn't a guarantee. After the top five teams, the level of competition really drops off. Louisiana Tech is a far cry from a New Mexico, and CSU is much better then Utah St. Also the TV coverage the WAC is receiving is coming into the final years of the contract. Afterwards it looks like ESPN is going to give the same low ball offer it did to the Mountain West to the WAC. Karl Benson is many things, but he isn't Craig Thompson. Karl Benson may take the lower ESPN offer, or they could end up playing the MWC card and going with a CSTV, being in the same boat the MWC is right now only years behind. The WAC is a step down from the MWC, if BYU and Utah left the conference it would make sense to go to them; however, it would not make much sense to go back to the WAC if you want something better.

This makes no sense for Utah. Utah needs a conference they don't have the fan base to support a Independent run. BYU on the other hand could do it if they went with a Notre Dame model of football independence and other schools in a conference play. BYU could do its own negotiations with ESPN, who would love to have the rights to the school, and their own BYU TV which is already carried on all major providers. The problem with an Indy run by the cougars is the conference that they would find for the rest of their sports. The MWC would be pretty ticked off about the leaving of BYU football. I don't imagine they would be willing to accommodate. Also you would probably have to take the TV deal of the conference that would interfere with the whole reason of the independence movement. The WAC probably wouldn't take BYU with out football, and that would go for every other conference of equal value or better. If a partnership could be found with a conference I say you would start independent tomorrow, but no conference worth note will allow such an arrangement.

The New Conference
This is the best scenerio if they were to leave the Mountain West. You could create out of the WAC and MWC a super Mid-Major conference. You take BYU, Utah, TCU, Boise St, and Fresno St. for sure. Then you have the option of taking from Colorado St., New Mexico, UNLV, Nevada, Air Force, Hawaii, San Diego St., and Utah St. Looking at a break down of football and basketball over the last ten years, this conference would be better statistically then The Big East, and they would have a legitimate argument at having an automatic berth into the BCS. They would have much better leverage to negotiate with ESPN for a decent TV package. Also if both conferences are looking to build a lower bowl you might as well build a good one with a guaranteed good team year in year out.

Problems involved would be bowl affiliations, automatic berths to the NCAA tournament. Plus all the same growing pains that the Mountain West Conference have gone through for the past eight years. This would be the best scenario if BYU and Utah both were forced out. Although, it would be best just to stay in the conference they are currently in with a TV and commissioner that could represent the beliefs they need.

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