Bronco Mendenhall made a goal for BYU to be in a Power 5 Conference in the next three years. This made me think: Does BYU need to play their way into a Power 5 Conference? Would BYU’s tradition and history help? Phil Steele tweeted out recently:
One of these things is not like the others. BYU is the only one on the list that isn’t in a Power 5 conference. They may not have to play themselves in because they have already. BYU has the wins and reputation to be a P5 school. So why aren’t they?
Is it persecution for not being willing to play on Sundays? Or is it location bias? Or is it that they aren’t considered to be a “research institution”? Or is SDSU right when they said that BYU is hard to work with?
BYU is one of the most unique programs in college football. They have to juggle having success and having the Honor Code. They not only teach men to play football they teach them to be men, something that I think Bronco Mendenhall has done a good job balancing.
You would think that this would be a benefit for a conference. “Those BYU boys win without getting in trouble.” With a few exceptions, BYU is not in the news often for people stealing crab legs and things like that.
Sunday play is one that everyone brings up, but I don’t see it as that big of a problem. If the NCAA as a whole avoids championship games on Sundays then any conference could too. The only problem I see is that the conference sees BYU as the new guy trying to change things. BYU is the new guy at work who tries to change things that you’ve been doing forever just because he doesn’t like it. Nobody likes or wants to be THAT guy.
I think location is BYU’s biggest problem when it comes to getting into a big conference. The only conference that makes sense geographically is the Pac 12 but they only want “research institutions”. The Big 12 always comes up but they are located mainly around Texas with one team in West Virginia which makes you think that they wouldn’t want another out on an island in Utah. The Big Ten and ACC are regional too and the SEC is the Ess Ehe See which means they could do it, but they aren’t hurting for membership.
In many cases BYU would need a travel partner. Boise State is the most logical choice if they were to go to any conference other then the Pac 12. So BYU fans better hope that Boise keeps winning. They have the recent success but most conferences are more worried about sustained success with Boise State. In a way Boise State could play BYU and Boise State into the Big 12 or something. Plus BYU and Boise State could be playing into a rivalry recently with how often they are playing each other.
The Pac 12 is still the best situation for the Cougars even though it doesn’t seem possible. They already have the rival and geographically all the teams are in neighboring states. It seems like the Pac 12 isn’t a fan of BYU though. The only way I see BYU to the Pac 12 is if every other conference expands to 16 teams. In that case BYU would have many suitors as well. At that point it wouldn’t matter if they are a “research institution”.
The super conferences may still happen. The SEC is already at fourteen they could add two more, maybe Florida State and or a number of others that would leave conferences scrambling to fill membership to keep up. If they take two from the ACC then the ACC is forced to expand and they could take some from the Big Ten or Big 12 then they would feel the need for expansion.
The SEC is the trendsetters and every other conference tries to keep up. BYU may just need to wait for dominoes to fall. Bronco may know things we don’t and is just waiting for those dominoes.
Is independence that bad? Every BYU fan should be grateful to have Tom Holmoe. What he has done with the football schedule it amazing. It seems that he just keeps getting big programs to play BYU and the schedule gets stronger every year. As long as BYU just keeps winning at a decent rate, the Power 5 conferences will take notice, even though their resume in the past should already been good enough. I have faith in Tom Holmoe and Bronco Mendenhall to take the BYU football team to where they need to be.
So does BYU need to play their way into a big conference? Maybe… Go Cougars!