If BYU really wants to get into a Power 5 conference in the next three years, it’s got to insist that conferences play by one set of rules.
For those who don’t understand what I’m talking about, allow me to explain. Bronco Mendenhall raised eyebrows last week when he said that he BYU needs to make it into a Power 5 conference in the next three years. The fact that the P5 conference TV contracts don’t expire for 8-10 years made this statement pretty laughable because those TV deals have been what’s driving the ship. To make matters worse, recent reports say that the rule requiring conferences to have twelve teams to have a conference championship game are likely to be abolished, erasing the Big 12’s only incentive to divide its money between two extra schools.
Shortly after last season, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby seemed unphased by his conference’s playoff snub. He said that the Big 12 would likely pursue tiebreakers and beefed up nonconference schedules to try and up the conference’s chances at a playoff berth. But today Bowlsby said that he realizes his conference needs to have a championship game in order to be competitive for a playoff spot. This all but guarantees that the Big 12 will do everything it can to make sure that it can have a conference championship game without adding two more teams.
If the Cougars wants to get into the Big 12, they need to find a way to stop the rule changes. The only way the Big 12 expands in the next three years is if they are prohibited from playing a conference championship game with fewer than twelve teams. Otherwise, they will have their cake and eat it too. I’m on record saying that BYU doesn’t need to go all out to get into the Big 12, but if Bronco’s right that it needs to happen–and soon–then Tom Holmoe needs to get to work.
A public campaign decrying the unfairness of the Big 12 playing by different rules probably won’t endear the Cougars to their potential conference suitor, so Holmoe would be well-advised to work his magic behind the scenes. Maybe he can convince the other conferences that a richer Big 12 isn’t good for them. Or perhaps he could convince the College Football Playoff and NCAA authorities that conferences choosing champions in such different fashions is bad for the sport.
Whatever he does, Holmoe’s only chance at meeting Bronco’s three year timeline is to stop the Big 12 from rigging the rules.