BYU football is fixin’ to leave the MWC and go independent

August 18, 2010    By: Geoff J @ 12:02 pm   Category: Life,Sports

Ever since Utah announced it was leaving the Mountain West Conference to join the Pac10 there have been rumors swirling about what BYU would do. The three main options were to sit tight in the MWC, hope for an invite to the Big12, or go independent. Well the Big12 invite has not arrived so it appears BYU has taken its fate into its own hand and decided to go independent. Here are some links:

SLTrib saying it is a done deal
Deseret News calling it a done deal too
ESPN predicting it last night
CBS Sports

It does indeed look like a done deal. BYU football will reportedly go independent and all other BYU sports joining the WAC starting in the Fall of 2011. This is very similar the the arrangement Notre Dame has with the Big East.

Should be an interesting week for BYU sports fans. Stay tuned.


  1. Wow. I had really thought there would be a Big 12 announcement. I’m not sure going the Notre Dame route is wise. But I understand they did it after consulting with ESPN a lot.

    Comment by Clark — August 18, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

  2. Interesting Greg Wrubell quote from his blog:

    I have personally examined communication from someone close to the BYU Athletics program who said BYU’s football independence and future affiliation/coordination with ESPN are a “done deal.” A source told me it was no coincidence that ESPN has been out in front of this story, citing early multiple sources online and even placing the story ahead of Brett Favre’s impending return this morning on SportsCenter.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

  3. Yeah, without a strong ESPN connection there is no way this would have worked. But BYU gets good ratings by either those who love them or those who hate them. About the only worry will be schedule. Sounds like they’ll be able to keep the Utah rivalry but how many solid teams will they be able to schedule?

    Comment by Clark — August 18, 2010 @ 12:37 pm

  4. That’s really interesting!

    Comment by Joseph Smidt — August 18, 2010 @ 12:41 pm

  5. Sounds like they’ll be able to keep the Utah rivalry but how many solid teams will they be able to schedule?

    They’d probably have to make a few concessions (2-for-1) but I wouldn’t expect too many problems.

    This move makes a lot of sense and I wonder if it might start a trend.

    Comment by Tim J — August 18, 2010 @ 12:58 pm

  6. Do you think they will get more nationally televised games? Or do I need to get a sattelite dish?

    Comment by scw — August 18, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

  7. Tim,

    There will be no 2 for 1 concessions with Utah. Both AD’s already confirmed that.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

  8. There will be no 2 for 1 concessions with Utah. Both AD’s already confirmed that.

    Certainly not. That game, and Utah St. I imagine, will go on every year.

    They would also be able to play teams like Boise St. and other Pac-10 teams regularly I would think.

    Do you think they will get more nationally televised games?

    It sounds like one of the reasons they are doing this is that they’ve worked out a deal with ESPN to televise a few of their home games which would definitely result in more exposure. I would think ESPN would want BYU games on at around 9pm ET after their SEC game on ESPN2. That’s a tough spot for them to fill.

    Comment by Tim J — August 18, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

  9. I’m wondering how difficult it’s going to be to fill the schedule. Given BYU’s record and a system that rewards playing weaker teams and winning games, it’s going to be increasingly difficult to schedule Oklahoma’s and such in the future.

    Comment by Eric Russell — August 18, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

  10. I wonder if it might start a trend.

    I doubt it. BYU and ND can pull something like this off because they have national (and to an extent, international) followings due to the schools’ associated faiths.

    The thing that surprises me–and perhaps shouldn’t–is how much football takes priority over other sports. I could be wrong, but this seems like a horrible deal for, say, BYU Basketball, because they’ll be stuck with the WAC. It’s the same theme from all the conference moves over the summer: football is just head and shoulders above all other sports when it comes to priorities. (Granted, I know that conference moves aren’t as big a knock for baskeball, since they are actually smart enough to have a tournament–but it still seems like a step down.)

    Comment by Ben — August 18, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

  11. It sounds like the schedule will include several WAC teams every year. Hopefully BYU will get fellow independents Navy and Notre Dame yearly too. Then toss in Utah, a couple of BCS teams and maybe some old MWC foes and viola! — 13 games every year (counting Hawaii).

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  12. Ben,

    Football usually makes more money than all other sports combined.

    As for hoops, there is no BCS to contend with on that front. That is why a Memphis can be a power hoops team despite being in a crappy conference.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

  13. Geoff: Makes sense. As a basketball-first fan, I just don’t want to face reality. :)

    Comment by Ben — August 18, 2010 @ 2:03 pm

  14. I can understand the impulse to go independent with football, but why the move back (down) to the WAC for all the other sports? I don’t get it. Are they just snubbing their noses at the MWC for some reason?

    Comment by Hunter — August 18, 2010 @ 2:19 pm

  15. I am not sure I understand what this means for a national championship bid. Will they have the same deal as Notre Dame on that front?

    Comment by Matt W. — August 18, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

  16. Well it doesn’t change anything in terms of a national championship bid – they still have to be in the top two for that. But it’s a good question as to what will happen in terms of a potential BCS bid. I would expect something tailored, like an automatic bid if they reach the top 6 and at-large eligibility if they reach the top 12.

    Comment by Eric Russell — August 18, 2010 @ 2:41 pm

  17. Hunter,

    I think the problem is that BYU leaving pretty much hoses the other MWC schools. It is a lot easier to pitch this to the WAC who benefits from it all.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

  18. I’m guessing the no auto-bid criteria is coming. That is, BYU will still be eligible for an at-large bid to a BCS game if they end up in the top 14 of the BCS, but would not be guaranteed a spot unless they were in the title game.

    ND is guaranteed a bid if they end up top 8.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

  19. Hunter, my suspicion is that the MWC wouldn’t accept BYU on a non-football basis. For example, Notre Dame would love to play its non-football sports in the Big 10, but they won’t accept them without football. It’s considered demeaning towards a conference.

    Also, I’m not sure if pulling out of just football is even an option, contractually.

    Comment by Eric Russell — August 18, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

  20. So the MWC just invited Fresno and Nevada to join. They know this is serious.

    The question is will those schools bite? The BYU and Utah-less MWC is still a stronger football conference than the BSU-less WAC. Especially if they bit. But then again if there is no auto bid to the BCS why bother. Plus there would be a $5 million penalty.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

  21. Epic win for BYU fans. Now games can be watched all over the country on BYU-TV. They are already set up to broadcast these games. BYU-TV is on the cheapest package for both DISH Network & DIRECTV.

    Comment by DISH Network vs DIRECTV — August 18, 2010 @ 3:52 pm

  22. I agree spammer. I agree. (Even if I removed your spam link.)

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 4:01 pm

  23. The big problem is scheduling bowl games. They had an automatic tie-in to a bowl game as a member of the MWC (even if it was in Vegas). How do bowl games work with all the conference tie-ins?

    Comment by Christine — August 18, 2010 @ 4:10 pm

  24. Seems pretty likely to me that BYU will not have too much trouble getting tied in to a West Coast Bowl game or two. Navy seems to have done fine in that respect and they are independent.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

  25. I really like the ESPN connection. The mtn really sucked. While a number of teams have done well in the MWC, I really think it has been a poor conference.

    I just moved to Wyoming…I hope they still play the Cowboys sometime. All those anti-BYU shirts I have seen in my three weeks here would go to waste.

    Comment by Chris H. — August 18, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  26. Fresno St. is accepting and it looks like Nevada will too. That will make for a pretty weak six-team WAC to play with.

    Comment by Eric Russell — August 18, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

  27. None of that is official but it does complicate things if the nabs Fresno and Nevada. The WAC looks worse for the non football sports. BYU may not care though.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

  28. Wouldn’t now be the perfect time to just shut the whole program down?

    Comment by Mark B. — August 18, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  29. If shutting down the program were on the table then any time would work — nothing special about now.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

  30. Does this mean we get to have BYU-o-philes doing color and pre-game on ESPN, constantly making excuses, blabbering about this or that player and saying wait til next year? Just like the Irish???

    Comment by WVS — August 18, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  31. Rumor has it that Fresno and Nevada are jumping at the chance to join the MWC with or without BYU in it.

    Another rumor has SDSU and UNLV following BYU into the WAC. They would have a real chance at winning that conference in FB and the hoops would be stronger than the MWC.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

  32. Mark B. There’s way too much loyalty on the Board to BYU football. When they decided BYU was to go into stasis academically (steer to an undergraduate institution-and therefore stay out of the Pac 10) the intercollegiate athletics was not in play. If it was going to happen that would have been the time. Too much fan loyalty. And the airplay BYU sports gets is not frowned upon. Plenty of donated money for that, not too much for the endowment. I’m a fan of BYU sports though not an alumnus. And there are plenty of Saints who feel the same way.

    Comment by WVS — August 18, 2010 @ 8:01 pm

  33. Chris H. — you’re in Wyoming now? Hope you landed well.

    Comment by Hunter — August 18, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

  34. I’m with Mark B. I was dreaming that BYU would really go independent and trash the whole collegiate sports racket.

    Comment by KLC — August 18, 2010 @ 9:56 pm

  35. Rumor now is with the newly weak WAC everything is up in the air.

    Also there is a strong rumor that the independence route is a ruse so the big 12 can collect from the Cornhuskers for damages which they can’t do if BYU joined. So BYU will state it is independent and them get a Big 12 spot come January.

    Comment by Clark — August 18, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

  36. I hadn’t heard that last one about Nebraska. What about those terms would make Nebraska pay or not?

    Last I heard the Big12 is silent for now and the independent thing is legit.

    Not sure if the depleted WAC scuttles things for BYU going indy or not.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 18, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

  37. I doubt it. BYU and ND can pull something like this off because they have national (and to an extent, international) followings due to the schools’ associated faiths.

    A team like Texas would do it. The Big 12 isn’t going to last 5 years as currently constituted. They could easily go independent while launching their own sports network, something they’ve wanted to do for a long time.

    Ohio St., USC, PSU, Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Michigan could all “survive” being independent. I don’t really see the Big 10 schools doing this because they’re TV deal is so lucrative, but it could happen.

    Comment by Tim J — August 19, 2010 @ 5:50 am

  38. Good article in Yahoo! Sports today.

    Comment by Tim J — August 19, 2010 @ 5:59 am

  39. I think that this is a really dumb move for BYU football. It might be good for BYU, the institution, but I fail to understand how frequently televised mediocre BYU football teams help it achieve its goals, either. BYU doesn’t have the national standing that Notre Dame does (never has) and you’ve seen how well Notre Dame has fared of late. This is going to be much more like the Utah State independence period than Notre Dame’s, ESPN deal or no.

    I admit that the MWC was chronically mismanaged and hopelessly inept. Still, it would have been better than independence for BYU.

    Comment by John C. — August 19, 2010 @ 6:51 am

  40. Is this really about proselyting? Even if non-Mormons turn in to BYU-TV — no way, they’ll stick around after the game is done. It seems to me that this is all about TV revenue and Utah leaving (and thus diminishing the MWC’s ability to land an automatic BCS bid for the conference).

    Comment by Wm Morris — August 19, 2010 @ 6:56 am

  41. BTW, that comment was in reference to Dan Wertzel’s column that Tim linked to.

    Comment by Wm Morris — August 19, 2010 @ 6:57 am

  42. Yeah, that was a strange article. I don’t think Tom Homoe has missionary work on his mind. And another article I read claimed that BYU was reaching a deal with ESPN to broadcast four home games a year. That leaves 2-3 home games for primary broadcast on BYU-TV. And those 2-3 games are going to be the smallest market games anyway. So the claim of proselyting is pretty strained all around.

    Comment by Eric Russell — August 19, 2010 @ 7:24 am

  43. I don’t think it is about proselytizing. But it is about exposure and money. BYU is sick of subsidizing the dead weight around them. I suspect going independent is a way of achieving some separation from those perennial little brothers of ours. Maybe it will be a long term solution or maybe the Big12 will come knocking in a couple of years.

    No one thinks BYU will be a ND. But they will probably be somewhere between Navy and ND and an independent.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 19, 2010 @ 8:43 am

  44. Any ideas as to how many games a year against top-20 programs BYU will likely to be able schedule as an independent?

    Comment by John Mansfield — August 19, 2010 @ 8:53 am

  45. Sounds like Fresno and Nevada double-crossed the WAC and BYU.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 19, 2010 @ 8:58 am

  46. If Fresno St and Nevada do leave, BYU should NOT go to the WAC. That would be a bad situation. C-USA might be a better alternative though I’m not sure how well that would work for the non-basketball sports.

    Comment by Tim J — August 19, 2010 @ 9:45 am

  47. That’s pretty big gulf between Navy and ND, at least off the field. (Navy’s won 2 out of the last 3 games against ND.) More importantly, Navy’s coach is LDS. Throw BYU into the independents and 2 of 3 are coached by members of the Church. If we can get someone to replace weasal coach Kelly at ND with a good Mormon coach (Mike Leach, perhaps) then we’ll be 3 for 3 with major college independents. (ND is poaching a lot of good LDS players anyway, so let’s throw in the head coach.)I’m sure someone can come up with a snappy, funny name for a conference of independents coached by Mormons.

    Comment by rbc — August 19, 2010 @ 10:39 am

  48. Chris H,

    “I just moved to Wyoming…I hope they still play the Cowboys sometime. All those anti-BYU shirts I have seen in my three weeks here would go to waste.”

    Haha I probably designed some of those shirts! My wife is from Wyoming and I followed the council to use my talents to help Wyoming fans. Because let’s fave it, they need all the help they can get.

    **note mine are not the anti-mormon ones**

    Comment by Riley — August 19, 2010 @ 11:16 am

  49. Riley,

    As a Ute, it is your duty.

    Comment by Chris H. — August 19, 2010 @ 11:58 am

  50. ABC did a story about this last night. They interviewed John Dehlin. He said that BYU was going independent to help pave the way for the 2012 Romney campaign.

    Comment by Chris H. — August 19, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  51. Hehe. I heard he also said it went against the teachings of the prophets and that is was disingenuous of BYU to go independent.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 19, 2010 @ 12:04 pm

  52. He is also arranging to have meetings with unnamed members of the Quorum of the 12. It is important that the Church know what he and his followers think about these things.

    Comment by Chris H. — August 19, 2010 @ 12:09 pm

  53. I’m sure someone can come up with a snappy, funny name for a conference of independents coached by Mormons.

    The Conference of Stripling Warriors?

    The Early Curfew Conference?

    The Sabbath Day is Holy Conference?

    The Holier Than Thou Conference?

    The No BCS Bowl Games Conference?

    Am I getting warmer?

    Comment by MCQ — August 19, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

  54. Chris H,

    Nay, my privledge.

    Comment by Riley — August 19, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

  55. The most recent on I saw said something about skinning the Cougars…or something like that.

    Comment by Chris H. — August 19, 2010 @ 12:33 pm

  56. “The most recent one…” I went to the U. I am good at being a liberal and swearing, but I cannot spell or type.

    Comment by Chris H. — August 19, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

  57. So there must be a lot of behind-the-scenes negotiating going on today for BYU. After the big Nevada/Fresno double-cross yesterday the landscape has changed. Lots of rumors swirling. One thing is for certain — if BYU caves to the power play by the MWC and just stays in the newly enlarged conference it will cost BYU millions of dollars per year and massive amounts of TV exposure.

    The other thing that is for sure: The WAC got severely hosed by the double-cross.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 19, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

  58. Is there a possibility that a deal could be made to keep BYU in the MWC and have some of their games on ESPN? I would like something like that.

    Comment by Chris H. — August 19, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

  59. Why don’t the WAC and the MWC just merge? That makes a lot more sense than cannibalizing each other for the scraps left over after Utah and BYU leave. That way, it will be a new larger conference that can have two divisions and a championship game every year, plus they will have the games that BYU will contract to play every year. Problem solved.

    Comment by MCQ — August 19, 2010 @ 3:04 pm

  60. Chris H — Variations of your idea are among the swirling rumors I have seen.

    MCQ — There would be no advantage to combining the leagues at all. The WAC has some dead weight and the MWC has some dead weight. Making a new league entirely with the top 8-10 schools might make some sense but it would scuttle any ideas of becoming a BCS conference for at least 5 years because of a “must be together at least 5 years” clause. As it stands the have-nots are already splitting the meager TV -money pie and starving. Adding more mouths makes that problem worse.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 19, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

  61. I’d second Geoff on the merger. This is ultimately all a problem due to the BCS.

    Regarding the Big 12 rumors the story is that it’s all masterminded by Texas who is playing things really strategically. With Nebraska leaving the Big 12 they can claim damages and there is an ongoing lawsuit. If BYU joined the big 12 before the lawsuit is resolved then their case kinds of falls apart. Yes BYU is no Nebraska, but it would really keep the Big 12 from claiming the damages they are.

    So BYU leaves the MWC to go “independent” but after the lawsuit is over Texas ensures that BYU comes to the Big 12. BYU never actually goes independent and never has to play in the WAC.

    Now this seems like a bit of a conspiracy theory to me. Further, even if it was true it depends upon a lot which as we’ve seen with Fresno, was never likely. (i.e. the WAC teams and the MWC teams staying on their laurels)

    It’ll really be interesting to see how this shakes out.

    Comment by Clark — August 19, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

  62. Geoff J – Do you think it was a little crafty of BYU to be going to the WAC teams and trying to get them to sign a binding penalty agreement? Maybe they had no other option.

    Comment by Hunter — August 19, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

  63. BYU had made no promises to stay in the MWC. Nevada and Fresno made solidarity promises to their WAC brethren as recently as last Friday. Now rumor has it that USU got invited by the MWC too but turned it down (maybe for the $5M or maybe because of the promise — who knows).

    So sure BYU was making strategic moves but BYU didn’t backstab or doublecross anyone.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 19, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

  64. Latest word is that USU did not receive and official MWC invite. Sounds like they were preliminary calls only which USU rebuffed.

    Also, USU Pres was reportedly a major liaison between BYU and the WAC in recent weeks.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 19, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  65. Geoff, the reason a merger makes sense is that you get an extra game if you have enough teams to have two divisions. That extra championship game provides a lot more revenue.

    Aside from that, I agree there’s a lot of dead weight in each conference, but it’s better than splitting the few remaining good teams between the two conferences.

    The five-yr rule is a red herring. Do you really think these conferences are anywhere close to being a BCS conference?

    Comment by MCQ — August 19, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

  66. I’m afraid you are out to lunch on this one MCQ. Sure if the new conference landed some massive new TV deal there would be a bigger pie to divide up (what 20 ways?). But the TV networks don’t want to air games by most of the scrubs in the WAC and MWC. Combining leagues just unites the scrubs that the networks don’t want to pay for. There is no market for the type of combined conference you describe so it would be completely pointless.

    But there is a market for BYU football. We get this from a recent David Locke Tweet:

    “If BYU goes Indy – they get about 4 to 6 mill from ESPN for home football, they could get 2 or more million on local rights plus part of the WCC or WAC deal. Totally as much as 10 million. Last year got 1.3 million from MTN”

    Comment by Geoff J — August 19, 2010 @ 5:17 pm

  67. I heard USU really wanted BYU in the WAC for a basketball rivalry.

    Comment by Clark — August 19, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

  68. Geoff, and that 10 million is just TV. The exposure will also help with recruiting (which the MWC TV situation has exasperated and which the U’s fleeing to the Pac-10 won’t help). I suspect it’ll also help with donations as well.

    Comment by Clark — August 19, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

  69. Alright, this CougarBoard post was well done enough to warrant a link:

    Comment by Geoff J — August 19, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

  70. I can’t see BYU leaving now unless they can find a new home for their non-football sports. The WAC just doesn’t make any sense now.

    Utah St in the MWC would be pretty great for basketball purposes especially after losing Utah. But since football is king, I can’t imagine that would happen.

    The MWC needs to add one more team for a 12-team conference. Houston would make a lot of sense athletically and to increase the conference’s footprint. You’d probably then see LA Tech leave the WAC for C-USA which makes a lot of sense.

    The remaining WAC teams should just go after West Coast basketball schools like Gonzaga, Pacific, St. Mary’s, Weber St. and the likes.

    Not sure what would be left of the 5 remaining football schools though.

    Comment by Tim J — August 20, 2010 @ 6:58 am

  71. Wait, there are football schools in the WAC (aside from BSU)?

    Comment by John C. — August 20, 2010 @ 8:51 am

  72. BYU and Texas just agreed to a home and home series starting 2013.

    Comment by Tim J — August 20, 2010 @ 9:24 am

  73. Yeah Tim (#70), that seems to the be the conundrum BYU admins are working on behind the scenes now. Going independent for football is a no-brainer. BYU could make as much TV money in 1 game as an independent as they do all year in the MWC. But BYU needs a home for the other sports. The WAC is deeply diluted now so that could be trouble. The WCC is a solid hoops conference but would leave many of the Olympic sports out in the cold.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 20, 2010 @ 9:45 am

  74. Interesting info about the WCC from Wrubell’s blog:

    The West Coast Conference competes in 11 NCAA-sanctioned sports. The only sports in which BYU competes that the WCC does not are:

    Women’s Gymnastics (already a non-MWC participant)


    Men’s and Women’s Swimming/Diving

    Track and Field

    Men’s Volleyball (already a non-MWC participant)

    BYU would need to find a conference home for only three sports; not an insurmountable obstacle.

    With the number of religiously-founded schools in the WCC, the conference would appear to present a philosophical match for BYU. At least a handful of the conference members have had periods of prominence in multiple sports, with Men’s Basketball being the most obvious drawing card for a program like BYU (Gonzaga and St. Mary’s are annual Big Dance participants or candidates).

    In terms of destinations and recruiting bases, the WCC represents areas already familiar to BYU and its coaches/athletes.

    The WCC has interest in BYU; it would have to be considered a viable option.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 20, 2010 @ 10:44 am

  75. If this happens I think it a long term mistake. Football teams need a conference to remain relevant. I understand the $$ pressures to make the chnage but I still think its a mistake.

    BYU needs to join the Big 12 if they mnake a move.

    Comment by bbell — August 20, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  76. “Football teams need a conference to remain relevant”

    Signed, Notre Dame and Navy.


    If the Big12 invites BYU will almost certainly accept. That could very well happen in the next few years. In the meantime it would be financial madness for BYU to stay put in the MWC unless something major changed. It would be crazy in terms to the visibility issue as well. Signs are pointing toward ESPN being very involved with BYU on this. My guess is that BYU football independence is a done deal. The issue now is finding a home for the rest of the sports.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 20, 2010 @ 11:33 am

  77. Football teams need a conference to remain relevant.

    I don’t think they’d lose any relevance going from the MWC to independence. Geoff’s right, if the Big 12 or any other major conference come calling, BYU would gladly accept.

    The WCC would be intriguing, but I think you might see them merge with WAC and you’ll have a Big East situation where half the schools play D-1 football and the other half do not.

    Comment by Tim J — August 20, 2010 @ 12:02 pm

  78. Tim (72), that suggests the Big 10 conspiracy theory I mentioned. Texas is really being smart in all this and more or less controlling the Big 10 situation.

    Comment by Clark — August 20, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

  79. Geoff,

    I am trying to decipher your comment :) Do you think that Notre Dame or Navy are relevant?

    Comment by bbell — August 20, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

  80. It is indisputable that Notre Dame is relevant, but its relevance is waning. Navy is at about the same level of relevance as BYU right now.

    You all may be right that staying in the MWC does not hurt BYU in terms of relevance, but I remain skeptical. What it looks like is that BYU didn’t like the idea of being beaten by Boise State every year.

    Comment by John C. — August 20, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  81. bbell,

    Hehe. Yes. And not just a little.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 20, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  82. As far as I can tell Notre Dame is essentially a “has been”. Notre Dame has lost 9 out of its last 10 bowl games and has ceased to be a consistent top 20 team. The Holtz era is long gone. I think that not having a conference has really hurt Notre Dame. Although I would argue that Freshman calculus at ND is as much to blame.

    Comment by bbell — August 20, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

  83. A funny thing about all this maneuvering is that we hear that football programs pull their own weight and subsidize the rest of the athletic department. So, if BYU can increase its football revenue, where will the money be spent? Another new practice facility? Replace the coaching staff with more expensive talent? Turn the surplus over to the general university fund?

    Comment by John Mansfield — August 20, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  84. bbell,

    “Relevance” in college football has more to do with fan base and revenues that anything else. By that measure ND is probably still among the top 5-10 programs in the country despite some down years on the field. They are right up there with the USC’s, Texas, Florida, Ohio States of the world in terms of relevance still.

    In other words, while fielding mediocre teams has hurt ND a little, not being in a conference has not.

    Comment by Geoff J — August 20, 2010 @ 1:33 pm

  85. Mansfield,

    I dunno. But I do know that having a surplus of reveues is better than running a deficit or barely breaking even. Also, Bronco is adored in Provo — there is no “upgrading” him. The fans and admin consider him the best there is for BYU already. (And he makes probably less than half of what he could make elsewhere with his track record.)

    Comment by Geoff J — August 20, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

  86. This is more a question for Tim than for Geoff, but did NBC renew its contract with Notre Dame? Will NBC renew it if the decision hasn’t been made? I’m would think that the answer is no. That is the most important factor in relevance in this era.

    Comment by John C. — August 20, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

  87. The current contract goes thru 2015. While ND’s success in the next few years could certainly decide whether or not an extension is made, I would lean towards it happening.

    NBC SPorts likes having “upscale” sporting events i.e. Wimbledon, Triple Crown horse racing, and the likes. It brings them advertisers like BMW, Mercedes, AMEX, and others that they normally wouldn’t get.

    It’s also not like there’s much else for NBC to put on the airwaves on a Saturday afternoon.

    Also, the NBC-Comcast merger would make this more likely as COmcast wants to have a sports network rival ESPN’s eventually.

    Comment by Tim J — August 20, 2010 @ 7:08 pm