This morning, as I was eating the cream of wheat my wife made me, I flipped on the tube to catch up on the latest sports hype and to my surprise, I see BYU in the headlines. The story went, that they are seriously inquiring about becoming an Independent football team, and joining the WAC for all other sports. My initial reaction was to spew my cream of wheat all over the TV and shout profanities, but an experience or two has taught me better than to spit out my wife’s cooking. So I sat there in awe, dumbstruck if you will. As the day progressed, I pondered this situation, and got on the phone with the most diehard fans I knew to get a solid feel for the BYU fan consensus on this. Let’s review my day.
My boss, a longtime BYU fan had an interesting insight. His view was that we have the BCS right where we want them. As of now there are 6 AQ conferences, however time and time again the MWC has had BCS busters and are soon to break into AQ status. With 8 Bowl games, that would make seven conferences… not something they want to do. By taking BYU out of the Mountain West, the Conference takes a step back, and the BCS can breathe again, here’s the catch, if BYU as an Independent, finishes in the top 8, they get an automatic bid to a BCS game. His words, “I’ve been waiting 20 years for this moment.” This could be it.
My brother, an Alumni of BYU, had his short, but sweet comment, “The Ute’s are playing checkers, BYU? We’re playing chess.” A move to independence is rather chess-like however, if you look at it right. Every big time college football game each season is a conference vs conference game. Look at USC and Notre Dame, or USC and Ohio St. (Notre Dame vs. Anyone used to be huge back in the day). Even MWC fans get very excited for their non-conference play. For example, last year’s win over Oklahoma. I swore that if BYU won one game the whole season, and it were against the Sooners, I would consider it a huge success. What better reward for BYU fans than to stack a whole SEASON with non-conference games? A move to the Pac-10= King me! A move to Independence? That’s checkmate my friends.
I guess when it comes down to it, you have to look at the credibility of the Mountain West. I’ve stood up for them for years stating their strength. With a move to Independence, this will all but crush the MWC ‘s credibility leaving it on the shoulders of TCU and Boise St. I still argue that the additions of Nevada and Fresno St, along with Air Force, and an up and coming Wyoming team, have lots of potential, and I wouldn’t sleep on that conference still. But the idea of independence… that’s just too enticing to pass up.
So, loyal sports fans, I leave it in your hands? I’d like to know if this move was Chess? Or Checkers?