Thursday, February 23, 2012

Independence vs. Big 12 vs. Big East

Honestly, I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to the hoopla that's been going on in recent months about the possibility of BYU joining the Big 12 or Big East -- mainly because I don't really know much about any other teams besides BYU (the main exception being my dad's alma mater, Michigan. Go blue!). I don't know if it's a good idea to put BYU up against specific teams because I don't know much about the other teams, especially those in the faraway lands of Big 12 and Big East. However, it was requested by my lone blog follower (shout out to Frank!) that I write a post about it, so I did some research. It seems that there are several advantages and disadvantages to all the options, and as I write this, I'm not sure which one I favor. But maybe I'll know by the time I'm done typing...

Pros of Football Independence:
  • Exposure. We get to be on ESPN a lot and have the rights for our home games to be re-run on BYUTV. Surprisingly, that's the only pro I can think of. I'm not really against independence per se, but it doesn't appear to have a ton of advantages. Huh...
Cons of Football Independence: 
  • Late night games (because of the TV deal). I've been to all but 2 of the home football games since 2004. The occasional night game was okay and usually only happened once per season, but in 2011, the first year of independence, they were almost ALL night games. And it got old and cold. Especially toward the end of the season, when it was freaking freezing out there. Most people say it's worth it to be on ESPN, but I seriously question that. How many people on the east coast actually stay up until 2am to finish watching one of our football games? Who cares if it's on nationally if fewer people are able or willing to watch it because it doesn't start until after they're asleep? As someone living in Provo, I personally don't care if we're on ESPN. I just want to watch my Cougars during normal hours when the sun is out and I'm awake. It was fine in previous years with the MWC. However, not having games on TV at all is a big problem-- and one that is possible in the Big 12 or Big East.
  • Sucky schedules. Aren't you excited about playing San Jose State and New Mexico State every year for eternity? Yeah, me neither. Our home games were particularly boring in 2011, and they aren't going to get much better in 2012. Having to create your own schedules from scratch leads to playing nothing schools. We might get some easy wins, but it's not very impressive.
  • No conference championship to play for. Since a national championship is pretty much impossible, it would be nice to at least have something in the regular season to play for besides (yawn) bowl eligibility.
 Pros of Joining the Big 12 or Big East:
  • Automatic BCS bowl eligibility.
  • Playing bigger and better teams.
  • Better recruits. If we joined in all sports instead of just football, Jabari Parker would probably be more likely to come to Provo. And I really, really, really want him to. Really, really, REALLY.
 Cons of Joining the Big 12 or the Big East:
  • We'd get our butts kicked every week in football, especially in the Big 12. And losing sucks, no matter who you're playing. It's just not fun to watch. 'Nuff said.
  • Some games may not be televised.
  • The BCS sucks. The end.
So what's my conclusion? Hmmm... still a tough one. I think I'm going to rule in favor of the Big East. We are less likely to lose every game than we would be in the Big 12, but still have eligibility for BCS bowls, just in case. Ideally, I think it would be best to join the Big East but find a way to keep the rights to air most of our games on BYUTV. But I don't even know if that's possible. That's my opinion, but I'm not Tom Holmoe, so my opinion doesn't matter. I guess we'll see what happens...


  1. Wow, Tasha! You and I see eye-to-eye on this. In my experience, the ESPN TV contract isn't that big of a deal to season ticket holders who get punished with late games and a very weak home schedule.

    On the other hand, Cougar fans who can't make it to the stadium appreciate the TV time. Like you said, it's probably only the Cougar faithful watching the late season games, however.

    In my experience, both season ticket holders AND far-away Cougar fans would gladly give up the current re-broadcast rights for an overall better schedule in a BCS conference. The problem with this, however, is I don't know if the Church Education Board of Trustees would be as willing to cede current BYUtv broadcast rights to a conference in the future.

    Another "con" of independence I see: relevence on the national stage. Let's face it: if BYU loses one game, national interest and coverage immediately plummets, as does fan morale. Of course, the same can be said if BYU were in a BCS conference and they lost a lot of games.

    I think many fans are willing to take the conference "risk." I hate the BCS, but unfortunately there is nothing we as fans can do about it. So either BYU goes undefeated in independence (which is hard to do,) or BYU joins a BCS conference and works hard to win the conference championship.

    In the mean time, I think Bronco (I love the guy,) needs to do the fans a favor and stop talking about winning national championships because it's not going to happen to an independent BYU. Instead, I think fan satisfaction will drastically improve if Bronco focus on the cliche "one game at a time," and "beat Utah" approach.

    The only thing I disagree with you on is BYU joining the Big East. The Big East has basically become a conference of leftovers who are content to add "traditional powerhouses" like San Diego St., Navy, and Temple. No doubt, for basketball, the Big East would be a home run, but we all know that football is king.

    BYU was courted early in the formation days of the Big 12 but due to what can seriously be considered anti-Mormon sentiment (thanks, Baylor,) and BYU's insistence on not leaving Utah behind (thanks, Pukes,) BYU was left out. However, Texas and Oklahoma are VERY high on adding BYU, and I've heard rumblings that even Baylor is starting to warm to the idea of adding a Mormon school that brings tremendous market value and national fan base. Ultimately, I think the BCS conference that presents the best fit for BYU is the Big 12.

    I safely assume that both Cecil Samuelson and Tom Holmoe, while content with independence and the WCC, are hoping a Big 12 invite comes. Both have seen, and Tom Holmoe has even admitted that scheduling as an independent is harder than anticipated. But even if that invite comes, BYU's fate will be in the hands of the REAL "Big 12."

  2. Thanks for the detailed comment! Like I said in the post, I don't know a lot about teams in other conferences, so it's hard for me to predict how BYU would fare against them. You might be right that the Big 12 would be better for the Cougs in the long run. However, I now understand a lot better how difficult of a situation this is for Tom Holmoe, et al. There is no perfect solution (not even close), and every option has a lot of downsides. I'm sure glad I'm not the one who would have to make the decision if another offer comes!