PROVO — Talk of conference realignment continues on, even though the Southeastern Conference announced over the weekend it will not be expanding at this time.
There's plenty of speculation and analysis surrounding BYU, which is entering its first year of independence.
Should Texas A&M bolt for the SEC, the Cougars would bring long-term stability to the Big 12, writes columnist Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman:
"BYU is a bona fide football school. LaVell Edwards Stadium seats 64,000, and the Cougars fill them. BYU has a national following, thanks to the Mormon church, and even has its own network. BYUtv is on a bunch of cable systems (Cox included), which is more than you can say for the Longhorn Network. The Cougars also play good football. They beat the Sooners on a neutral field just two Septembers ago. BYU has been held back by geography and religion. BYU toiled in the Mountain West Conference (or its predecessors) from 1938 until this year, when the frustrated Cougars declared independence. The Pac-10 is not interested in BYU because of Mormon conservatism. The Big Eight/Big 12 was a long way away – it's 1,118 miles from Oklahoma City to Provo, Utah. But the world is a smaller place when TCU can be in the Big East, when A&M and South Carolina can share a conference, when the Oklahoma schools were invited to the Pac-10. BYU would enhance the Big 12's television package and its gridiron reputation. BYU doesn't compete on Sundays in any sports, so the non-football sports would have some issues, but the Big 12 really has no other choice. Brigham Young is the best option."
Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World writes that BYU could be on top of the Big 12's list of possible replacements: "BYU is entering its first season as an independent after breaking away from the Mountain West Conference. So no league would suffer at trauma if the Cougars are invited to the Big 12's party. Many people caution you that BYU is "Texas Lite" when it comes to arrogance and being a conference's diva. Many MWC members reportedly were not sad when the Cougars declared their independence. But others believe BYU left the MWC because it thought a BCS conference invitation was coming from the then-Pac-10. Oops, Utah and Colorado got those invites, leaving the Cougars to claim independence was always their intention. BYU is a "name" school in several sports, and has excellent facilities. The Cougars also started their own network long before The Longhorn Network was a twinkle in Dodds' eye. If those Big 12 schools not named Nebraska, Colorado and Texas A&M found a way to co-exist with the overbearing Longhorns for 15 years, putting up with BYU's high maintenance would be a breeze."
In other news, BYU's season-opening opponent, Ole Miss, has lost a tight end to a season-ending knee injury.