I can think of just two reasons why BYU should consider going back to the Mountain West Conference: Hawaii and San Diego.
Otherwise, they should treat their old league like a pair of high school pants: something they outgrew.
The impetus behind leaving the MWC was money and exposure. How much could that have changed in two seasons since BYU became an independent? BYU gets four times as much money, and at least that much more exposure from its contract with ESPN.
Tough as life is as an independent, rejoining the MWC isn't a measurable upgrade.
After a relatively quiet autumn, an alarm sounded on Monday when it was reported that Maryland and Rutgers were moving to the Big Ten. Looks like more realignment. Meanwhile, the battered Big East has been relegated to one of five conferences that will vie for a single-access bowl slot. According to an ESPN story, San Diego State, Boise State and BYU have talked with the Mountain West about a reunion, since that league is also in the "Group of Five" conferences.
The thinking is that as long as both the Big East and MWC have the same (minor) access to the national playoffs, why travel halfway to France to compete?
On the bright side, a return for BYU could mean a return to playing games in Hawaii and San Diego. Football road trips don't get any better than that. Balmy breezes, lapping waves, warm sun ...
Hey, wake up, Poindexter!
You've been dreaming again!
BYU would have little reason to return to the Mountain West. Been there, abandoned that. I can't picture BYU showing up, hat in hand, asking for readmission to a mid-major conference any more than America asking to rejoin the British Empire.
At this point — and every other point until it's a done deal — this is all speculation. BYU said so on Monday and I tend to believe it thus far. The Cougars have been talking with UNLV about their recent two-game agreement and undoubtedly spoke with both the conference and other teams about scheduling more games.
That's not the same thing as talking about getting remarried.
BYU has a deal with ESPN until at least 2018, which is an eternity in the realignment era. The Cougars get a reported $4 million annually, compared to their old $1 million with the MWC.
Beyond that, they get exposure.
There might be security in a conference, but there's also at least some boredom: New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado State and San Jose State in the middle of BYU's schedule?
Please, get me some No Doz and a Mountain Dew.
Rejoining the MWC might provide easier access to smaller bowls, but as Bronco Mendenhall pointed out, the Cougars would have to go undefeated either way to reach the playoffs. The last time an undefeated season happened was 1984.
As for the tough job of booking November games, it's likely BYU will be playing MWC schools anyway. Last week it signed a two-game deal with UNLV, starting in 2014, both tentatively set in November. BYU also has Hawaii tentatively scheduled for the next three years, two of those games after October. Utah State is another possible late-season opponent.
By playing teams like Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, Utah, Nebraska and Texas in the early season, followed by MWC teams in the late season, BYU could yet survive independence.
There is no monetary reason, no exposure reason, no competitive reason, no big bowl reason and only a partial scheduling reason to join the MWC.
There's mainly a weather reason, and only if San Diego State comes back from its Big East venture.106 comments on this story
With that in mind, the Cougars should schedule road trips to Hawaii and San Diego on alternating years. Also, they should play New Mexico and UNLV once in awhile.
And never play at Wyoming again.
BYU left the MWC for money, flexibility and exposure; rejoining won't improve any of those. If I were the Cougars I'd book the Hotel del Coronado and the Waikiki Hyatt Regency at the earliest chance. I'd also get a beach towel, sunglasses and some Buffett music on the iPod.
Then I'd tell the MWC we love being friends, we just don't want to be family.