Brad Rock: Cougars' possible return to the MWC makes for good fiction
Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY —
My wife just cannot get enough of classic books/films set in the English countryside. She thinks Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters were better than Red Smith.
I try to pretend I'm interested, but the part that kills me is where the lovers get separated and don't see each other for months or years. After a lot of drama, they find their way back into each other's arms and realize they were meant to be together.
Or something like that.
All I know is there seems to be a lot of mist and dangerous cliffs in the stories, which is kind of like navigating the college football landscape. You have to wonder if the Boise State Broncos have ever read these books. Possibly. They left the Mountain West Conference for the Big East, but before that marriage occurred, they reunited with their old flame.
As for whether BYU will do the same after two years as a football independent, I think it's fairly safe to say no. Fairly safe as in "not today, anyway."
It's hard to project too far ahead when it comes to college football. Whoever imagined teams would leave the Big East like a burning building? In the latest realignment tremor, BSU backed down on its plans to join the Big East and declared it won't be departing the MWC after all. It's staying where it is … was … intends to be … maybe … thanks to a television deal that allows the Broncos more money from televised home and bowl games than anyone else in the conference.
This raises the question of whether BYU could also rejoin the conference and do something similar. Answer: The MWC already has one diva, why would it add another? How many special exceptions can a conference have?
Meanwhile, since BYU currently gets 100 percent of its TV money, why share it with the Mountain West?
This is a breakup that needs to stay broken up.
Two-and-a-half years ago, I said BYU should get back in the Mountain West. That was then.
You might say it was before Jane left the manor.
It was never a completely smooth pairing to begin. Mountain West members resented BYU for dominating decision-making, even though the Cougars made the biggest share of the money. But now you have to ask how happy would those schools be if BYU came back.
With BSU breaking its agreement with the Big East, speculation is that San Diego State will soon follow. It too was once a Mountain West regular. Considering the instability of the Big East, odds are good SDSU will come back to the MWC.
Sounds like a regular old-home week.
Don't plan on the Cougars RSVPing, though. If the Cougars have shown anything in recent months, it's that they aren't in a rush.
There are reasons BYU went independent, high among them was its dissatisfaction with the TV arrangement. Meanwhile, a conference needs one big TV calling card to get a nice deal, and that card is BSU. The Cougars would certainly be a big player, but the MWC doesn't desperately need BYU anymore. In terms of TV money, BYU doesn't desperately need the MWC.
BYU left feeling the MWC hadn't honored its commitment on TV revenue. Conversely, the MWC schools felt BYU was disloyal.
If nothing else, BYU's dismissal of Big East overtures made the school look smart. A year ago, everyone was wondering whether BYU should take the leap. Now it's apparent the Cougars would have been jumping aboard a doomed ship.
None of this is written in stone. If the last few years have shown anything, it's that formerly stable situations can deteriorate quickly. Enemies become friends and vice versa. Some say BYU joining the MWC would get the Cougars closer to a shot at the national championship. Either way, BYU would need to go undefeated to get a chance at a title.
So hold off the invitations for that MWC-BYU reunion for now.
Those kinds of things only happen once in awhile. And usually in fiction.
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