Guest commentary: A look at why BYU won't count in the plus one for the ACC and SEC
Matt Gade, Deseret News
The story broke weeks ago and everyone has thrown in their two cents while I have held my tongue. Since I actually have a strong opinion on this topic, it's about time for me to put it out there.
First off, the part about Craig Thompson and the Mountain West Conference won't be discussed at length here because they don't matter. The only reason I can see that Thompson — the conference commissioner — spoke up was to get a rise out of BYU and its fans and nothing more.
Mountain West Conference teams need games against BYU as much or more than the Cougars do. They need the notoriety of playing BYU and more importantly, they need the air time.
As for the SEC and ACC not adding the Cougars to their plus-one systems for scheduling, it was no-brainer in my mind as to why they both said no. And as a Cougar fan myself, I saw it as a badge of honor for BYU. It doesn't mean that BYU can't hang with the likes of Virginia; Vanderbilt; Georgia Tech, which BYU beat the last two seasons; North Carolina State; and Kentucky like many have speculated. It means the two conferences are afraid of the Cougars in some small way and don't want to share their piece of the pie with them.
Before scoffing at this and not finishing out the rest of the article at least take a second to follow my logic here.
First, ask yourself: What is the only way a school not in one of the five power conferences get a seat at the big-boy table (both in the past and going forward)? Winning all of their games of course.
Now ask yourself: What happened to all the BCS Busters when they did so? Not a single one had the opportunity to play for a national championship. Not TCU, Boise State, Hawaii or even two very powerful Utah teams. Why is that the case? The big boys didn't want to share their spoils with the so-called little guys of college football.
Now to the most important part — the reason why. The explanation we have always been given about why Cinderella couldn't dance at the ball is the vaunted strength of schedule. That has been, and always will be, the go-to argument as to why the little guys don't deserve a shot.
Now here is where BYU comes into play in that equation. If the two conferences make the Cougars a legitimate plus-one option, they can't use strength of schedule as the argument why BYU shouldn't be included on the off-chance the Cougars have an amazing year. The Cougars already play some of the big boys in college football on a regular basis, but would no doubt be able to play a few more each year, if they counted.
If the Cougars were to run the table with eight power conference teams on the schedule and games against the second-tier elites like Utah State, Boise State, Houston and Central Florida then there is no way that the committee could limit BYU from a shot at the playoffs. So why give BYU the chance when there is no reason to? The SEC and ACC don't want to give anyone else an opportunity — even if it's very small — to take a spot in a playoff set up for them.
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