BYU Media Day: The Cougars are happy with independence, but are ready to join a Power 5 conference
Ravell Call, Deseret News
While BYU didn't release any breaking news per se during Monday's state of the program portion of Media Day, athletic director Tom Holmoe and head football coach Bronco Mendenhall made a lot of illuminating comments on a variety of subjects. Here's a list of some of the main points from Holmoe and Mendenhall:
BYU sent two clear messages about its status as an independent. First, BYU is happy with independence for the time being. "I like where we are right now," Holmoe said. Holmoe went on to point out how much the football team has been able to travel across the country and how often it has been on national TV recently.
That said, BYU's second clear message was that BYU is ready to join a "Power 5" conference should the opportunity present itself. "We're in a position right now where we're ready to jump and get into whatever we need," Holmoe said.
Mendenhall was even more blunt about his feelings on joining a "Power 5" conference. "I like independence as a great place to launch from, meaning that we're making sincere and absolutely credible strides from the five to the Power 5."
When Mendenhall was asked about his comments about BYU wanting to join the Big 12 to the Austin American-Statesman, he simply responded, "I thought somebody needed to say it and say it from the football coach perspective."
It looks like BYU is doing its best as an independent to make itself attractive to a confernece such as the Big 12 at this moment.
Scheduling ACC and SEC teams
Holmoe and Mendenhall also addressed the new scheduling rules from both the SEC and ACC that don't count BYU as a "Power 5" opponent. "We're continuing to schedule and talk with schools from those conferences," Holmoe said. "We will continue to play teams from every conference."
Holmoe even went farther. "I think the fun thing about it is that they're calling us to want to play those games. So, even though that came out, and it seemed to make a big hubbub with people, it really hasn't changed the business of scheduling those teams in those conferences."
It's safe to say that Holmoe isn't worried about scheduling ACC and SEC teams despite those conferences' new rules. He even hinted that there could be some games against teams in those conferences in the near future: "There's a couple games that we're going to have some fun announcing, and I think that will settle many people's minds."
BYU addressed its internal investigation on improper benefits as well.
"BYU went through a complete internal investigation and turned over that information to the NCAA as prescribed," Holmoe said. "We've been waiting for what that response will be."
It also doesn't seem like either Mendenhall or Holmoe is worried about what's going to happen. "I'm at complete peace and kind of proud with how the organization has handled it," Mendenhall said.
Holmoe also noted that these violations are not major. "This is a potential violation that would be in the lower category. This isn't a major issue."
While BYU already has 12 games on its 2015 schedule, both Holmoe and Mendenhall hinted that not everything is set in stone just yet.
"Bronco and I are working on a couple of games that we've already settled on that might change," Holmoe said. "Because of ESPN, we're able to flip flop games or change games or get rid of games or add games that we never would have done before that."
Right now, BYU has seven road games to just five at home in 2015. It sounds like that could change at some point.
"We're working on a change to that season. We'll see if it comes or not," Holmoe said with a smile.
Pac-12 November games
One common complaint about BYU's independence is its lack of marque games late in the season, and Holmoe addressed that as well.
"We've got some good arrangements with the Pac-12 where we've partnered on some November games," Holmoe said. "They have some unique situations where they have some longstanding traditions with Notre Dame and Stanford and USC, so we figured out a way to help them out and help us out in November."
Partnership with the American Athletic Conference
BYU has had a good relationship with the American Athletic Conference, particularly as it relates to the new Miami Beach Bowl. BYU will play an opponent from the American if it is bowl eligible.
"I like the affiliation with the American Athletic Conference," Holmoe said. "They have some good teams. We're playing a bunch of their teams in the near future. They're good, solid football teams."
On joining a "Group of 5" conference
BYUtv's Dave McCann asked Holmoe about whether or not BYU would consider a conference outside of the Power 5. "Right now I feel that we're in the best position we can be in," Holmoe said. "The most important thing for us is to play great football and improve the BYU Cougar brand. If we do that and continue to do the things our program is based on, we're going to be in the right position at the right time."
Sorry, Mountain West. It doesn't sound like BYU is considering going back anytime soon.
Those are the main points from the state of the program. Stay tuned for more updates all day right here.
Lafe Peavler is a staff sports writer for the Deseret News. Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.
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