Dick Harmon: Big 12 not looking to expand, but BYU's a candidate in waiting
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy, who is an Oklahoma State graduate, brings things full circle with a reminder: no matter what BYU brings to the table, the Big 12 isn’t hungry right now.
“I want to be clear that I’ve been told multiple times by multiple sources the Big 12 isn’t interested in BYU or adding any other non-Power 5 schools for that matter,” he said.
“Adding any non-Power 5 league school to the Big 12 would reduce the league’s revenue per school. John Currie of Kansas State and Oliver Luck of West Virginia told me last month there has been 'zero conversation' about expansion.”
Concluded the ESPN college football expert, “If the Big 12 was forced to add schools, BYU would be attractive because of the quality of the football program. BYU would be very competitive in the league. Unfortunately unless the Big Ten expands to 16 and subsequently forces the other Power 5 leagues to expand (SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12), I don’t believe BYU will get that opportunity.”
In the meantime, BYU is acting like a Power 5 program. This week Arizona athletic director Greg Bryne said the Wildcats signed a three-game deal with BYU and considered it a contract with a Power 5 team. BYU's brand and tradition is Power 5, but it rolls without a Power 5 tribe. It is ready to meet any standard of NCAA autonomy that Power 5 conferences expect to vote on in August. It is also a free agent, unhindered by any huge monetary defection penalties imposed by a conference.
In other words, the school is an independent in launch mode and must be undefeated to get any sniff of a playoff berth or national title in football.
And that’s how it's been in Provo forever.
Brandon Gurney contributed research to this analysis.
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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