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Peavler: Busting college football conference realignment myths surrounding BYU

Published: Wednesday, June 11 2014 1:50 p.m. MDT

BYU wants to join the Big 12 Next » 1 of 9 « Prev
This one is obvious now, but there was a time where some BYU fans claimed that members of the BYU administration and board of directors wanted BYU to stay independent no matter what conference came knocking.

Bronco Mendenhall's comments to the Austin American-Statesman showed that yes, BYU wants in the Big 12.

“We would love to be in the Big 12,” Mendenhall said. “I would love to be a member of that conference. I think that would make a lot of sense. In fact, if that was your headline, that would be great.”

This was clearly a carefully orchestrated move on Mendenhall's part, and there's no doubt BYU administration is behind what Mendenhall said or he wouldn't have said it. Case closed.

Myth confirmed

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311ute
Reno, NV

I must admit that I am impressed with this article. The truth is that nobody knows what is in BYU"s future, that's what makes the situation so intriguing, even to us Ute fans.

I think it would be great for the Y to get into the Big XII but I just don't see it happening. It would love to have the Utah/BYU rivalry back while playing in two separate P5 conferences (see GA and GTech, and USC and Clemson).

Enjoy the roller coaster ride that is independence!

PAC12Fan
South Jordan, UT

Most of the rumors sound like they came from overzealous BYU fans. There is a short article on ESPN about realignment into the BIG 12. The commissioner is happy where they are right now and aren't looking to add any more teams.

If BYU can't get into the Big 12, they are better staying put. Something will happen over the next few years as BYU does bring a lot to the table. It sounds like BYU simply needs to stay put and schedule whoever they can for the next 3-10 years.

Kaladin
Northern, CO

U fans with blinders on will disagree with all of these, even though every one of them is absolutely true. BYU will end up in the upper echelon of teams when the dust settles.

truthsandwich
RANDOLPH, UT

Actually a pretty good article, though number 9 was hardly myth-busted. Anything could happen.

I am one Utah fan who has been hoping for BYU to join the Big 12, as I think it would be great for football in this state.

It doesn't seem that will be happening any time soon though, judging by the Big 12 giving BYU a Big slap in the face today.

DPTCougar
Eagle Mountain, UT

Let's face it, BYU needs to win their games. Why did Utah get invited into the PAC? Well besides the fact that they got chosen because Texas didn't want it, they won. 2 undefeated seasons with BCS bowl wins got them invited. It wasn't because they sell tickets or because they're a "research institution", it was because they won. Do I like BYU independent? No. But until they prove by winning that they belong, then they don't belong.

Ronald Uharriet
SWun City, Ca.

Nothing that I am about to say is new. It has all been heard by others, from others, but I want to repeat some of the things that I believe will help us.

1. We must get rid of the perception, true or not, but definitely perceived that we are a team that is hard to get along with, and that must change to be a team that is a good neighbor.

2. Metaphor or not, we need to start sending nice greeting cards to those that have the power to allow us to be significant among the Power 5 Conference Elite.

3. We must shed, our true or not, but perceived arrogance.

4. We must learn how to talk to other coaches and to other commissioners, and to other players that are not of our fold, and in doing so, we must learn what not to do, what not to say, what not to write, and what not to be, as perceived by these other people.

5. We must learn that negotiation is a two way street and does not go all of our own way.

IndeMak
South Jordan, UT

BYU will get in but need to win more games and sell out every game. Can't have the only two sellout of the year be Utah and Stadium of Fire.

MyPerspective
Salt Lake City, UT

DPTCougar
Eagle Mountain, UT

"Why did Utah get invited into the PAC? Well besides the fact that they got chosen because Texas didn't want it, they won. 2 undefeated seasons with BCS bowl wins got them invited. It wasn't because they sell tickets or because they're a "research institution"...

Continual denial that the University of Utah is a Pac-12 school and denying that the Pac-10 required schools to be research institutions does not make it true. The only message conveyed by your post is that byu has nothing to offer the Pac-12.

Interesting article. Should put an end to the notion that the Big12 wanted byu at one point. Didn't want byu, don't want byu, will never want byu. But...don't let that stop you from campaigning, Bronco. LOL! Also, the MWC would won't take byu back, either. So, the feeling is mutual and everyone (byu and MWC) are happy. Hurray!

Cougars84
Draper, UT

Great conversation here. I will be the first to admit that as a cougar fan, I am jealous of Utah’s PAC 12 membership. I would love to see us back in a conference. But if it’s a choice of going back to the Mountain West or being independent, I choose independence. As an independent I have been to South Bend and Madison. Next year I am going to Texas. The following year I am planning to go to Lincoln. That is a far cry from going to Laramie. I am glad that BYU is starting to campaign to get in a conference.

Go Cougars!!!

jazzer
St. George, UT

This is great news!

I am a big Utah fan but I also like BYU as well. I hope they can get into a big conference. Think of all the games us fans could attend!! If you hated fans want to care more about fighting with one another, that's fine but if you be positive I think this is great. I would probably buy season tickets to both schools to know that each week, good teams will continue to come to town.

I hope something pans out!!!

eastcoastcoug
Danbury, CT

I'm with DPTCougar. Let's stop talking about what conference we should join and get 'er done on the field for once. We have a horrible record over decades vs. quality competition (sure, a big win once in a while). We've talked like we deserved better since we had our behinds handed to us by Indiana in Holiday Bowl 1. We thought we deserved a better matchup. Remember, people??

Utah, BSU and TCU all won 2 BCS bowls. How many have we won?

Big J
Bountiful, UT

# 9 is very plausible. In spite of what many BYU fans think. BYU could very easily be left out.

#5 & #6 are completely backwards. It would make a great deal of since to rejoin the MWC, competition wise and location wise. I really do not see any future for BYU in the AAC. It just does not make sense.

To Greg Wrubell – I do not care what you Tweet. Scheduling continues to be a problem and will only get worse. There is going back…. but it will take a little humility on BYU’s part.

The independence thing has only worked to help BYU’s pocket book. It has not brought any positive exposure. With the exception of BYU fans, national views of BYU Football are lower than they have ever been.

I am glad these are not Utah’s problems. Utah’s problem is learning to win in the challenging PAC-12. Luckily they keep collecting the $ while doing so.

Go Utes!

Who am I sir?
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I really have to admire BYU, if for no other reason than its ability to manipulate the news media. Daily we have seen articles about BYU's situation as an independent verses a member of a conference. Certainly a topic of interest to local sports fans (need I say especially BYU fans?) and one that the media could/should look at.

All this diversion of attention has persuaded (willingly or unintentionally) the media to ignore the allegations of NCAA violations currently (for several months?) under investigation. When was the last word regarding the status of this issue? Anything within the past 2 plus weeks? Granted this could be absolutely nothing, or minor, or possibly major!

BYU's ability to divert attention - grade A+
Media's coverage of this issue - either incomplete or failure.

BYUalum
South Jordan, UT

These are the most sensible and respectful comments from Utah fans I have ever seen on a BYU post. I am truly encouraged by your maturity.

Who am I sir?
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Enjoyed the article. A few comments.

"The one and only semi-plausible scenario where BYU goes to the Pac-12 is if power conferences become superconferences and the Pac-12 isn't able to take Texas and Oklahoma teams to move to 16."

I would throw out the possibility the PAC-12 might also look to Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Kansas, and Kansas State as two additional members.

"..plays better schedules than it would be able to do if it had stayed in the Mountain West."

MWC teams schedule 8 conference games each year. Each member then can schedule 4 others. Last year and one in the future are the only years BYU has scheduled 4 or more games against the major conference opponents. So as a member of the MWC BYU could have theoretically scheduled the same opponents. In addition, they would be playing Air Force Academy (I always admired them),Fresno State, Utah State, Wyoming (I know but a rivalry!) etc. Wouldn't you really play these natural (geographically) rivals rather than Savannah State, Middle Tennessee, a couple of time and then on to similar opponents? And many of these games would have been home games in November!

(One more comment to follow)

Jealous U
Alpine, UT

As usual, most of the comments on another BYU article are from our BYU-obsessed little brothers on the hill.

BYU won't be left on the outside looking in when all is said and done, unless the "in" is only a select cadre of 32 elite teams, in which case, the Utes will also be left on the outside looking in.

xam
Provo, UT

@ Jealous U "As usual, most of the comments on another BYU article are from our BYU-obsessed little brothers on the hill"

Wow Jealous, you do realize that U fans are actually in support of BYU getting in to a P5 conference. Add me to that list, it's been a blast playing a PAC12 schedule even though Utah hasn't been very competitive.

Just think how cool it would be in the same weekend to have USC at Rice Eccles and Oklahoma at LES. Take a deep breath Jealous U.

JayDee
West Jordan, UT

This question goes to the heart of DPT's post and what seems to be a general consensus about criteria for making it into a P5 conference: How did the Colorado Buffaloes performance on the field/court garner them an invite from the PAC 10? What choice was Utah when the last round of decision making took place? What have the Utes done in the last three years in any sport to justify the PAC 10's selection if so much was weighted on athletic stature added to the conference? If conference membership is truly so fixated on wins, why aren't perennial cellar dwellers given the boot?

Uteology
East Salt Lake City, Utah

FACT: BYU has been in discussions with the Big 12 for 40 years, how else can Big 12 claim BYU is arrogant?

"If BYU really wants to get into the Big 12m it has to overcome the perception among Big 12 administrators ... It has nothing to do with the Mormon background, the faith-based part has nothing to do with it ... [but] there is a thought among Big 12 administrators that BYU is hard to work with. I’ll tell you point blank, a lot of people think Texas is arrogant. Some Big 12 people think BYU is arrogant, as well. These are perceptions that have to be overcome before BYU, in my mind, gets a serious audience with people in the Big 12." -- Brian Davis (American-Statesman)

BYU is a perfect fit for the Big 12 where like at BYU:

FACT: Creationism
MYTH: Climate Change

SoonerUte
Salt Lake City, UT

Lafe Peavler - "there's no doubt BYU administration is behind what Mendenhall said or he wouldn't have said it."

Why is there "no doubt"? Can Bronco not have his own opinion and freely express it? As a football coach, of course Bronco wants to coach at a higher level.

Who is "the administration" supposedly behind Bronco's words? Is that Tom Holmoe? What about his boss? Before you mark it "Myth Confirmed", please provide a quote (or even a rumor of a quote) from somebody above Bronco Mendenhall.

Nice article though -- exactly what was needed.

CA. reader
Rocklin, CA

As always, I put my faith and trust in those who have the ultimate say in all things BYU. Those guys keep hitting the nail on the head in just about everything. Need I remind you who they are?

311ute
Reno, NV

@JayDee, let me answer those questions for you.

1)Colorado got invited because it is a great school. Colorado brings the Denver market, which is huge. Colorado also has a history of winning, it's just been the past 7-8 years that they have struggled on the football field. In basketball they are pretty good. They are also research school which fits. I used to live in Denver, CU has a huge following. But you are right, nothing on the field lately would indicate that they deserved an invite

2) Utah was a second choice, the P12 would have rather had the Texas and Oklahoma schools.

3) Nothing on the field will show you that Utah deserved an invite. Utah's two BCS bowls helped but I would not see it as THE reason why. The conference isn't concerned about Utah's lack of conference wins, if they did they would make they would make the conference schedule 8 games. Utah played everyone tough last year.

4)As stated before, its not about football wins. Not all the PAC 12 teams are good at football, see Cal and Colorado. Not all teams are good at basketball, see USC. Utah is awesome at gymnastics. Conference affiliation is much more than wins.

mncougar
Stillwater, MN

Good article that does little to create much optimism that BYU will get into the Big 12 or any top conference. I love seeing more BYU games on television now, but that is the only benefit I have been able to see come out of football independence. The abrupt move to independence felt like a knee jerk reaction when Utah was accepted into the PAC 12. I have come to grips with the fact that BYU is a good mid-major program that once a generation can make a run at the top 10. If BYU could continue to be widely televised, I would favor the Cougars being part of a relevant conference (even the MWC) over the current situation.

rlsintx
Plano, TX

I find it kind of ironic that conferences like the PAC-12 have as a bedrock requirement that members be research universities (which basically means at the graduate level) - when NCAA sports are almost exclusively undergraduate endeavors. Line up on the field and no one cares if your med school students are filling the stands, or the young people who are going to teach your children and grandchildren in K-12.

I like BYU's approach; something good will come of it.

JayDee
West Jordan, UT

@311ute

Thanks for your honest and sincere response.

Perhaps I can extrapolate the following: BYU is a great school; it would bring not only the Utah market, but other national/international viewers; it has a history of winning; in basketball they are pretty good.

If we take two Texas schools, and two Oklahoma schools, and then CU first, then the U was the sixth invitee. Of course, BYU was never invited.

Additionally, they (BYU) have a geographical and cultural (religious) connection/affiliation up and down the coast and in Arizona. Nothing about their performance on the field would/should disqualify them. BYU's overall program (those Olympic sports touted by the Conference of Champions) historically surpassed Utah's.

Their focus is a teaching, but not research institution, yet they have nationally recognized academics and post-graduate programs.

I'm not arguing for BYU's inclusion into the PAC12, just more wondering about reasons for an obvious exclusion. As a Cougar fan I am perplexed by some U fans insistence that the U somehow earned the invite on the field and BYU was not worthy.

Your response was refreshing. Thanks.

NightOwlAmerica
SALEM, OR

Yet another article where some BYU fans bring up Wyoming. Not having to play them every year etc. They hired a ringer and new coaching staff. Be careful. Craig Bhol turned N. Dakota State into a D2 powerhouse. Proved he could also beat D1 schools. He was doing on a D2 level with players that Boise St. is at D1.

Absolutely classic to see Wyoming with a better record than BYU in the next few years. It's possible.

NightOwlAmerica
SALEM, OR

311ute
Reno, NV said:

"@JayDee, let me answer those questions for you.

1)Colorado got invited because it is a great school. Colorado brings the Denver market, which is huge. Colorado also has a history of winning, it's just been the past 7-8 years that they have struggled on the football field. In basketball they are pretty good. They are also research school which fits. I used to live in Denver, CU has a huge following. But you are right, nothing on the field lately would indicate that they deserved an invite"

Colorado already planned to leave the Big 12 when Nebraska made its intentions known. They were both fed up with Texas ruling the conference.
And yes, CU has a research program tied to federal grant funding that was in line with the PAC 12.

Utes11
Salt Lake City, Utah

Two Big 12 sources told the American-Statesman on Thursday the idea of adding BYU has little support for various reasons.

Some league presidents and athletic directors believe BYU is too difficult to work with. The Cougars cannot play athletic events on Sundays because of their Mormon faith. And if the Big 12 ever did expand, it would be East, not West. The league would want to find someone close to West Virginia, thereby adding to its East Coast footprint.

It's simple people, the "Big 5" conferences don't want to deal with the "No play on Sundays"
Why go through that hassle?

EdGrady
Idaho Falls, ID

The administrator(s) that pushed for independence should be fired.

ekute
Layton, UT

byu made it's own bed.
The move to independence was short sighted, if not knee-jerk.

Am I starting to detect a hint of humility?

Why would I?
Farmington, UT

Why would I not be surprised by DPTCougar's comment? Utah got into the PAC 12 when the situation developed that Colorado accepted an invitation and then the 5 teams from the BIG 12 declined, leaving the PAC with 11 and they needed a 12th team. So Utah was #12 of 12, and that's how they have been playing for the past three years---#12 of 12. Hardly anyone outside SLC even knows they went to two bcs bowl games, who they even played, or who won. They didn't win the championship in the MWC very often or yet in he PAC 12, in any sport except women's gymnastics. The PAC 12 isn't the type of conference BYU should join anyway. Just beat them during the year and let them moan about it all they want. BYU has defeated more PAC teams that Utah. Fact!

zmillion2
West Jordan, UT

It's hard to say what's going to happen. As the Board of Trustees are the General Authorities and some Auxiliary leaders a big thing with going independent was for Missionary purposes. The church loves that the team is playing all over the Country holding fire-sides and spreading the word wherever they are playing. I just don't trust that if the decision came to joining a conference for "football relevance" is something the Board of Trustees is willing to take. Although it is good to see that Bronco was as open as he was with his comments about joining the BIG-12. I doubt he would say it the way he did if he didn't know for sure that is was something the Board would accept if offered to us.

BlueHusky
Mission Viejo, CA

Personally, I like independence. Schedule the games with teams all over the country. Who cares about national championships? There are 125 NCAA Div 1 schools. They play 12 games. Assuming 9 in conference games are required, that leaves 3 out of conference games. Many conferences require only 8 in conference games.

So for the sake of arithmetic, lets assume that each NCAA team has 3.5 OOC games to fill. That means that BYU has 437 potential games. They only need 12. That is only 2.7% of the total available games (each year). Manageable.

How many NCAA Div1 teams have EVER won a national championship? Counting only AP NCs since 1970 (Wikipedia):
Nebraska 3
USC 4
Notre Dame 2
Oklahoma 4
Pittsburgh 1
Alabama 6
Georgia 1
Clemson 1
Penn state 2
Miami 4
BYU 1
Colorado 1
Florida State 3
Florida 3
Michigan 1
Tennessee 1
Ohio State 1
Texas 1
LSU 1
Auburn 1

Only 20 schools have won an AP NC since 1970. BYU is one of them. NC should not be a BYU (or Utah) goal. Ain't gonna ever happen (again).

BYU don't need no stinkin' conference. Play anybody. Lots of fun. Travel to games. Conference is a straitjacket.

Whatsnu
Sandy, UT

zmillion2

"I just don't trust that if the decision came to joining a conference for "football relevance" is something the Board of Trustees is willing to take."

Bronco wasn't just shooting from the hip. He wouldn't have made such a bold statement without already knowing that the BYU Board of Trustees was already on board with the plan.

Flip McFetch
Las Vegas, NV

BYU's housing policy is a significant barrier to gov't $ for research that Utah and many other universities receive.

Big J
Bountiful, UT

@Why would I?
“BYU has defeated more PAC teams that Utah. Fact!”

Just like most uninformed BYU fans you make statements that are completely not true.

Utah’s record vs. PAC-12 teams is 83 W, 121 L, and 6 T for a winning percentage of 39.52% - Utah 2013 Media Guide

BYU’s record vs. PAC-12 Teams excluding Utah is 39 W, 66 L, and 2 T for a winning percentage of 36.45% - BYU Web Site.

Go Utes!

Stringer Bell
Henderson, NV

Re: DPTCougar
Eagle Mountain, UT

"Why did Utah get invited into the PAC? Well besides the fact that they got chosen because Texas didn't want it"

There you go again. What's your source for this statement other than repeated comments by BYU fans? Does the author of this fine article have to list this as a "myth" and then declare "busted"?

Anyway, Utah is in and so is TCU. Utah had two undefeated seasons in four years, was the original BCS buster and won two BCS bowls. BYU can't beat an otherwise winless Virginia. Those aren't myths, those are facts. Sure the transition to a nine conference game schedule has been harder than expected but Utah will be just fine. BYU however, say hello to the AAC.

panamadesnews
Lindon, UT

To Ronald Uharriet: #1, #3 & #5 are, I believe, based on Ute fans statements on the comment boards of BYU articles. These perceptions are also based on BYU fans' comments & responses to those Utes' statements.

If we learn to ignore those comments and learn to be more kind and open minded on our comments, we as BYU fans can make all the difference in the world as to other persons' perception of us and BYU as an organization.

Let us all try much harder. If one of our own crosses the line, let us try to bring him back in line by calling him or her out, but with kindness.

We need to learn to be kind in our posts, at the games and wherever we are. Let us not gloat about a win, nor become defensive in a bad way over a loss. Let us learn to be Christ-like at all times and in all places.

Tomahawk Red
North Salt Lake, UT

DPTCougar
Eagle Mountain, UT

until they prove by winning that they belong, then they don't belong.

---------

Finally a BYU fan who doesn't believe they are owed P5 inclusion, despite the fact that they have done nothing to warrant that inclusion.

Tomahawk Red
North Salt Lake, UT

JayDee
West Jordan, UT
This question goes to the heart of DPT's post and what seems to be a general consensus about criteria for making it into a P5 conference: How did the Colorado Buffaloes performance on the field/court garner them an invite from the PAC 10?

---------

The question actually is what did Colorado do to win inclusion to the Big XII? Pac took them because they were already a power team.

Tomahawk Red
North Salt Lake, UT

JayDee
West Jordan, UT

As a Cougar fan I am perplexed by some U fans insistence that the U somehow earned the invite on the field and BYU was not worthy.

----------

Are you serious with that question?

Utah had two undefeated seasons capped with a BCS victory, including one over a great Alabama team.

What did BYU do during that time that equals Utah's success?

Zero.

BigCougar
Bountiful, UT

@Whoamisir?
"Granted this could be absolutely nothing"

that's generally how it works. If there is anything the news media will exploit it. The fact that it's so dead now speaks volumes. The fact that the local media is dredging up this old garbage about conference re-alignment is a testament to the fact that Sockgate was more like BigWindgate.

This was a waste of time to read. It's all stuff that has already been covered ad nauseum. Nothing new here. The one relevant point was when he referenced Jeremy Fowler's comments. BYU just needs to win and keep scheduling great games with opponents like Texas, Notre Dame, Nebraska, USC, Stanford, Wisconsin, etc.

The college football landscape changes faster than the setting sun. BYU didn't do a good enough job positioning itself the last time there were serious conference changes. Hopefully that's been a lesson learned.

Old But Not Stupid
Moorpark, CA

Big J

"Utah’s problem is learning to win in the challenging PAC-12. Luckily they keep collecting the $ while doing so."

That is all they will ever do in football...collect the $$.

Old But Not Stupid
Moorpark, CA

rlsintx
Plano, TX

"I find it kind of ironic that conferences like the PAC-12 have as a bedrock requirement that members be research universities (which basically means at the graduate level) - when NCAA sports are almost exclusively undergraduate endeavors."

Very good points. However, when people refer to Utah as a "research" university I cannot help but recall the 15 days of Infamy the U enjoyed when Cold Fusion was supposed to solve the World's problems. Furthermore, as one holding a PhD degree from UCLA, I am not impressed by the relevance or integrity of the product produced by these "research" universities. This is one reason I occasionally refer to the elite conference as the PAthetiC-12.

Bluto
Sandy, UT

Utah was included because they needed twelve. Period.

When the Texas/Oklahoma deal blew up, in large part because the Pac wedged out Baylor (by preemptively inviting Colorado) the Pac was stuck with Utah.

BYU is not in the Pac for one simple reason, because they are a Faith Based School.
The discussion ends right there, always has and always will.

The Pac could have had The Texas and Oklahoma Schools, and were willing to risk blowing that deal up, by dumping Baylor, a Baptist school.

BYU is just fine. They have plenty of money and fan support as well as National TV on a Major Network every week and they are working on their scheduling. They are resilient and are fine at going it alone.

The only access they do not have is a New Years Bowl. A scheduling agreement with the AAC or Big-12 could remedy that problem.

And they also have one more thing going for them...They're not Utah!

The WazzUtes are now the Conference Doormat, bringing relief to that great research institution in Pullman Washington.

LouisD
Las Vegas, NV

All accurate points. One comment on MYTH #9. It has to do with the P-5 Breaking Away or gaining more autonomy in the NCAA. Breaking away and going outside the NCAA is never going to happen. The NCAA provides the tacit umbrella protection from taxation as BIG BUSINESS executing INTERSTATE COMMERCE which would cause all kinds of legal pitfalls if they were extremely exclusionary to a Notre Dame or a BYU.

But the autonomy WITHIN the NCAA is more likely and if THAT happen, BYU is in even as an Independent. WHY?

A so-called Division 4 Group would have to include an access path, a membership threshold similar to the current path to the FBS Group. But it would have significantly higher facility, attendance and Operating Revenue requirements, possibly a legal audit to determine compliance with the SCOTUS UPHELD 1983 Burciaga Ruling. BYU & ND are the only two programs nationally that actually do. BYU is generally ranked as one of the top 30 overall programs in the country, significantly higher than at least HALF of the existing P5 programs. So BYU would be in (Busted Myth #9), apparently to the anger of many UTE fans.

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