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Lennie Mahler, Deseret News
Utah football players perform stretches to warm up for a practice scrimmage Monday, April 11, at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Last Friday, BYU officially became an independent in football while Utah officially joined the Pac-12.

While the two teams will not be part of the same conference for the first time since 1909, they will always be linked, and compared.

These certainly are historic and monumental moves for both programs. But what does the future hold for the Cougars and Utes? Which team will be better off in the long run in terms of recruiting, exposure, wins and BCS access?

SI.com's Stewart Mandel explores these issues in this article.

259 comments on this story

In part, Mandel writes, "Both programs are substantially better off than they were June 30. While that may be more obvious with Utah, I've been saying for some time now that BYU's bold move looks smarter every day. It will be getting more exposure and TV revenue than ever (seven of its games this season are already slated for ESPN or ESPN2), and its scheduling flexibility will allow it to play in more high-profile games (future opponents include Texas, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, West Virginia and Boise State). However, as long as the current BCS structure remains in place, the best way to reach the BCS and/or the national championship is to play in an AQ conference, which gives Utah a significant edge, even disregarding the fat Pac-12 paycheck."

Mandel gives the overall edge to Utah, calling BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall's massive staff shakeup during the offseason "panicky."

Meanwhile, this blogger claims that BYU is one of six teams that has a fan base with unrealistic expectations.