There is so much turbulence and speculation about the future structure of college football that it is hard to predict what the final result will be. One thing seems certain, the major conferences are going to have their way on governing themselves, without having the other conferences limit their flexibility.
One way to start the speculation process is to develop a possible scenario tied to some basic assumptions. Once the five power conferences have extricated themselves from NCAA rule, the Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-12, Big 10 and Big 12 will have to determine the rules for the minimum and maximum number of teams in each conference, and the requirements for a national championship playoff.
Since three of the five conferences already have 14 teams, you could make an assumption that for national championship playoff fairness, there would need to be a common number of teams in each conference and each conference would have a football playoff game. If that number were 14, the Pac-12 would have to add 2 teams and the Big 12 would have to add four.
How could this situation affect BYU? If the Pac-12 wanted to do something unique, the conference could invite BYU for football only and pair it with an invitation to Gonzaga for all other sports. Then the Pac-12 could add another university like Boise State to make 14 members.
Under that scenario BYU would be placed in the southern division with Utah, USC, UCLA, Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State. That would be an attractive grouping for BYU fans, and would have minimal travel issues for those away games.
Another scenario would involve the Big 12 adding BYU and Boise State for football only and adding Cincinnati and Connecticut for all sports. BYU would continue in the West Coast Conference for all other sports and Boise State would do the same in the Mountain West Conference.
BYU and Boise State would be placed in a western division, paired with Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas, and Kansas State. That would involve quite a bit of traveling, but at the same time could result in some exciting opportunities.
Another option could be an agreement to schedule a number of basketball games each year for BYU with Pac-12 or Big 12 teams. That would make the prospects even more inviting.
In any case, pondering these ideas could inject a little life into the off-season lull for BYU fans.
Ken Driggs of Mesa, Ariz., is a BYU graduate and served as Cosmo in the '60s. Contact him at [email protected].