Dick Harmon: BYU, Utah's old league going coastal in Mountain West-Conference USA merger

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    Feb. 15, 2012 1:41 p.m.

    With this new league BYU will not see any other teams other than the WAC teams every year. Indy is great for some schools (Notre Dame) but for the y until they get into a conference they will be playing for a WAC title every year. I am a Ute fan, but I really do think that the y has put themselves in a position that thier fans over time are going to question. I really would have liked to have seen BYU in the Big-12, can you imagine the athletics this state would have the privilege of seeing. Does'nt look like it is going to happen, West Viginia is moving in.

    The administration at the Y IMO have really dropped the ball. You guys will always win your 10 games but in the long run look who you are playing. BYU fans deserve better.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    Feb. 15, 2012 1:30 p.m.

    In this new "National College Football Conference" it could be said the new Conference Commissioner will control as much territory as the Congress of the United States.

    Secondly, if the New Conference is looking for a national TV contract maybe they should talk to KBYU TV!

    Changes really don't matter the same 20 programs control college football. Whatever changes others try to force they will negate with a new deal.

  • SLC BYU Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 10:10 p.m.

    What will get interesting to watch is how serious this new league is about Utah State, and if the Aggies are successfully invited and included, will that be enough to politically blackmail BYU into the league. Craig Thompson tied this to hold BYU in the MWC back in August of 2010 and nearly succeeded.

  • NightOwlAmerica SALEM, OR
    Feb. 14, 2012 5:58 p.m.

    No wonder Holmoe & company have been quiet about conference expansion opportunities.
    This is what they have been waiting for! This band of buddies will be so desperate for a BCS bid they will let BYU keep their TV contract!

  • Nikon Guy Henderson, NV
    Feb. 14, 2012 5:01 p.m.

    Seriously. Everyone gets all worked up about stuff that's beyond their control when it comes down to it. Just relax. It's just football and sports. I just wanted to express my feelings and what I thought and I get blasted. I thought this was free country. There's no need to get all worked up or defensive. There's no need to become like a fanatic soccer fan or a Raiders vs. 49er fan...sheesh. Sorry I spoke my mind.

  • LVIS Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 4:41 p.m.

    Nikon Guy
    Henderson, NV - "BYU was just looking out for BYU and cared about no other school."

    Unlike Utah, which did? Or TCU? Or Boise St? Or....? Just who was BYU supposed to be looking out for? Did Utah give a seconds though to the other schools in the conference?

    Listen, Camera Man, everyone--you, me, institutions, all do what is in their best interest. Let us know when you quit looking out for yourself. I'm sure someone else will step in to do it for you.

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    Feb. 14, 2012 3:30 p.m.

    RE: Nikon Guy "I was merely pointing to the fact that UNLV is a better position than BYU right now in basketball. 5th best conference compared to 11th best...solid tournament team vs soft bubble...come on now." So, that's what the "new" MWC comes down to, a "basketball conference"? Where's the money in that? Good solid football programs are what make good, solid conferences. I was going to start the football comparison between UNLV and BYU, Utah, TCU, etc., but then I wondered, "Why bother"! Although such a comparison elicited some slight giggles amongst myself.

  • No Conference Will Take Us SEATTLE, WA
    Feb. 14, 2012 3:22 p.m.

    Finally we have a chance to join a BCS conference. Nobody else will take BYU. This looks like a grand set up and we would do very well to pad our cupcake legacy being part of such a fine conference.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 3:16 p.m.

    Honor Code, you comments showed that you have not closely listened to what has happened and the reasons why BYU backed out of the BIG EAST. It was called ABC Television trying to bring BYU back into the limited TV fold. Pay attention when you comment.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 3:13 p.m.

    How about these names:

    American Time Zone Conference

    Nationwide Conference

    Zip Code Conference

    Pacific to Atlantic Conference

    See the USA Conference

    Frequent Flyer Conference

    What a laugh Conference

  • man of few words Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 3:01 p.m.

    Will the Mountain West at least be able to shed their awful TV contract by doing this?

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    Feb. 14, 2012 2:21 p.m.

    RE: Nikon Guy- "You have to at least credit Thompson for doing what at the time is and still very visionary, which was creating a network around a conference. It was a pioneer move." Huh? The move made NO sense at the time the network was announced. Making a network around a "mid-major" network that didn't have sufficient $$$ nor exposure, even within the conference media markets itself.

    "It didn't work because the MWC isn't considered major enough to bring in serious cash." Bingo! Thus, why make the move?

    "No one ever knew that getting away from ESPN would have such bad consequences for exposure." Oh, contraire! Moving away from the largest sports network in the country, they didn't know getting away from such exposure would have bad consequences? And the MWC Network was going to provide more exposure? As an example, one of two cable companies in San Diego didn't even offer the MWC in their coverage. Having ESPN coverage of those Thurs night football games, and late night basketball games was much better than what the MWC Network has ever provided.

    "Thompson and the MWC took a gamble." Yes they did, but a gamble that made no sense at that time & doesnât make sense now. And once this move was a colossal failure, what did Thompson do to correct it? That's right, nothing ⦠other than drive other well-established schools/programs from the conference.

  • Nikon Guy Henderson, NV
    Feb. 14, 2012 2:21 p.m.


    Don't get me wrong here. I'm a BYU fan but since I live in Nevada I'm UNLV fan first. I was merely pointing to the fact that UNLV is a better postion than BYU right now in basketball. 5th best conference compared to 11th best...solid tournamnet team vs soft bubble...come on now. Just trying to rub that in for giggles...

  • giantfan Farmington, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 1:58 p.m.

    Nikon Guy said,

    "All I know is UNLV could beat any school in Utah as eveident in our resume. We might not have the best football program but our basketball sure is better that any college basketball team in Utah."

    The fact that you decided you needed to bring that up, that UNLV might have a decent basketball team, on an article that has to do with how football has changed the landscape of collegiate athletic conferences, only proves your jealousy. And even though what you say MIGHT be true, FACT (not opinon) of the matter is BYU has beat UNLV the last two times they've met in basketball-in Provo and in Vegas. Convincingly so both times.

  • Nikon Guy Henderson, NV
    Feb. 14, 2012 12:54 p.m.

    Actually I do blame Criag Thompson...just forgot to mention it. :)

    You have to at least credit Thompson for doing what at the time is and still very visionary, which was creating a network around a conference. It was a pioneer move. It was the MWC that started the trend of starting a TV network. To this day the Big 10 gets credit for starting the first college conference network even though it was the MWC that had the first one. It didn't work because the MWC isn't considered major enough to bring in serious cash.

    No one ever knew that getting away from ESPN would have such bad consequences for exposure. Thompson and the MWC took a gamble. As we now see it didn't pay off. So, in a sense Thompson was visionary except that vison just didn't work out that well.

  • Nikon Guy Henderson, NV
    Feb. 14, 2012 12:50 p.m.


    I'm not jealous of anything. I'm just making an opinion and observation. All I know is UNLV could beat any school in Utah as eveident in our resume. We might not have the best football program but our basketball sure is better that any college basketball team in Utah.

    It would've been coast to coast. East coast to the gulf coast (texas schools) if you we're going to be techincal

  • Whoa Nellie American Fork, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 12:39 p.m.

    The weakness of the MWC (in football) because of the departure of the four best football programs is not caused by those departures; it is caused by the remaining schools. Those of you wishing to blame Utah, or BYU, or TCU need to explain why the remaining schools have failed to fill the void.

  • MJB Tooele, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 12:33 p.m.

    They will be doomed from the start if they let Thompson remain as a commisioner. He is the only reason that all the other teams saw the need to bolt the MWC.

  • giantfan Farmington, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 12:27 p.m.

    Nikon Guy,

    Your comment drips of jealousy and an apparent axe to grind. BYU did not seek out the Big East or else they would've joined. If BYU is so desperate to be in a football conference, they would be in one already. And BYU did not go independent chasing money. It's about exposure and that has been stated multiple times by the administration. BYU enjoyed tremendous exposure last year, and it was the exposure issue--not money--that stalled negotiations to join the Big East.

    One more thing, if BYU had decided to join the Big East, it would NOT be a coast-to-coast conference since San Diego State would've been left out. So BYU did not almost "join a coast to coast league", as you put it.

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    Feb. 14, 2012 11:34 a.m.

    RE: Nikon Guy- My friend, you point the "finger of blame" towards many-- BCS, Pac 12, BYU, Utah, etc. However, how can you not include as the main reason for the MWC's sorry demise and thus the apparent need to merge w/ Conf. USA than squarely w/ Craig Thompson? He is the main person who has brought downt he MWC to this level. If he had done a better visionary job of directing & leading the MWC, you wouldn't have had Utah, BYU or TCU leave the conference.

    Feb. 14, 2012 11:28 a.m.

    @honor code, talk about trying to sugar coat something. There is no way this will work. These two conferences are a joke. Tulsa and Air Force are going to be the best teams in this league. I thought the old 16 team WAC was bad.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 11:19 a.m.

    @Honor Code

    You still have BYU on your mind? Always looking over your shoulder at all things BYU?
    That BYU shadow still haunts you eh?

    Move on HC, let it go. Just try to beat Colorado, in fact, try to beat anyone in any sport in the Pac 10 or elsewhere.

    As for a new Conference name....

    Thompson's Blunders or BYU's Revenge.

    Oh yea, Independence and ESPN looks pretty good.

  • Nikon Guy Henderson, NV
    Feb. 14, 2012 10:35 a.m.

    Why are trying to poke fun at this newly formed league? I feel as though you are fanning the flames with your suggestions for a new conference name. I'm not a fan of it either. In fact it will probaly drag down the RPI of the MWC schools. You can first blame the BCS, second the PAC-12, third the Big East and then finally the Big 12 but but what other choices do these schools have? I might not even be that bad as far as a basketball conference. The MWC side will be strong in basketball. CUSA will bring in 3 solid schools. I wouldn't poke fun of this league as far as basketball since your beloved BYU is in the 11th best league compared to the 5th best MWC. I will agree football will be kind of a joke...

    Utah and BYU are partly to blame for this "junk conference". If it weren't for Utah, the mass exodus would have never happened. If eveyone would have stuck together and just waited out the situtaion the MWC might have become something grand.

    I understand money is a huge factor in this but considering that BYU is a faith based school it does not make BYU look good. According to the AFA AD they turned down the Big East invite becuase they didn't want to be seen as chasing money. They also wanted to maintain regional rivalries with Wyoming and CSU. This is coming from a secular school. I didn't hear anything about not chasing money or losing rivalries when BYU left. BYU was just looking out for BYU and cared about no other school.

    I'm not trying to fan the flames but didn't BYU almost join a coast to coast league? I wouldn't poke fun of this new league beause BYU almost became part of the Big East. If independece was so great why did BYU contemplate joining the Big East? Seems to me BYU woiuld rather be part of a conference rather than independent.

  • Snark Provo, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 10:31 a.m.

    Sargent Thompson's lonely heart-club band has a new gig!! The silver lining may be the opportunity that this move will create to retire the Sargent. If not, look for additional defections (e.g. Airforce etc...).

  • agarrett PROVO, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 10:28 a.m.

    It's just the WAC all over again. That's all it really is.

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    Feb. 14, 2012 10:11 a.m.

    RE: Foxtrot "While I do understand the financial reasons for leaving the MWC, i wished everyone would have stuck to strip the Big East of their automatic qualifications." I agree with you, and and hoped for the same. But when you have a bumbling commissioner with no vision, other than "masterminding" the most rediculous TV network/contract, there's no way a conference can retain good, solid schools. A lot of woulda, coulda, shoulda w/ the ol' MWC. If it wasn't already, this merger more than makes the MWC the laughing stock of the nation.

  • So. Cal Reader San Diego, CA
    Feb. 14, 2012 10:06 a.m.

    What a joke! I find it particularly interesting that the only "official" quoted in this article, as well as in the MWC's official press release, is the president of the football powerhouse of this conference-- UNLV. Very impressive...not. Although his fingers are all over this rediculous move, I find it interesting that Thompson's name or comments are nowhere to be found. This move only cements Thompson as the sorriest commissioner of any conference in the nation. My word, if only the conference ever had a visionary leader as a commissioner.

  • Whoa Nellie American Fork, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 9:25 a.m.

    It would be interesting to know how much or how little of the Salt Lake TV market and The Mtn. advertising dollars could be attributed to U. of Utah. My guess is not enough to notice or affect the revenues of The Mtn.

    Correction ms. honor code, but the Bid East was not on BYU's radar; BYU was on the Big East's radar.

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    @Foxtrot - Not true, Utah took the bait first and BYU had no choise to move on because rivalry GONE poof.

    Funny, I thought Karl Bensen was bad from the old 16 WAC and now Craig Thompson was worse! LOL!!!

  • 1Infidel APO, AE
    Feb. 14, 2012 8:47 a.m.

    Another writer first reported last month about the possibility of the leagues dissolving and forming their own league.

    "Both leagues have suffered significant losses. BYU went independent last season, while TCU is leaving for the Big 12 and Boise State and San Diego State are leaving for the Big East, with Boise State possibly joining the Big East this summer. C-USA also lost Houston, UCF, SMU and Memphis to the Big East, starting in 2013."

    No mention of......Nope. LOL

  • hymn to the silent Holladay, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 8:38 a.m.

    Don't be surprised to see BYU join this new conference...and bring a few ESPN games with them.

  • svutility Des Moines, IA
    Feb. 14, 2012 8:33 a.m.

    Those names are hilarious! I laughed hard at all of them!

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 8:05 a.m.

    A little overboard with list of names.....

    The whole NCAA is a mess.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Feb. 14, 2012 7:30 a.m.

    Why does Thompson still have a job? Wasn't it obvious he had no idea what he was doing with the new tv contract of the MWC where he begged fans to write and beg for covereage?

    Memo to Thompson, sharing the wealth doesn't work unless EVERYONE adds to the pot. It' lame to take from the rich and give to the poor when the poor want the same amount of bread without the same amount of work.

    Pretty simple.

  • Honor Code Denver, Colorado
    Feb. 14, 2012 7:27 a.m.

    While I'm a MWC fan this move has me a little perplexed!! Does it really help strengthen both conferences??? Yet I chuckle at some of the nonsense coming from the Sugar Coated BYU fans. Wasn't it just 2 months ago you barely escaped a Bowl Win playing a tough school like Tulsa?

    In some ways I see this Conference getting stronger. The MWC will continue to play each other as will C USA. I chuckle to see many of you foaming in the mouth about the distance some of these schools will be traveling, yet I hear nothing about Boise State or SDSU joining the Big East and having to go all over creation. Ohhhh and that BYU Independent thing.......wasn't the BIG EAST on your radar just weeks ago??? Funny that some of these posters shoot themselves in the foot, and yes even Dick Harmon!!

  • AK Cougar Palmer, AK
    Feb. 14, 2012 6:51 a.m.

    If this new conference can shed the sorry contract with the Mtn network then it might be worth it.

    Glad the Cougars are independent. Time will tell if they stay that way or have positioned themselves to join a stronger conference.

    Go Cougars

  • Oh, please! Saint George, UT
    Feb. 14, 2012 12:47 a.m.

    Thanks for the suggested monikers for the new conference. LOL!

  • Portland Trail Blazers Sandy, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 7:10 p.m.

    From North Carloina to Hawaii........Wow

    BYU looks brilliant for making the move to independence.

    I think the Big East will be looking like this pretty soon. They're from Connecticut to San Diego already... and it seems more teams are going to be bouncing soon (Louisville, Rutgers, Cincy). So they're (Big East) going to be trying to find schools like Nevada, UNLV, Western Michigan, just to fill spots...

    I'm glad BYU said no to the Big East.

  • phoenix Gilbert, AZ
    Feb. 13, 2012 6:33 p.m.

    Craig Thompson is probably home laughing hysterically at the trainwreck he will soon be leaving behind.

  • Riddles in the Dark Olympus Cove, Utah
    Feb. 13, 2012 6:26 p.m.

    BYU's move to Independence just went from questionable to brilliant!!!

    I'm sooooooo glad the Cougars aren't going to be a part of this train wreck.

  • Foxtrot Mountain View, CA
    Feb. 13, 2012 6:21 p.m.

    Suck it. This conference is garbage. I am pretty annoyed since I am from Utah but an Air Force Academy grad. Looking forward to Air Force versus anyone is lame. It really has destroyed my enjoyment of college football. BYU and Utah are partly at fault. While I do understand the financial reasons for leaving the MWC, i wished everyone would have stuck to strip the Big East of their automatic qualifications. Couldn't wait.

  • Ufan Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2012 6:19 p.m.

    The new Mountain West Conference USA makes the old 16-team WAC look like a lean and mean, well-oiled machine.

    RIP the MTN.