Another red letter day to mark on your calendar – August 31, 2010 – Independence Day. Around 3:30pm PST, Jay Drew tweeted, “It’s happening, folks. [Salt Lake] Tribune has confirmed that BYU going independent in football, joining the West Coast Conference in other Sports.” Then, twitter exploded. Here are my thoughts on BYU’s football independence.
BYU is going independent, beginning with the 2011 season. The biggest concern I have up front is putting together a decent schedule for next year. We already have games scheduled with Oregon St, Texas, and Utah St. I don’t know how many teams are looking to fill in schedules this late, but I would expect BYU to try and schedule with Notre Dame, Army, and Navy as the other independents, at least by the 2012 season. For 2011 the WAC and MWC teams should fill out a good portion of the schedule. ESPN may also be able to garner a deal or two for next season. Eventually, I’d like to see: ND, Navy, Army, Air Force (complete the armed forces trio), Utah, Utah St, a few Pac-12, and a few Big-12 teams. ESPN will be instrumental in bringing big name teams to Provo for home and home series.
A great positive to independence is that I believe this will save the Holy War. It may never be in November again, but BYU will be free to schedule Utah year in and year out, and neither will have the stigma of playing against a team from a non-AQ conference. They will continue to battle it out, and they will strengthen each other’s schedules.
No more mtn! With independence, BYU is finally free from the MWC’s awful television coverage. No more mtn channel. No more not having the mtn channel. It’s an ESPN affiliate or BYUtv, or both. HOO-RAH!
BYU will need to create a partnership with a bowl game. I could see a permanent deal with the Las Vegas Bowl, as they obviously love having BYU play in their game anyway. They may also be able to pick up one of the Big-12 bowl games, as their 10 team league will have 8 spots to fill. BYU travels very well, so they should be able to land a decent mid-level bowl game.
In the meantime, we still have a season of football to play. Look for the fans from other MWC schools to be even nastier than before. The media from other MWC cities will be slamming BYU. Other teams will be gunning for us, just as they will for Utah. We’re leaving them behind, and they’ll want to get in a few parting shots in.