BYU Football: 4 Reasons Why the Cougars Should Move to a Conference
Joining a conference may not currently be on Bronco Mendenhall's mind as he prepares for the upcoming season, but I'm sure that it's on the mind of several others in the program.
Sure, independence has brought great exposure and freedom to BYU, but I think that it may just be the short-term answer. As the season comes closer and closer, and as the 4-team BCS playoff will go into effect in the near future, time may be running out for the Cougars to jump into a conference.
Here are four reasons why joining one will be the best choice for BYU.
Scheduling is one of the biggest reasons I would like to see the Cougars join a big conference. Sure, it's great that almost every game is on ESPN, but are you going to watch it if BYU is playing the worst team in the WAC?
Joining an AQ conference would give the school a game almost every week against good and well-known competition. Besides that, the conference helps its teams make their schedules, so BYU wouldn't have to do it by themselves anymore.
Although the Cougars may still have one or two cupcake teams on their schedule, it'd be much better than playing teams from the the WAC almost every week.
Safety in the Midst of Realignment
If BYU joins the Big 12, they will probably be safe for the long run. Even if conference realignment leads to four super conferences, they will most likely be the Big 10, Pac 12, SEC and Big 12.
Though independence may be the short term answer, I would feel a lot more comfortable right now if the Cougars were in an AQ conference.
Eligibility for BCS Playoff
Although the BCS will not put the four-team playoff into effect until 2014, it is a big reason for the Cougars to join a conference. Making the playoff would not only gain respect for the program as a whole, but it would be even bigger than making a current BCS bowl.
The most logical ways to pick the four teams that make the playoffs will either be to pick the champions of the four best conferences that season, or to pick the top four ranked teams. Even if the latter is chosen, teams are consistently ranked higher if they are in a major conference (talk to Boise State about that).
One of the main reasons that BYU became an Independent was to gain national exposure. Sure, independence has brought plenty of it, but joining the Big 12 (or another AQ conference) may bring even more of it.
If the Cougars went to the Big 12, keeping television rights through ESPN and BYUtv would be possible. After all, Texas has their own station, Longhorn Network.
ESPN's College Gameday only made one trip to a school out of the six AQ conferences last season. As a member of a "power conference," BYU has a better chance of seeing them in Provo in the near future.