Brigham Young University as BCS Champions: Is It Possible in Independence?

Alex StrelnikovCorrespondent IISeptember 20, 2012

PROVO, UT - AUGUST 30: A cheerleader of BYU smiles during a game against Washington State during the first half of an college football game August 30, 2012 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
George Frey/Getty Images

BYU winning a BCS championship as an independent is the goal. If it wasn't, why be an independent? Let's cut the spaghetti and make it short. Not likely at this time.

But because BYU is about the pursuit of excellence, and that is its mantra, then the goal for each and every game must be to win.


Winning each game gets you to the Championship.

To win games you have to have facilities that attract the quality athletes. To have first-class facilities it takes money. To get the money you have to have sponsors and TV exposure. To get TV exposure you have to win games. When you win games you get money and exposure that allows you to build facilities.

No school wants to field a mediocre football program, which may become a money loser that draws upon either the public tax coffers or the donation box at the back of their church. To keep from being a burden on taxpayers or parishioners, all schools try to maximize income potential such as building stadiums in the hopes that each game will be a sellout. The bigger the stadium, the more money you hope to bring in. You build big to bring in big; it is about return on investment. No school builds a stadium to have it sit half-empty.

A football program of this size costs a minimum of $30 million a year. You don't spend that kind of money for 50,000 to 60,000 people to sit around holding hands to sing Kumbaya and watch a football game on a Saturday afternoon. You do it to enhance the mission of the university. No matter if it is Harvard, Alabama or BYU.

Michigan has a 100,000-seat stadium because the population will support it. New Mexico State and Idaho don't have big stadiums because the population won't support it. The latter two programs are suffering as a result.

The LDS church is not spending millions so we can sit around and watch 85 young men develop honor. They are supposed to come with honor. That is why some young men don't come to BYU; they don't have it. They don't have the sense of mission and purpose of what BYU is, what role it accomplishes in the total program of the church and what role they will play in that mission as athletes.

The men in Salt Lake are very particular about the expenditures, revenue and image of BYU, and if fielding a mediocre 70 percent winning percentage team accomplishes that, then BYU would be in the Big Sky or WAC. BYU would not have a large stadium and spend millions on a TV network or athletic facilities that rival any in the country, except the new John McKay complex at USC. 

BYU athletes are supposed to live standards that are the highest in the nation; number one and nothing less is allowed. They are to live principles that give them "the strength of ten," and the ability to "run and not be weary, walk and not faint." The BYU warrior, male or female, football or swimming, gymnastics or tennis, should be the elite physical athlete that wholesome, natural food and lifestyle can produce. The mind, body and spirit in excellence, not 70 percent.


The 70-75 percent guys have 249 other universities to go to.

Penn State football made over $72 million last year. Other universities have approached those figures. While BYU keeps its income private, the income from football has to exceed $40 million. That is my own estimate. If BYU is to win a BCS championship it must make more than that in order to keep up and provide the facilities that those excellent, obedient, faithful men and women will come to. When they do, if they do, they should find the best coaches and facilities in the nation to give them the best chance to be national champion.

If you aren't willing to do what it takes to win every game, why are you competing? If you aren't willing to make the sacrifice every game to win it, why are you on the team? If you don't expect your team to win every game why are you there? Accepting mediocrity, or the 70 percent solution, is just an excuse to accept less than your best. 

Schools like USC, Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida and Florida State have figured that out. So has BYU. That is why it has an indoor football facility, outdoor field and stadium and are upgrading them to compete with the best the population will support. If the stadium could sell out 100,000 seats each game you would see a new stadium being built.

BYU is about the pursuit of excellence in all fields and endeavors. And winning football games is a part of that excellence, every game.