Expansion: Pac-12 Conference, Welcome Utah and BYU

John SanchezContributor IApril 13, 2010

BYU has a National Championship in football and a Heisman Trophy winner. 

Utah has a National Championship in basketball and a handful of Final Four appearances. 

You would be mistaken to think we're talking about a couple of flash-in-the-pan teams.  These two programs, historically, have had their fair share of success—on the field, on the court, in the stands.

LaVell Edwards Stadium regularly draws a higher attendance than the Big 12 , Pac-10 , ACC , or Big East average.  BYU is currently on a four-year streak of finishing in the top-25. Coach Bronco Mendenhall is such a great fit at BYU, you get the feeling he'll be there for a decade or two. 

In basketball, BYU has ranked top 10 and top 25 in average home attendance in almost 30 of the past 40 years .  Very few schools could even match that (maybe only Syracuse and Kentucky).  In recent years, their average attendance has been higher than that of any Conference in the country .

The Runnin' Utes have had more NCAA Tournament appearances than Michigan State , more Sweet 16s than Arizona , more Final Fours than UConn , and more NCAA Championships than Illinois , Oklahoma , Memphis , St. John's , et al. 

Utah's football program has had its ups and downs. Historically it hasn't had major success...until recently.  In just this past decade, under Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham, Utah has had two undefeated seasons, they've been Fiesta Bowl Champs, Sugar Bowl Champs, ranked top-five in the final polls twice, top-25 four times, and received top-25 votes in seven out of the 10 years, overall. 

The 2008 Utah team was selected as the No. 1 Team in the country by 25 percent of the voters in the AP Poll ...and by four out of the six BCS rating systems.  Utah is in good hands with Coach Whittingham.

Now, this is not to suggest that BYU or Utah could compare with "powerhouse" programs, historically.  They've both had their limitations as so-call "mid-majors."  But the level that these two programs are currently on, is comparable to the quality of some of the better schools in the "major-conferences."  Looking toward the future, their potential is as promising as any.

This may have to wait until the Big TEN-expansion domino falls, but when or if the Pac-10 is finally forced to expand, Utah and BYU would be fine additions to the conference .

Welcome Utah and BYU.  Welcome Pac-12.