BYU Independence: What Role Did Fresno and Nevada Play, and What Next?

Ryan TeeplesCorrespondent IMarch 17, 2017

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It's all out there now, right? We know the basics, anyway.

Boy (BYU) meets girl (WAC). Boy gets girl. Girl has two limbs ripped off by scorned ex-girlfriend of boy (MWC). Boy isn't so sure he wants girl anymore without a leg and and arm. Boy has to find date for the dance quickly. 

That about does it, right?

Not quite. There are lots of head-scratching questions left to answer.

Did Fresno State and Nevada orchestrate this?

After the news leaked that BYU was heading toward football independence and WAC membership for the other sports, the Mountain West Conference jumped to thwart the Cougars' move by snatching up Fresno State and Nevada. That's what we've heard, anyway.

Consider this: Could Nevada and Fresno State have gone behind the WAC's back to the Mountain West and told them what was going on with BYU? Then used that inside knowledge to swing a deal to move to the MWC, hoping it would keep the Cougars there?

Of course, it's just speculation, but it's certainly possible. With or without BYU, Nevada and Fresno State got into a better football conference.

But that just leads to other questions. Like:

Will Nevada and Fresno State end up with any more money in the MWC?

At first blush, it looks better for the former WAC schools to be aligned with TCU, Boise State (again) and...uh...well just those two, as opposed to San Jose State, New Mexico State, and the rest of the old WAC.

But without BYU, will they get any more money than they did in the WAC?

That's yet to be seen. But it's not likely. Fresno and Reno are both small TV markets. And when the new Mountain West Conference goes back to Comcast to renegotiate its TV deal, all the leverage will reside with the TV network. 

Which leads to another question:

Do Fresno State and Nevada know how awful the Mountain West's TV deal is?

Boise will soon learn what Salt Lake City has been dealing with for years. You can't get the right mix of channels to watch your team's games on Dish Network. You have to upgrade to top-tiers to get them on most providers. And your games will be televised by second-rate cameramen, technology, and on-air personalities. 

Oh, and you'll no longer have games in the national spotlight. Where you used to get primetime games on ESPN on weeknights, now, you'll get Saturday games in obscurity on channels in the 600s.

No more casual fans catching your game while channel surfing or in a bar. No more media attention like you got on those Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night games. And no telling recruits they'll play on ESPN.

Good luck with that. You can see how happy it made BYU and Utah. 

I guess the only question left is:

If Fresno State and Nevada play football on Versus, but nobody can see it, did it really even happen?