Mountain West Schools May Need the Brigham Young University Cougars in 2011

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst INovember 1, 2010

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 1:  BYU  Athletic Director Tom Holmoe announces that BYU football will become independent in football in 2011 separating from the Mountain West Conference, September 1, 2010 in Provo, Utah. The remaining BYU sports will become affiliated with the West Coast Conference in 2011. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
George Frey/Getty Images

It would interesting to be a fly on the wall in the office of BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe this week.

With the announcement that Fresno State and Nevada will remain in the WAC until the 2012 season, Mountain West schools are now scrambling to to fill a void in their schedules for 2011.

With just eight schools, every football program in the MWC will now play just seven conference games next year.  That means each school has at least one game it must fill in order to get to 12 total games next year.

Guess who may have a slot or two available to accommodate some of them?

That’s right, it’s those horrible BYU Cougars.

It would be ironic to see some of the MWC programs that have thrown a fit over BYU leaving the conference, even swearing to never play BYU again, now slink back and ask the Cougars to extend a helping hand.

It will be almost impossible for some of the Mountain West programs to fill their voids with FBS schools this late in the game.

BYU is close to finalizing its schedule for next year, in fact the Cougars may be in a position to announce an 11th or 12th game this week.

Holmoe has stated over the past few weeks that he was not sure that BYU would take advantage of the opportunity to schedule a 13th game, something the NCAA allows when teams travel to Hawaii.

However, last week’s agreement between the WAC, the Bulldogs and the Wolf Pack may make it more likely that the Cougars play a 13th game.

If played, the extra contest would most certainly take place at the friendly confines of LaVell Edwards Stadium. It would give BYU a minimum of seven home games for 2011. Though unlikely, with six home games already on the schedule, BYU could theoretically play as many as nine home games next season.

If BYU had stayed in the MWC, it would have played host to TCU, Air Force and CSU next year. The Cougars may also have had a home game against Boise State.

Here’s a look at the current 2011 announced schedule:

(A) Oregon State – 9/3/11

(A) Texas – 9/10/11

(H) Utah – 9/17/11

(H) Central Florida – 9/23/11

(H) Utah State – 9/30/11

(H) Idaho – TBA

(H) New Mexico State – TBA

(H) San Jose State – TBA

(A) Louisiana Tech – TBA

(A) Hawaii – TBA