The day we have been waiting for has finally arrived.
BYU is no longer in the MWC.
I would say that we have been waiting for a year, but it has been much, much longer than that. Ever since the "new" media deal was put in place, it was apparent that the MWC would never provide what was needed for any program to succeed in the current environment.
Success in college football is about two things: Money and exposure. And for the most part, they go hand in hand.
Look at the success of Oregon (and to a lesser degree, Oklahoma State): They didn't get better because of their conference, they got better because they were fortunate enough to have someone throw millions of dollars at their program.
If you are still under the delusion that college football is anything other than a business, then I hate to break it to you, but it is just a business.
Like any good business, BYU opted for the choice that gave them more money.
We aren't just talking about a little more money, either. Estimates are that BYU will make eight to 10 times as much, mostly from their great TV deal with ESPN. There is not a college program in the country that would not, at the very least, consider a deal that could multiply their revenue by 10.
Did BYU make the right move to Independence?
A huge part of revenue is directly tied to exposure, and the MWC just could not provide it. No matter how much money I was willing to spend on adding stations to my satellite, I still would only have been able to watch four BYU football games, not to mention basketball.
For this coming year it has already been announced that seven games will be on ESPN, with the majority of those early in the season. You can bet that if BYU comes out hot with wins over teams from the SEC, Big 12 and Pac 12, more of those late-season games will end up on ESPN.
If those games don't end up on ESPN, then they will likely be covered on BYUtv, which is available on most cable and satellite providers, as well as on any computer in the world.
That means that recruits who may be considering BYU can count on being seen across the country for almost every single game of their career. Very few schools can actually say that.
As much as I would love for BYU to be part of a BCS conference, independence excites me even more. It allows the Cougars to schedule anyone and everyone.
Sure, there will be some cupcakes on their schedule, just like every school has, but this year alone they will face five teams from BCS conferences (counting TCU, who will make the move next year). I would expect the schedule to stay about half-BCS and half non-BCS, which should put BYU in a great position to succeed.
Only time will tell how independence plays out, but it is incredibly exciting to be on the verge of this new and exciting journey.