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Big East Expansion: How BYU Cougars Stack Up Against the Big East

Ryan TeeplesCorrespondent IMay 24, 2016

Big East Expansion: How BYU Cougars Stack Up Against the Big East

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    Talk of BYU to the Big East is really gaining momentum. 

    Football coach Bronco Mendenhall has confirmed the conference has approached the school and some media outlets have even gone so far as to say BYU has an invite and is mulling a decision. 

    So with conference affiliation with the Big East looking like a distinct possibility for the Cougars, let's take a look at how BYU stacks up against the competition; existing and supposed. 

    Some media hacks are already saying BYU has no shot to win a BCS game, even in the Big East. 

    While it's true—the new Big East won't offer any cupcake gimme wins like Arizona, Oregon State, UCLA and Colorado provide in the Pac-12 this year—BYU still has a shot to compete for a title. 

    And as Utah proved, once you're in, anything can happen. Only fools say never. 

    Here's a breakdown of how BYU fits with the members of the new Big (W)East.

    Teaser: Largest fanbase, biggest facilities and high academic marks.

BYU by the Numbers

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    Top 25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 2 (possible third in 2011)

    Average Sagarin rank: 36

    Average 2010 attendance: 61,381 (96 percent  capacity)

    TV market rank: Salt Lake City, No. 31

    Enrollment: 34,000

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: 71

     

    Summary: BYU is head and shoulders above the remaining Big East members and remaining non-AQ schools in terms of attendance and facilities.

    Only Boise State has seen better on-field performance in the last decade.

    Note: Market rank according to Arbitron and Average finish rank considers 2008-2010 Sagarin Rankings.

Boise State

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    Top 25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 4 (Likely five in 2011)

    Average finish rank: 7

    Average 2010 attendance: 33,269 (96 percent capacity)

    TV Market rank: Boise No. 101

    Enrollment: 21,000

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: Not Ranked (No. 67 West Region)

     

    Summary: Despite being in a tiny TV market, Boise State’s exposure to the country through regular ESPN weeknight games has made the program popular throughout the country.

    This program may be the Cougar’s future rival.

Air Force

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    Top 25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 0 

    Average finish rank: 49

    Average 2010 attendance: 40,093 (77 percent capacity)

    TV Market rank: Colorado Springs No. 92

    Enrollment: 4,400

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: Not Ranked (No. 33 Liberal Arts)

     

    Summary: The Zoomies have a national following and government backing and is decent program attractive to bowl committees. Strong candidate.

Houston

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    Top 25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 0 (probable top 25 finish this season) 

    Average finish rank: 49

    Average 2010 attendance: 31,728 (99 percent capacity)

    TV Market rank: No. 6

    Enrollment: 39,000

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: Rank Not Published?

     

    Summary: As good in numbers as any remnant Big East program. They have a small stadium compared to BYU, but right in line with current Big East facilities. And at least it’s full.

    Considering their current success and great market size, Houston should be at the top of the list.  

SMU

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    Top 25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 0 

    Average finish rank: 86

    Average 2010 attendance: 23,515 (73 percent capacity)

    TV Market rank: No. 5

    Enrollment: 10,600

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: 62

     

    Summary: This program has a jaded history with little to cheer for in recent years.

    With a small stadium, poor attendance and inferior athletic facilities, this program’s only benefit is the market it resides in, and the fact it plays in Texas and would be a traveling partner for Houston.   

Central Florida

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    Top-25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 1

    Average finish rank: 76

    Average 2010 attendance: 39,614 (88 percent capacity)

    TV Market rank: No. 34

    Enrollment: 50,000

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: 177

     

    Summary: This is a big school in a good TV market in good recruiting grounds.

    It gets nearly double the attendance of schools like SMU and since it’s only about 60 years old as an institution, it’s only going to get stronger.

    Given access to the BCS, this school could see a flourish similar to South Florida.

South Florida

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    Top 25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 0 

    Average finish rank: 46

    Average 2010 attendance: 40,849 (63 percent capacity)

    TV Market rank: No. 19

    Enrollment: 36,000

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: 181

     

    Summary: Considering its tenure as an FBS school, the Bulls are doing pretty well. A good TV market and solid recruiting ground helps. However, facilities are lacking.

    In the end, combined with Central Florida, these two schools would make for good travel partners and decent conference members.  

Cincinnati

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    Top 25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 1 (possible second this season) 

    Average finish rank: 33

    Average 2010 attendance: 35,067 (100 percent capacity)

    TV Market rank: No. 29

    Enrollment: 31,000

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: 143

     

    Summary: Cincinnati sometimes plays in Paul Brown Stadium (home of the Bengals), so their attendance numbers are over 100 percent capacity.

    For the most part, their attendance is weak, but it’s a top 30 market and the Bearcats have seen football success in recent years.   

Louisville

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    Top 25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 0 

    Average finish rank: 71

    Average 2010 attendance: 50,648 (89 percent capacity)

    TV Market rank: No. 54

    Enrollment: 15,000

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: 164

     

    Summary:  A much smaller school with limited success in the recent past. Its TV market isn’t great, but there’s support and expectation of program success.   

Rutgers

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    Top 25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 0 

    Average finish rank: 52

    Average 2010 attendance: 46,195 (89 percent capacity)

    TV Market rank: No. 1

    Enrollment: 28,000

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: 68

     

    Summary:  Rutgers is an undervalued commodity in the conference shuffle. Decent attendance and good school size make it viable.

    And even though it doesn’t own the TV market, even a very small share of New York is a big deal.

Connecticut

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    Top 25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 0 

    Average finish rank: 50

    Average 2010 attendance: 38,248 (96 percent capacity)

    TV Market rank: No. 52

    Enrollment: 20,848

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: 58

     

    Summary:  UConn has no tradition, as it’s relatively new to the FBS division, and it remains a distant outpost in Storrs, Connecticut. But at least it’s filling its stadium and has shown recent success.

Colorado State University

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    Top 25 BCS finishes, 2008-2010: 0 

    Average finish rank: 100-plus

    Average 2010 attendance: 22,400 (65 percent capacity)

    TV Market rank: Fort Collins, No. 120

    Enrollment: 24,800

    US News and World Report National University Ranking: 128

     

    Summary: I have no idea why the Big East is considering the Rams.

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