If you haven’t heard, and I’m sure Sloppy Joe is probably posting something as we speak, but I wanted to get my thoughts out there, and I don’t want to wait for Dan to finish it.
BYU’s move to independence is the best move they could have made.
Lets say that this move fails disasterously and BYU can’t schedule opponents for 2011, or the ESPN deal falls through, BYU can rejoin any other crappy subpar conference that has no shot at BCS games and an eventual national championship, and they are right back where they started.
ESPN is supposedly buying 4-6 BYU games for the 2011 season at about $1-2 million per game, up from $1.4 million for the entire season from the MWC. This is important for several reasons, most of which is that BYU cannot afford to have Utah make $10 million a year in the PAC-12 and make $1.4 million in the MWC.
BYU also cannot afford to play the Wyomings of the world while Utah plays USC, Oregon, Washington, and Oregon State. Going Independent allows BYU to be extremely flexible in their scheduling and this is really where the rubber meets the road – can BYU fill their schedule with enough legitimate games against BCS and other quality teams to make the difference (and then win enough of those games to prove they belong on the national stage, which is a whole other story!)
ESPN has supposedly already agreed to televise BYU games at a significantly higher price than the Mountain pays (sources say in the $3-8 million range), and I have to assume that BYU’s athletic director has planned ahead enough to have at least a rough draft of a schedule worked out and assurances from enough schools that they can get a descent schedule together for next year.
The most interesting thing is what will happen with the border schools – are Nevada and Fresno State going to accept the invitation to join the MWC? If so, who is BYU going to play in basketball, and fill in for filler games in football? Are San Diego State and UNLV going to be invited to join the WAC to make the WAC a descent basketball conference? We won’t really know till the dust settles and we figure out how the conferences are going to shake out.
I don’t see a way, if BYU leaves the MWC, that both the MWC and the WAC survive this. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens…
Good luck BYU, and Godspeed.