Thursday, August 25, 2011

BYU and Texas should be BFFs

We're on the precipice of another College Football Expansion Crisis.

Texas A&M, the author of this year's panic, sent a formal letter to the Big 12 conference asking them to outline "the process to be followed by Texas A&M should it withdraw from the Conference."

Translation? "We're outtie 5000. Please don't sue us."

Another little bit of the letter I find intriguing is this: "There has been a great deal of speculation and comment in the media about Texas A&M leaving the Conference, including discussions of other institutions joining the Conference."

That's it. That's all they said.

They don't refute the claims or speculation. They just state that the claims and speculation are taking place. Well Duh.

Naturally, BYU fans like me believe we are on the short list of potential TAMU replacements. I made my case for joining the Big 12 a few posts ago, but I do want to add one caveat:

BYU should only join the Big 12 if we are, and can remain, connected at the hip with Texas.

Texas and BYU are on great terms. The Longhorns were one of the first teams that agreed to schedule a home-and-home series with the Cougs after we announced independence, and reports are Texas staffers were cozying up to the BYU broadcasting folks to try and glean some insight into starting their own network. If we do get an invitation to join the Big 12, then we may have Texas to thank for it.

BYU needs to keep those good vibes going.

We need to be best buddies with UT. Wherever Texas ends up, we need to be there with 'em. If Texas makes it very clear, in no uncertain terms, that they are committed to the long-term health and wellbeing of the Big 12, then we should join (if we're asked). If not, we shouldn't.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Soccer doesn't suck

We're a paltry 10 days away from what could be one of the best and most exciting seasons in BYU football history, but I'd like to take a quick time out and make way for...

...women's soccer?!

I've gone through a bit of a metamorphosis over the past 12-18 months, and it all came to a head when I found myself at a BYU women's soccer game last night... and I loved every minute of it.

See, I've always identified myself with the "Real Man's Sports" crowd who hated soccer. This group, founded by Jim Rome, convinced me that soccer is boring, un-American and weird. I was indoctrinated with anti-soccer rhetoric, and openly mocked those who were so passionate about it.

But I have changed my ways. Ever see American History X? Same thing, just without all the Nazis and curb-jobs.

The crack in my armor first appeared just last year when I watched the US Men's Team in the 2010 World Cup. I felt the goosebumps along with every other blue-blooded American when Landon Donovan scored that magical goal against Algeria.

Then, my heart broke right alongside everyone else's earlier this year when the US Women's Team lost a heartbreaker in the championship game against Japan.

And finally, I cheered loud and proud when BYU raked Utah over the coals on the way to a 4-0 trouncing just last night. It was a beautiful win on a beautiful night. The South Field was alive with just a shade under 4,500 fans, and the BYU women's soccer team won a new convert in me.

Now, as a post-script, I should say I'm not all the way there yet. I haven't bought a scarf, nor will I be attending any Real Salt Lake games any time soon. I still think the fake injuries are ridiculous, and I really will only watch soccer if I have a personal vested interest (my country, my Alma Mater, etc.). But at least I'm not a hater anymore, right? Baby steps.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Big 12 is better

BYU does NOT have an invitation to join the Big 12 conference. We need to remember that. In fact, say it out loud to yourself. Say it twice more. Now say it again, but believe it this time.

Okay. Now that you've said it, we can talk about it. It's the sultry little question has Cougar fans across the nation spinning like a top. It has BYU faithful debating in ice cream parlors and brawling in the streets. It's the golden question in a new era of Super-Conferences:

What if BYU gets an invitation to join the Big 12?

With virtually every major conference in the country taking a good hard look at expansion, the question of BYU to the Big 12 has popped up in papers, blogs and message boards from Florida to Oklahoma, Baylor to Butler. Everyone seems to have an opinion, and virtually all of those opinions are very favorable to extending an invite to the Cougars.

"National fanbase," they say. "First-rate facilities," "A huge network of alumni," "Broadcast facilities," are also common phrases. It seems BYU has made itself quite attractive to the college football landscape.

In recruiting terms, BYU has gone to the camps, taken some unofficial visits, demonstrated well and has bumped itself up from a one-star to a three-star recruit. Not quite a blue-chipper, but good enough that coaches are starting to take note.

And now, as the power conferences scramble to make themselves relevant on the national scene, BYU stands at the precipice of aligning itself once again with a conference, just one year after declaring football independence.

And, as a huge fan and staunch supporter of BYU, independence, and the West Coast Conference (where most of our non-football sports including basketball have landed), I say unequivocally and proudly that...

...we should accept that invitation. Gladly.

Look, independence is beautiful. I think it's safe to say it has worked out a lot better than we ever could have imagined. But we need to stop kidding ourselves. As great as football independence is, BCS conference affiliation is better. Maybe only marginally better, but better.

The Big 12 trumps independence for four reasons:

  1. BCS inclusion. The Big 12 has an automatic tie-in to the BCS and potentially the National Championship game. BYU doesn't have that as an independent.

  2. Bowl Tie-ins. The Big 12 has contracts with the Fiesta Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the Alamo Bowl, the Pinstripe Bowl, and the grandpappy of 'em all: The Meineke Car Care Bowl. BYU has... the Armed Forces Bowl

  3. Scheduling. BYU's greatest weakness as an independent is finding quality games to schedule. Big 12 membership would mean really, really great games all season long. No more Idaho State in late November

  4. Non-Football Sports. As much as we've told ourselves we love the WCC, the Big 12 is much better. Across the board


Additionally, BYU would get all the exposure and a whole lot more money if it was a part of the Big 12. This decision should be a slam dunk for the BYU powers that be.

Assuming we ever get an invitation. Which we don't have. Say it again.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Follow me on Twitter

Hey loyal ASB-ers. And if you're reading this, you really are loyal. You've been with me in the good times (remember two-a-days a couple years ago?), and bad times (the inexplicable absences during Jimmer's final year). You're the best.

I'm going to try and take blogging seriously again, but just in case you want more, you really should follow me on Twitter. I'm a huge fan of Twitter, and I'm jabbering on about BYU almost incessantly. I'm like an unstoppable rebel force.

So visit Twitter.com/aolsen and give me a follow. But also, keep your eye on ASB. I've got some good stuff brewing in my brain-banana.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Answering Greg

I'm a huge Greg Wrubell fan. I think KSL and BYU were given a great gift when Greg Wrubell stepped on the scene. As the BYU play-by-play man, Greg has proven to be entertaining, insightful, enthushttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifiastic and more prepared than a Mormon Boy Scout.

In his latest blog post, Greg asked some questions about the upcoming season. It was kind of a "Here's what I'll be looking for" kind of blog post with no real answers.

Until now. I'm taking it upon myself to answer Greg's questions. And no, I'm not seeking any money or accolades for knowing the un-knowable. Just come on back and give me some credit when I turn out to be 100% right.*

GW: "Who will emerge as the top tight end?"

AO: Devin Mahina. At least, he'll gobble up all the numbers. Austin Holt will be a great "Behind the scenes" kind of guy, blocking and what-not, but Mahina will prove to be the No. 1 pass-catcher.

GW: "How will the safety situation play out?"

AO: Here's how: Daniel Sorenson wills start at Free, and Travis Uale at Strong. No one will unseat Uale, as much as we'd like it to be Hague. Joe Sampson and DeQuan Everett will be the phantoms standing on the sidelines, and we Cougar fans will be forced to wonder "What if?"

GW: "How will speedster Drew Phillips be used?"

AO: He won't. I was excited about Drew Phillips, but I think this dude's a gonner. An academic casualty who will probably finish his career at another school.

GW: "Will we see the return of the slot receiver position?"

AO: Only if it's Jacobson. If we have to rely on Falslev or DiLuigi, it's not gonna happen.

GW: "How quickly will the first-string front seven come together?"

AO: This is going to be a nasty, flame-broiled, juiced-up front seven, and they will be the strongest combined unit on our team. Every starter talks about the bond they have with the rest of the group, and it'll show early and often.

GW: "Can WR Ross Apo live up to the hype?"

AO: Yes. Emphatically. If you thought Cody Hoffman was the real deal, wait till you see Ross Apo.

GW: "(Who will win) the position battle at center between Terence Brown and Houston Reynolds?"

AO: Pass.

GW: "Which true freshman will make the greatest immediate impact?"

AO: The obvious answer is Ryker Mathews. And it's the right answer. Ryker is the only true freshman to be with the team since January, and he's already cracked the two-deep. Ryker will be a superstar when all is said and done.

GW: "How badly will the injury bug bite?"

AO: A lot of pulled hammies, a lot of twisted ankles, the word "contusion" will pop up fairly regularly, but nothing serious. Unless we play Nevada again. Stupid Nevada.

GW: "How sharp will new Offensive Coordinator Brandon Doman's offense look?"

AO: Exceedingly sharp. I base that on the last half of last season, which I believe was captained principally by Doman. I think Jake Heaps "gets" Doman, and I think we'll pick up where we left off in 2010.

GW: "Which four players will make up the starting secondary on September 3rd?"

AO: Eason, Buckner, Uale and Sorenson. Write it down.

GW: "Is Jordan Pendleton all the way back?"

AO: Yes. Yes he is. And he will rise up and smite his enemies to the ground with vengeance. He'll lead the team in tackles for loss, he'll knock at least one QB out for the year, and he'll bring back the mohawk we all loved so much. JP won't blink or crack a single smile during the season. And next year, he'll be cashing NFL checks.

*Note: The above commentary was written by a fan who has absolutely no inside information whatsoever. He likes to pretend he does, but he doesn't. Don't let his confident tone fool you, he doesn't know what he's talking about.