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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.