By now we all know the MWC is growing and the WAC is basically dead. BYU has been left with no viable place to dump the kids (every sport but football) while they explore the fabulous world of independence.
Thanks to guys like Commissioner Craig Thompson, the Quorum of Twelve will hopefully vote to reject independence and remain as a member of the MWC. Looking at the ramifications of this potential move convinces me that it no longer makes sense for BYU. On the bright side, they do have their new media center and the capability to shoot games in HD, but that’s it. What they don’t have is 6-9 conference games that can be easily scheduled year to year. And due to recent developments they are now left without the WAC opponents that they were supposed to play for the next 4 to 10 years (Fresno, Utah State, Nevada, and a 10 year deal with Hawaii). The Notre Dame model doesn’t work without a good conference to align all the other non-football sports with. And without the WAC, that no longer exists.
If they made this move now they would be sacrificing all other sports but football. Can you imagine BYU basketball in a league with San Jose State, Idaho, Utah State, LA Tech, Hawaii and New Mexico State? It seems like a bad dream all the way around.
We can all be thankful to the MWC for being proactive with the Nevada and Fresno invitations and by not extending concessions to BYU for continued membership. That breeds contempt and back biting (e.g. Big XII). Instead of concessions, the MWC gave BYU nowhere to go with their other sports, genius. By raiding the WAC of their remaining top two teams now instead of months or years ago was simply due to circumstance. Houston, in my opinion would have been a better choice than Nevada, but that would not have completely killed the WAC and future home of BYU. It was a great move that may have saved the conference from mediocrity.
BYU has been cooking this plan up ever since the PAC 10 passed them over for Utah, and they didn't even get a courtesy call....... how sad. Since then BYU has been working overtime to boost their status as a football program in an attempt to keep Utah from passing them by. After being silently rejected by all major conferences, BYU hatched this plan with the WAC. They basically wrote the $5 million exit fee clause into the contract that was signed by all the WAC members. Of course BYU wanted a guarantee that the conference would remain intact when they joined in 2011. Unfortunately for BYU the power play didn't work, as Fresno and Nevada exited last night leaving a shell of a conference for BYU's non-football sports.
On the MWC side, the additions of Fresno and Nevada the MWC has furthered its case for inclusion into the BCS. As long as both TCU and BYU remain in the conference the next step should be to add Houston, creating a 12 team conference with a north and south division. Two good divisions with teams in each that can compete for the conference championship.
BYU – BSU – Fresno State – Air Force – Wyoming – Colorado State
TCU – Houston – Nevada – UNLV – San Diego State – New Mexico State
An auto-tie in with the next BCS game, the Cotton Bowl, would give the championship game real meaning. This is all possible as long as BYU does not leave for independence and TCU stays instead of returning to Conference USA, which has been rumored. TCU would be throwing away any chance of being a part of an automatic bid conference. Returning to Conference USA is a move backwards; they are nowhere near receiving an automatic bid.
In my opinion everyone needs to sit tight in the MWC and see how this shakes out. Adding Fresno, Nevada, and hopefully Houston (assuming BYU stays) will make the MWC by far the best non-AQ conference. This is closer than we have every been to getting all the best non AQ teams in the same conference, and it would be a shame to see BYU or TCU leave for nothing. There is nothing to leave for, nothing better out there.