When they opted for football independence, the BYU Cougars placed their other sports in the West Coast Conference. two seasons later, there seems to be some buyer's remorse from some BYU observers.
You had to know it was coming.
When the BYU Cougars opted for independence rather than continue on in the Mountain West Conference with what many observers and fans considered;
- A substandard television deal that kept BYU's third tier rights locked away in a safety deposit box somewhere in Colorado Spring.
- A lack of true national coverage, especially in football - and the accompanying praise.
- Did I mention, a substandard television deal
Leaving out the argument that the Cougars could not allow their formerly heated rivals, the Utah Utes, to outshine them with their newly minted membership in the Pac-12... Um... yeah... OK.
I'm having trouble with that one... so let's just move on.
Independence was a football-only move obviously. The rest of BYU's sports were moved to the West Coast Conference, a move hailed as a step up by some BYU fans - the Gonzaga Bulldogs and St. Mary's Gaels were suitable substitutes for the San Diego St. Aztecs and UNLV Runnin' Rebels.
Well now, with BYU's men's basketball team 14-4 and 4-0 in the WCC - and getting no votes in either the Associated Press or Coaches polls -- a noted Salt Lake City sports personality is wondering aloud if BYU made the right move.
Over at ksl.com, Patrick Kinahan writes in his column Tuesday that:
The WCC, where most BYU sports were dumped when the football program became independent, is a bad basketball conference. Simple as that.
Too harsh, you say? Try to name another time in its history when BYU was 14-4 and 4-0 in conference and not almost certain to make the Big Dance.
Can’t do it.
Not "Placed with careful consideration," Patrick? Nope. Dumped.
Anyway... Kinahan writes that BYU gets no credit for wins over WCC teams that don't have Gonzaga or St. Mary's written across their chests because the WCC is "a second-rate league" -- something many observers pointed out before BYU moved to the WCC, (Though I'll grant you many of those "observers" were Internet trolls trying to incite Cougars fans on the Internet.)
So it seems that the WCC is not only not getting BYU any love from national observers (big shock there) but since the Cougars have not managed to unseat Gonzaga at the head of the WCC table, they also are not likely to get NCAA seeding that reflects their team's overall quality.
Even if the Cougars do get an at-large berth, their seeding would dictate a one-and-done appearance. We only need to look at last season as proof, when the Cougars were awarded with a play-in game and then earned the right to get spanked by No. 3 seed Marquette.
Lest any of you think I'm just trolling BYU fans, there is a point to all this.
San Diego St. Aztecs fans:
Read this column.
Take note of BYU's plight in the West Coast Conference.
Sure. The Big West has no equivalent to Gonzaga. Being the top team in that league should be easy enough, right? Well sure. But as they say "A rising tide lifts all boats." Do you want to be the wave or the boat?
A lot of Aztec fans speak in the same enlightened tones about the Big West as BYU fans spoke of the WCC.
Looks like that's working out pretty well, huh?