With the University of Utah already entrenched as a member of the Pac-12 Conference, the race is on for other similarly sized schools in the state to do what the Utes did, in some way, shape or form.
Though the state is about 10 years behind California when it comes down to fashion trends and nearly anything else, it seems like BYU and Utah State are on a collision course for football in a super conference.
Pretty soon, no Division I team will be left wanting a spot, because according to some, there may not be one left.
That is the dilemma facing both BYU and Utah State going forward.
BYU and Utah State are like your kicking and screaming children being forced to eat lima beans and sit at the grown-ups table.
They have fought against and scratched at any notion that going to a bigger conference will be good for them, despite some fans’ insistence that the grass will truly be greener on the other side.
This goes in consort with other fans‘ demands for a better playing field, and still other fans’ refusal to attend games against Bo Diddley Tech.
The schools have held strange press conferences, yet built football centers. Nothing truly makes any sense when it comes down to what these schools want.
They want bigger payouts in terms of TV contracts, yet they also want the independence to be able to play who they want, when they want. Who’s gonna appease them? That’s right, Idaho.
BYU claims football is third on its list of priorities behind God and family, yet the Cougars want to win 10 games every season and go to a bowl game. Utah State wants to get to its first bowl game in almost 20 years, yet the travel-weary school refuses to budge from its current stance.
Fair enough, but when your options are limited to say, Boise, Albuquerque or Fort Worth, it’s hard to get any fans excited when not one of those vacation spots is listed in any Top 100 U.S. vacation destination guide that starts with the letter F.
The best-case scenario for either school right now is membership in a non-automatic qualifying (or non-AQ) conference and a trip to a place without an ocean view.
If you’re a BYU or Utah State fan, you can see your argument for being a member in a super conference through to infinity, considering that Utah’s worst-case has the Utes playing in Las Vegas, a vastly warmer place and bigger payout than either the New Mexico Bowl or the Armed Forces Bowl.
Of course, there is another faction that believes both BYU may stay and play in the independence/WAC and Utah State in the WAC for football, but if you truly believe that, I have some oceanfront property in Idaho for you to own.
The sticking point seems to be revenue sharing in the case of BYU. While it is true that BYUtv may be cluttering the negotiatons, as recent reports may have you believe, Texas was able–with its own network, mind you–to cut a deal with the Big 12, the conference that BYU is reportedly considering.
BYU-to-the-Big 12 rumors from reputed “sources” have sprung forth faster than writers can conjure them up, but one thing is clear: No deal is dead yet.
BYU-to-the-Big 12 rumors may die one day, only to have some writer from the New York Post bring them back to life and resurrect fans dreams, if only for another day.
As for Utah State, reports have the Mountain West Conference considering a football-only merger with Conference USA and the Big East Conference–and Utah State is on their list of candidates that they would like to add.
Of course, if you‘ve followed Aggie football at all this season, you already know that USU‘s schedule looks more like a Mountain West slate than a WAC triptych.
The school cleverly buried all of its conference opponents at the end of the schedule, allowing the Aggies to play Colorado State, Wyoming and even former MWC member BYU at the outset.
If that isn’t a school looking forward and not back at its rearview mirror, then you don’t know which end is what, and who Bo Diddley Tech is.
If the merger of the three conferences goes through, and Utah State does indeed join, history will be made, creating what would be in essence an unheard-of 32-team super conference, with four geographical divisions.
Something of this magnitude would allow the three conferences to, in theory, retain AQ status, and in the case of the MWC and CUSA, actually get a legitimate opportunity at a BCS spot.
For now, however, BYU and Utah State will wait to see how everything plays out, as usual. But as BYU and Utah State both know, this could all change by tomorrow.