If you read my latest post you’ll remember I mentioned I was going to write a more detailed BYU post here. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this conference realignment issues, the good and the bad, and where I fit in the classification of BYU fans. I saw some tweets last night from @spafoo where he was assigning BYU fans into three categories. I think for the most part, you have two (mine are different than his, as in, much less creative.) You have Team Independent and Team (insert name) Conference. But this isn’t the only thing that has divided Cougar Nation. Recently, I saw a tweet from @kugrlover that outlined his feelings on BYU being divided between independence and being in a conference as well as the Jake vs. Riley debate. And he added the Navy vs. Royal debate, but I’m not getting into that one here. All he wants is for Cougar Nation to be united . . . in support of BYU.
Team Independence vs. Team Conference
Originally, I was all for Team Independent when it was announced; anything to get away from the clutches of The Mountain television network. I celebrated on July 1, 2011 when we finally entered our independence. I loved the new scheduling partner of ESPN when we landed Ole Miss, Texas, UCF, and Oregon State in year one. We added a six game contract with Notre Dame and games against many other fantastic schools which would allow BYU to race across the nation, playing in heralded venues, and making more money and generating more exposure for my Cougars in the process.
Then we struggled out of the gate and once again, conference realignment reared its ugly head. BYU got caught in the middle of a mighty struggle in the Big XII as it was doing all it could to save a conference divided. BYU appeared to be the biggest prize out there available for immediate membership in the conference and I admit, I got caught up in the excitement. The Big XII. Outside of the SEC, the best football is played there. And even more than that, losing the second and third games of the season wouldn’t mean playing for only a mediocre bowl game when you still had a conference to win. The idea was intriguing to me.
Then it failed. Oh well, back to independence. And then the Big East came calling with its crazy proposal of stretching from New York to Florida and westward to Provo and Boise. If the Big East would just give BYU rights to its home games, this was the perfect fit. But alas, it too was not meant to be as has been reported the last few days. Just for a quick thought on how the nation perceives the breakup of these talks, check out this ESPN SportsNation Poll.
I’ve thought a lot about this a lot over the past few days as I’ve tried to decide which team I’m on. I don’t know that I can make a decision one way or the other, because as @kugrlover desired, I too am 100% for BYU. I’m not going to give up my fanhood because they decide one way or the other. I’m not going to get all up in arms because they won’t discuss publicly, that which is meant to be private. This is BYU – we should be used to them keeping their decisions close to the vest (or argyle sweater in the case of Athletic Director Tom Holmoe.)
I’ve debated how much I should let my faith weigh on my decision and if I should let it sway my public loyalty to BYU. This morning tweets from @BYUGiff made me realize that it is part of who I am, and part of who BYU is. I know what manner of men sits on council with the BYU Board of Trustees and I know they will make decisions that will be in the best interest of BYU and the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder-Day Saints as they are the sponsoring organization. If I can’t agree with them on this decision, how can I follow their other councils?
Bottom line is, I am BYU. I believe they will do what is best for the school, the football (and other) team(s), and the Church as well. I know that I’m going to keep going to football games in November, even if they start at 8:00 PM and its only 30 degrees outside. It’s just what I do. And I’ll continue to be grateful that we haven’t had to sell our souls to win a few more games or reach a BCS game like so many other universities are discovering have happened in their own homes this past year. I’d rather win 10 games, be in the Armed Forces Bowl, and not be talked about publicly as a cheater or worse, than go undefeated and play in a major bowl game, but cheat on the way there. This is how BYU rolls, and I am grateful for it.