BYU: Independence or Conference Affiliation?

There is a seemingly endless debate as to whether Independence of Conference Affiliation would be a better situation for the BYU Cougars.  Having just listened to the recent Locked on Jazz podcast with David Locke and Greg Wrubell I’m more convinced that the BYU admin would prefer a conference affiliation but will only do it on their terms, which won’t be small.  But I’m not here to debate one way or the other.  There is clearly no doubt that the price would (and should) be different depending on the conference as well.  Playing in the Big XII is more appealing than any sort of new Big East, but again, I’m not here to make a case.

The other night I had the thought that the biggest issue with Independence fans have is the lackluster competition that we’ve played this season.  As the points have been discussed ad nauseam, I won’t go on about them, but just quickly resubmit them.  1 – This is year one of the project.  I think anyone would be hard-pressed to find a better result for scheduling on such short notice.  2 – Are New Mexico St, Idaho, and Idaho State any worse than New Mexico, UNLV, and Wyoming in November?

But let’s just look at the numbers.  I used the Sagarin ratings to make my examples.  I started by analyzing BYU’s schedule this year and averaging their rankings (rank) and strength of schedule (SOS).  I also looked at this year’s MWC and Big East Conference, and then finished by putting together what the proposed Big East would have looked like this year (with BYU in the equation.)  The numbers showed that we were comparable to the MWC but in a far easier competition than if we were in the Big East or even the proposed Big East.  (All data is as of the November 26, 2011 ratings provided on USAToday.)

BYU 2011 Schedule

Proposed Big East 2011 Schedule

Rank

SOS

BYU

45

95

Ole Miss

108

12

Texas

14

4

Utah

38

40

UCF

82

103

USU

74

93

SJSU

95

74

OSU

81

15

ISU

208

124

TCU

21

75

Idaho

134

82

NMST

130

89

Hawaii

93

115

Average

89.83

68.83

Rank

SOS

Proposed BE

NA

NA

Cincinnati

36

80

Rutgers

49

76

Louisville

56

62

South Florida

66

65

Connecticut

78

70

Boise State

8

51

Air Force

70

102

Navy

80

63

UCF

82

103

SMU

68

77

Houston

10

111

BYU

45

95

Average

54

80

Big East 2011 Schedule

MWC 2011 Schedule

Rank

SOS

Big East

6

NA

WVU

32

67

Cincinnati

36

80

Rutgers

49

76

Louisville

56

62

Pittsburgh

59

43

USF

66

65

Connecticut

78

70

Syracuse

85

59

Average

57.6

65

Rank

SOS

MWC

8

NA

Boise St

8

51

TCU

21

75

SDSU

53

83

Wyoming

69

85

Air Force

70

102

Colorado St

137

97

UNLV

147

68

UNM

171

61

Average

84.5

78

So, based on the numbers, we are the same we were last year in the MWC, but the competition is a little bit less than if we were in the Big East.  But keep in mind, this is year one.

I used the same data to take a look forward at the next few schedules for BYU based on the data provided by FBSchedules.com.  Granted, the data is based on this year’s data and being applied to future schedules so there is no guarantee of the data being consistent through 2015, but it helps to see that the scheduling improves by leaps and bounds.  (Only 2012 is full as of right now, so I took an average of the 2011 WAC assuming the league continues to provide scheduling for the Cougars should there be a need.  I’ll show the average ranking by year with and without the WAC help.)

Year

Rank

W/ WAC

SOS

W/ WAC

2011

89.83

NA

68.83

NA

2012

77.92

NA

68.00

NA

2013

43.13

48.60

62.50

65.04

2014

49.00

53.82

77.50

78.38

2015

48.60

67.08

67.20

84.28

Each year gets progressively better with only next year lagging behind this year’s proposed Big East.  Ultimately, what we have is evidence that with just a little time, our scheduling gets much, much better.  If BYU can work out some November match ups against teams such as Notre Dame, Hawai’i, and Boston College (again, listen to the podcast between Locke and Wrubell) and get some favorable start times, this independence gig seems to be a win-win for the BYU admin and fans alike.

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