Is BYU Too Difficult?

In Spring 2011 I was bored of the drama in Jazz World, lamenting the time off between the SuperBowl and fall camp (knowing full well the NFL would likely lockout), and like most of the ardent Cougar fans, waited for Spring ball to conclude so I could catch a glimpse of my Cougars in action.  Shortly before the Spring game, I discovered podcasts starting with the guys at Cougar Center.  I found my second BYU podcast in the form of the Rise and Shout Podcast.  I then made my foray into “enemy territory” and started downloading the Dog & Deuce podcast (both the hosts are the most passionate Ute fans.)  I’ve been hooked on podcasts since.

In the Dog & Deuce podcast, episode 49, the hosts interview Jimmy Chesh who had just broken this story.  While I was listening to this interview, a lot of thoughts came to mind.  However, the two most prevalent thoughts were:

  1. In this whole “debacle” that was the Big East negotiations, how did BYU come off as the bad guy who was “difficult to work with?”  Other than a one-year guarantee of BCS AQ access, what exactly was the Big East offering BYU that would make them give up independence, exposure, and higher pay days?
  2. My second thought is actually courtesy of Deuce who asked what was in this for Notre Dame. If they already have access, what do they care if the Big East continues playing football? (You really should download the podcast and hear it for yourself.  Great line of questioning.)

First thing I did today was to send these two lines of thought to Carl for his thoughts in the matter.  Quite frankly, his answers didn’t give me much to go on (in his defense, I sort of dropped this on him and shouldn’t expect a great answer without any forethought.)  As I wrote my email to him I found myself answering the second query.  The only solution I could come up with regarding Notre Dame would be that if the Big east folded as a viable football conference, the rest of those teams (Cincinnati, UConn, and Louisville would head to greener pastures and cause a tear in the basketball viability that would adversely affect the rest of the sports in the conference where Notre Dame plays all its non-football sports.  That being said, it seems near hypocritical of Notre Dame to care so much about their own network that they would deny a partner school the right to do the same.  But I digress since my point isn’t so much about Notre Dame as the first one.

I took my line of questioning to Twitter, specifically to @DogAndDeuce and @CheshSports because I didn’t feel anyone had taken the line of what BYU would get in return for compliance to the demands of the Big East.  I had no idea my questions would start a firestorm of responses and conversations between not only the three of us, but others as well.  I finally had to stop in order to compose my thoughts, but five hours later, the conversation is still carrying on.

My question was essentially, “What exactly was the Big East offering other than one guaranteed year of BCS access?”  In all this, why wasn’t BYU allowed to negotiate some of their concerns?  Why is BYU the bad guy for wanting an easy out if the BCS access was lost?  Why is BYU the bad guy for wanting their ESPN contract to hold for home games?  Was there anything else BYU was getting from this deal?

The first response was Deuce who said the overlying offer was the BCS Bowl opportunity and that it was a risk he was willing to take.  It prompted me to ask him what the risk was if BYU took that offer and didn’t make the BCS game.  At that point, others joined in and issues of stability, burned bridges, and conference championships came up.

Overall, I had a great conversation with Deuce, Chesh, Dog (albeit from 10,000 feet up), BYUGIFF, 1BigVic, and andrewfox5.  I really wish I could fairly put up the conversation threads for everyone because it was really enlightening, but you’ll have to just start anew here.  What I’m hoping is to get your feedback as a reader of our blog.

  1. Do you feel BYU fairly treated the Big East?
  2. Do you feel BYU was fairly treated by the Big East?
  3. Is BYU asking for too much in these conference realignment talks?
  4. Is Deuce’s postulation that a one-year flier on the Big East is worth the risk that you may not get the BCS game and if the AQ goes away you can just go independent again?  BYU has shown an ability to pull it off.  And yes, he acknowledged the unenviable buyout clause for an early departure from BYU.
  5. Did BYU burn bridges with either the Big XII or the Big East?
  6. Is it more important for you as a fan to see BYU on TV most every week or miss some of their games but know that at least you have a conference championship to play for?

Leave a comment here for me and I’ll get back to all that I can.  I think this could be a great way to create an open and cognitive forum for further discussing this topic.

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2 Responses to Is BYU Too Difficult?

  1. Justin Butterfield says:

    Not enough time to write real coherent thoughts, but I have a few ideas as to why BYU is not too difficult to work with. I hope you can follow my ideas.

    1) BYU got railroaded with the MTN. Promises were made and not kept. Handshakes are not going to cut it. You had better believe that the board of trustees at

    2) Estimates for BYU home games with the ESPN deal are between 1 and 2 million per game. Six home games on ESPN this year mean a conservative guess of BYU taking home 6 million and as much as 12. Numbers I am hearing for Big East will be in the neighborhood of 3.5 million. If BYU is going to cut their TV revenue by that much, there has to be some concessions by the Big East.

    3) BYU has taken a lot of flack for their strength of schedule this year. For BYU to join, they will have to back out of future year schedules (that are much better than this year). If the Great Big East can’t hold an AQ to BCS, or worse falls apart completely, it will be three steps back for BYU.

    I’m not saying I’m sold on independence. I had season tickets this year, and believe me I would have preferred to see some better competition this year; however BYU is far enough down the Indy road that it is looking like it will work out just fine. If and when the Big XII goes to 16, there will be other opportunities, as it looks like the B12 is trying to pick up L-ville and Cincy anyway. I don’t know that the Big East survives long enough to become the Great Big East.

  2. Matt says:

    Justin, thanks for the reply. I, for one, agree with all you said. Its interesting that the Great Big East (GBE) still hasn’t figured stuff out yet. I thought that they had several back up plans but none seem to have come to anything yet. Doesn’t sound like a good plan to me and if I’m the teams that were looking to get in, I’d be glad for BYU’s strength is telling them no thank you. BYU had everything to lose and nothing to gain by joining that conference.
    I too had tickets and I enjoyed every game, but Idaho State at 8:15 on Nov 19 is really late and really cold. It’d be a lot better against Utah or Boise State and I think it will get better. We just have to be patient for it. I read an article the other day that suggested BYU and ESPN work something out to move this BSU series to Thanksgiving Day to replace the Texas – Texas A&M series that has always been that day. That would be awesome!

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