BYU Football Roundtable – Independence or Conference

We wanted to try something a little different as this off-season is getting underway.  We asked ten questions of some of our Cougar contributors about the state of the BYU football program as well as what they say in 2012 and hope to see in 2013.

This group will be familiar to many of you, but just in case you need a refresher, here it is: Matt Quinney, Carl Behunin, Mike Livingston, Don MacArthur, and new-comer Scott Gower.

We will post one question with each response every day for the next ten weekdays.  Make sure to check in every day to get your BYU Cougars update from our roundtable of Cougar faithful.

BYU LOGO8. If you held all the cards and had the power to choose one way or the other, would you choose independence or conference alignment? Why?

Carl Behunin:

Big 12 LogoIf I knew they were not a target of being cherry-picked like the Big East or ACC, I’d choose the Big 12 all the way.  They’re the most logical choice and the conference that’s looking at BYU.  I’d be doing everything in my power short of looking desperate on prom night to get in to the Big 12.  Independence is wonderful, and I’ve backed Indy from the beginning as a short-term solution from getting out of the Mountain West and eventually getting to a power conference.  If it doesn’t work out, they could always head back to the MWC or form a ‘best of the rest’ conference.

Don MacArthur:

BYU ESPNRight now?  Independence and it isn’t even close.  IF we get an offer from the Big 12 or something like that (please not the Pac 12…I do NOT want to be in the Pac 12), then my response may change, but even then it may not.  There are pros and cons to EVERY situation.  None of them are perfect options, so you need to focus on why we are choosing Independence instead of focusing on why we are not doing more to get in a conference.  Fans keep viewing BYU and its position with the same standards as any other school. But BYU is by its own design and admission, DIFFERENT. You can debate all you want if that’s good or bad, but it is what it is.  BYU has different goals and a different approach to achieving those goals. Right now, we have the ability to manage our own destiny with TV contracts, schedule, etc.  In a conference, we give up a lot of autonomy.  In the Big 12, we would initially and probably always be in over our heads in terms of competition week to week. It’s great to say the Big 12 would be awesome to be a member, but in five years from now after we get our teeth kicked in and end up in the bottom half with the ISU’s and usually KSU’s, it may not seem so appealing.  When we have to give up a lot of our access to the Cougars on TV, online, etc., it will be painful.  There are also plenty of reasons to join as well obviously.  Bottom line?  As things are currently, we stay Independent.

Matt Quinney:

IndependenceIf the world were perfect, I’d stay independent. I love the idea of the team traveling to places they’ve never played and playing teams with storied traditions.  However, the world is not perfect and the unfortunate truth is that college football is going to all but require conference membership in order to be accepted at the highest levels.

Mike Livingston:

Pac 12I would take Indy over small conference all day.  BYU has the same BCS hopes as any MWC team.  My fear with Indy so far it that is has let Bronco hide his mediocre teams easier.  At least in the MWC when BYU was losing to TCU and Utah they had to attempt to get better.  For decades Notre Dame has created the smoke screen of relevance by beating up on 6-7 bad teams.  In the BIG 12/PAC 12 BYU would have to evolve quickly which is what any true BYU fan wants.

Scott Gower:

Jell-oLiving outside of the Jell-o Belt, I love independence. I love that BYU seems to come out to the Midwest every year for the foreseeable future. I love that I am able to watch every game at home (and I don’t own a TV). However, if the Big 12 of Pac 16 comes calling, and we don’t have to give up too much (read: TV contract), BYU has to listen and probably has to go.

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