February 22, 2012

If the regular season ended today, the standings would have Saint Mary’s first, and because of the tie-breaker rules, BYU would be second and Gonzaga third, with Loyola Marymount fourth.  Each team has two remaining games and with certain upsets, that order could change drastically.  What will be the final order of the standings as the league moves to the conference tournament next week?

Matt – I’m predicting a BYU win tonight in Spokane against the Zags.  That win will secure the 2nd seed for BYU next week in the tournament and a straight play into the semi-final round.  SMC, BYU, GU, LMU, USF, SD, Pepperdine, Portland, SC.

Carl – Love easy, short answers: 1. SMU  2. Gonzaga  3. BYU  4. LMU

David – It’s a long shot to think that St Mary’s will lose their first place standing, and I also don’t see LMU moving up in the standings. Tonight’s game is huge for both BYU and Gonzaga. It could mean the difference between an invite to The Big Dance and being left out. It’s a tall order to ask BYU to beat the Zags at home, but if they are all healthy I can definitely see it happening. I’m thinking we’ll see the order go St. Mary’s, BYU, Gonzaga, and LMU.

Mark – 1. SMC 2. BYU 3. Gonzaga 4. LMU

Last week BYU announced upgrades to LaVell Edwards Stadium.  What are some other upgrades that you wouldn’t mind seeing at BYU’s Sporting Facilities?

Matt – First off, I would love to see the corners filled in at LES; even just the top half of the corners to create more of a bowl look.  I would also like to see a dedicated tailgating area near the stadium similar to what Ole Miss has in the Grove where the players can walk through on their way to the locker room.  My third addition would be some internal restaurants, not just food stands, along the lines of the BYU Creamery, Café Rio, or Teri Yaki.

Carl – Personally, I’d like to see four things upgraded.  1st – expand the press and executive boxes to the span the whole side, and possibly the other side.  2nd – add seating by filling in the corners with more seats.  3rd – converting all seats to chair backs.  And as a bonus 4th, add a BYU themed restaurant with BYU Creamery ice cream!

David – Even with close to 65,000 seats at LES, there is a need for more. The cougars will fill them as fast as they can install them. I would love to see the corners filled in and even another level built up on the east side, opposite of the boxes.

Mark – By far, the biggest one for me is a unified student section.  I know that has some blue hairs up in arms, but it is the right thing to do.  After that, I really hate parking down there.  Anything to improve the egress would be a step up.

With all the chaos that has happened over the last week in the West Coast Conference, how does the selection committee view the conference?  With the top three teams only separated by a game, is the conference showing enough strength to receive three bids, or too much weakness to justify two?

Matt – I think SMC slipping is bad for the conference.  That being said, of the three main conferences in the west (PAC 12, MWC, WCC) there are only seven teams with winning records against the RPI top 50 – Saint Mary’s, Gonzaga, BYU, UNLV, SDSU, New Mexico, and Cal.  With WCC commissioner Jamie Zaninovich on the committee, I think the league will still get a fair look at three deserving teams with recent legacies that include the NCAA tournament.

Carl – The selection committee always, ALWAYS loves to give excuses for why they took one or two fewer teams from a mid-major conference.  With the WCC losing some of its March Madness luster the last few years, I assume this year would be no different.  This should be a three bid league, but look for the 3rd team to be biting nails during others conference tournaments, making sure there are no upset auto-bids.

David – Saint Mary’s has a definite spot unless they lose both of their last two games. We can probably expect BYU and Gonzaga to both win their final games, but one of them has to lose tonight. Whoever wins has a spot. Unfortunately for Gonzaga, if they lose I think they will be left out. If BYU loses they still have a good enough record that they would be considered.

Mark – I don’t think that you get more than two bids out of the league.  Personally, I think there should be three bids, but the overall perception will dictate no more than two schools getting in.

Last week, BYU announced the football schedule for 2012.  Which game are you most excited for? Which are you least excited for? In addition to the teams already scheduled for the future, who would you like to see BYU schedule a home and home with the most?

Matt – I made mention of this in my post about “How do you feel about BYU’s scheduling?” post.  I am thrilled with the direction the team is heading.  My most exciting stretch is actually weeks 3-4 on the road to Utah and Boise State.  The Notre Dame/Georgia Tech stretch is sexier but this first one will be a good early test for this team.  My least exciting matchup is November, though I am happy to only trek to LES once in the month.  As for future scheduling, I’d love to see some games against any of the Big Ten crème de la crème: Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin.

Carl – For 2012, I’m actually most excited about the opener at home against Washington State.  I think with Mike Leach as the new head coach, they could surprise in the PAC 12.  I’m glad we’ll get them early in the year before they really have a chance to get Leach’s system down.  For future years, the best game I see is Texas at home next year.  If there isn’t standing room only at that game, we don’t deserve to have a stadium.

David – I am definitely most excited for the Fighting Irish. I’ve always been a big fan and love that they will become a regular opponent. I think the obvious answer to least excited is Weber State. They are trying to hype it up as an instate “rivalry” but we all really know it is just filler for an opening in a tough to fill schedule. I think that Texas would be a great partner to get regularly scheduled games going with. It is a win for both teams as far as exposure since both have huge fan bases and great TV deals.

Mark – I really like the Boise St. series.  I’m hopeful that BYU will be able to exact some revenge and exorcise Gary’s Ghost.  In the future, I want to see more games against heartland teams.  Nebraska is a nice addition to a future schedule.  It feels like we have played a lot of West Coast and East Coast teams without a lot of Middle America teams.  I would like to see that.

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