With all signs pointing to a Texas move to the Pac-16, yesterday’s loss to Utah is but a small vicissitude for BYU fans to endure in the grand scheme of things. Add to this fact, increasingly dire reports that Oklahoma (and Oklahoma State by implication) are also ready to head west as well, and, well I’m in PANIC mode. Today, Pitt and Syracuse were accepted as the 13th and 14th members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Super Conferences are here, and its only a matter of time before Notre Dame joins either the Big Ten or the ACC. In other words, “It’s the end of the world as we know it!”
Here are some quick thoughts on what this means for BYU:
- You could not dream up a worse 12 hour time-frame for BYU football. First, an epic beat-down at the hand of your rival on your home-field. Then, the first step to football irrelevance as the Independence option becomes untenable.
- The blowout loss to Utah was a mere dumpster fire when compared to the Texas to the Pac-16 nuclear winter.
- If the 4 Super Conferences enact the Plus-1 format, teams like Boise, BYU, Navy will be officially locked out of any semblance of a championship hope. The BCS has tacitly accomplished this already. Super Conferences will make it explicit.
- If you thought the BCS was exclusionary to the non-power leagues, you ain’t seen anything yet.
- If the other 3 Super Conferences enact a Pac-12 esque Out-Of-Conference scheduling rule, forbidding teams from playing non-league games past week 3, you can kiss away any opportunity to be an independent.
- So, what are BYU’s options?
1) Hope ND stays independent. (Not likely)
2) Pray for a football-only invite to either the Big Ten or the ACC. (A snowball’s chance in Hades)
3) Aggressively move forward with BCS anti-trust legislation. (Won’t work, especially if Super Conferences separate from the NCAA entirely)
Frankly, it’s a bleak, bleak situation.
It reminds me of a great quote from William Faulkner regarding the Battle of Gettysburg. Just prior to Pickett’s Charge, which would eventually become one of the greatest military defeats in American history, the Confederacy was at its ‘high-water mark.’ It had declared Independence and after a two-year streak of military successes in the South, had invaded the North in an attempt to win the war. It all came down to this final charge. If the South could somehow break the Union line at Gettysburg, peace would be the consequence. Pickett’s Charge was that moment in time.
It was a gallant but futile effort, as Faulkner echoes here:
“For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out… it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin… Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain, [maybe we can] crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble.
— William Faulkner , Intruder in the Dust
Reflect back at the pre-game of the BYU-Utah game. The Big East was crumbling. The Big12 had seemingly been given a new ray of hope. I reflect on that time, when BYU may have had a place in the future of the college football, with a Faulkner like reflection. Those were the good ole days. Pickett’s Charge did not explicitly end the Civil War. Today’s news does not end BYU’s relevance. But, as the outcome of Pickett’s Charge was a writing on the wall for the Confederacy, today’s news of Super Conference expansion feels eerily familiar.