BYU took a big risk a few years ago, announcing their intentions to break away from the Mountain West and go independent. So far, the move has been relatively mixed from a success standpoint, as it looks like the school would join a conference if given the opportunity.
It looks like former head coach Bronco Mendenhall agrees that the school should join a conference.
Sustainability is a good point, as the rapidly-shifting landscape of college football could leave BYU extremely vulnerable. While BYU does have a TV contract, a dedicated fan base, and a tradition within college football, the school does not have the power like Notre Dame has in the College Football Playoff. Because of this, it makes winning a title at BYU even more difficult than it was before. The fact that Mendenhall left to take the job at Virginia is pretty telling of this.
The good news for BYU is that if the conference landscape shifts again, their name could be at the top of the list for realignment. The Big 12 may be looking to expand soon, and BYU is a school that is close enough to the conference’s existing footprint.
Of course, it’s unclear if the Big 12 even wants BYU right now, and it leaves the possibility that the Cougars could be completely left behind if they are not either picked up by a Power 5 conference, or elevated to the status of Notre Dame.
BYU needs to figure it out quickly over the next few years, as it is not likely to get any easier as time goes on.
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