Deep thoughts...



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something I came across while researching this week's game:

BYU is one of only 4 teams in the FBS ranked in the top 20 in both total offense (15th) and total defense (16th). The other three teams are Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kansas. Those three teams just happen to be ranked 6th, 7th and 8th in the BCS Standings. Suffice it to say the Cougars are in good company--everywhere but where they'd like to be: with those teams in the national polls, or in one of their conferences.

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For the record, only 12 teams nationally have fewer than BYU's 2 losses, but upwards of 30 teams are ranked ahead of the Cougars in the polls. Realistically, the Cougs are probably 2 more wins (and a 6-game win streak) away from re-appearing in the national polls.

Of course, BYU's 1-2 start and surprising loss at Tulsa dropped the Cougars back in the national consciousness, but the plain truth is this: if you are not in a BCS league and not appearing consistently on national TV, a 1-2 start will earn you a lengthy exile from the polls, and unlike BCS conference members, teams like BYU earn little respect with league wins--or losses, for that matter.

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Let's say that an FBS team opened with a home loss to an FCS team, then lost the next game (also at home) by a score of 39-7. No way that team could climb back into the BCS Top 12 by the end of October, right? Well, actually, it's pretty easy--as long as your name is Michigan and you play in the Big Ten.

If your name is (insert MWC member name here) and your games are televised on a regional hodge-podge of cable systems, you had better get through September undefeated and stay undefeated into mid-October if you want a sniff of the big time.

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Despite the ease of its schedule, and the utter lack of respect from the BCS computers, Hawaii has done what is necessary to put itself into the BCS mix--namely, the Warriors haven't lost. Boise State is also in the mix, albeit wih one loss, but here's why:

The one loss came early enough in the season (week 2), it came to the right team (Pac 10 Washington, even though the Huskies are terrible), the Broncos have "redeemed" themselves on "exclusive window" (e.g. Friday night, Sunday night, etc.) national TV multiple times since, and hey, they're Boise State--last year's BCS superstars.

Voila--Hawaii and Boise State are battling for the big bucks, while BYU languishes outside the top 25.

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Don't get me wrong--the best way to gain a national foothold is to win games, and BYU's two losses damaged its chances to assume a place on the national stage this season.

But, when you look at BYU's:

-history and tradition (National Championship, Heisman Trophy, multiple national award winners, etc.)

-name recognition

-conference domination

-weekly attendance numbers

-national and worldwide following, and

-statistical performance that ranks it among national leaders year in and year out,

BYU "looks like" a BCS league member in every way but one: its conference membership and national coverage opportunities.

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BYU brass are aware of a sad fact: the school's membership in the MWC and the MWC's exclusion from the BCS have undone much of what was done during the Lavell Edwards era. In today's college football world, you are either "in the club," or you're not. Hawaii's not, Boise State's not, BYU's not. Yes, an undefeated season once every decade or so might catapult you onto the "big stage," but barring that, BYU will be playing for the honor of conference championships, and little else--until either the rules change, or the Cougars' conference affiliation changes. At least, that's the way I see things today.

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Like many other BYU fans, I would like to think that in the backrooms of the Big 12 (or less likely, Pac 10) conference offices, BYU is brought up from time to time as a possible target for either league expansion or membership replacement. Right now, it's only a hope. I trust BYU officials are making the right people aware that the school is looking for a better situation, now, will the situation present itself? It's perhaps the most important question surrounding the future of BYU Football.

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