BYU Road Games Not the Same
I posted last week about the reality of the WCC schedule setting in for BYU basketball. A string of WCC road games has driven that reality home even more. BYU is playing in gyms not much bigger than those found in local high schools. See what Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune has to say about it:
All that said – the Cougars are winning and taking care of business against these lesser teams. You just wonder how it will effect them when they have to step it back up to play big-time opponents.
Also keep in mind – the move to the WCC for basketball was essentially collateral damage from the Football independence move. When the football program left the Mountain West Conference and the terrible TV contract, the remainder of the BYU sports had to go as well. BYU originally intended to place their non-football sports in the more nationally recognized, Western Athletic Conference. That plan was thwarted when MWC commissioner, Craig Thompson, threw a counter-punch at BYU and raided the WAC of Nevada and Fresno State just as BYU was preparing to depart. Thompson and the MWC then went on to lure away Boise State as well (though in a crazy turn of events, the Broncos will go back to the WAC in basketball in 2013 after Boise football has now departed the MWC for the Big East). Needless to say, losing those teams made the WAC far less appealing and BYU reached out to the WCC. It was not a perfect marriage as the WCC does not have all the sports BYU plays. However, the Cougars were getting a bit desperate at that point and needed a soft landing somewhere.
Once the move to the WCC was made, we heard a lot about BYU not wanting to turn around and stab the WCC in the back after just committing to them. It is also widely recognized that since BYU is a faith based institution, they especially did not want to desert the schools of the WCC which are mostly faith based institutions as well. I believe that new found partnership weighed more heavily than we think when the BYU to the Big-12 rumors in all sports rumors were floating around.
Not saying BYU won’t ever leave the WCC, but for now, BYU ought to get accustomed to playing against these lesser opponents in smaller gyms. It might just be this way for awhile.