Question: What is your opinion of the BCS system for determining college football's national champion, which was put in place in part due to BYU's 1984 national championship?
Edwards: The big objection I have with the BCS is that it excludes other schools that play football from getting an automatic bid. The Mountain West, the WAC, the Mid-American Conferences are excluded. It is unfair, plain and simple.
What has happened is they have tied up contracts with not just the major bowls, but the next level of bowls like we once played in, like the Holiday Bowl and a number of other bowls. Non-BCS schools have a hard time even getting into those. So that's the unfairness of the process, I think.
Question: What do you think of all these conference expansion and realignment rumors, and do you think a major change in the conference landscape is good for college football?
Edwards: This idea of four major conferences in the entire country, 16-team conferences, I never thought anything like that would ever happen. But now I am not really sure that it is not going to happen, at some point. It seems like one more step in the way college football is evolving, maybe moving away from the NCAA [control].
They created the bowl coalition, I think in 1996. Ironically, that year we were 14-1 and ranked No. 5 in the country, and we didn't get a BCS [bowl] game.
Now they have had the BCS for a few years, and are talking about all this expansion. I think it began with conjecture on the part of the news media, but now it seems like there is more substance to it than what I once thought.
I am not privy to any inside information, but there must be something happening out there.
Question: What do you see as the best fit for BYU in all these conference expansion scenarios?
Edwards: Well, I would like to see it stay the same as it is. But if it doesn't stay the same, then obviously the best would be to go west with the Pac-10. But from what I have heard and read, it doesn't appear like that is going to be the scenario. But again, you don't know.
I think it will be interesting. All I know about it is what I have read -- the possibility that we might be going to the Big 12. Either of those [Pac-10] or [Big 12] would seemingly be OK.
Question: How has the role of a head football coach changed in the last 10 years?
Edwards: I think there is a lot more pressure on coaches. They are paying so much more now, and so there is less patience from fans and administrators.
With the call-in shows, the Internet, a lot has changed. There's so much more scrutiny.
When I coached, we would have only one or two days [a week] when somebody from the press would show up, even local press.
The last 10 years or so, there is [media] here every day, and now there are at least three or four at practice every day, probably more.
And so if something happens out there, then right away it is on the Internet. You could have some flareup, or you could have something happen, and then all of a sudden somebody is going to write about it.
Then there's no journalistic responsibility, it seems, for those who put things on the internet. They can write pretty much whatever they want. So I think those things are what have made it more difficult.
Consequently, if you go out and lose a few early games, the job becomes that much more difficult.
Question: What is your overall impression of the job that Bronco Mendenhall has done as BYU's head coach the past five years and what do you think of the way he has infused religion into the program?
Edwards: I think he has done an excellent job. He's well-organized. I like the way that he has built on the past tradition. He is recruiting well. I think the whole staff is doing an excellent job.
I think every person that coaches, if they are going to be successful, they have to coach within the framework of who they are. They have to be themselves, and do what they think and what they believe. You don't want to copy someone else -- it is alright to emulate other qualities in other people, but you certainly don't want to imitate. And I think what he is doing, which is within the framework of what he believes, is the best approach. I applaud him for that, and for staying with it, and making it work. I think that's the bottom line, is that he is making it work.
Five Questions with LaVell Edwards--Tribune sports writer Jay Drew sat down recently with one of college football's coaching legends, former BYU coach LaVell Edwards, for a question-and-answer session on some of the sport's hot issues.