This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Two years ago today, BYU officially became a college football independent (although the announcement that it was doing so came on Sept. 1, 2010) and put most of its other sports in the West Coast Conference. Oddly enough, the WCC welcomes another member today, as University of the Pacific (UOP) re-joins the league after a lengthy absence. The WCC now has 10 schools. In some circles, BYU's seemingly bold decision to bolt the Mountain West Conference and go rogue in football is still being called at experiment. At least, that's what respected national college sports writer Pat Forde called it in this piece this morning on Yahoo! Sports' website. Deep in the article, Forde writes: "No additions or subtractions are planned, but the Mountain West undoubtedly is keeping its eye on BYU's ongoing independent football experiment. If the Cougars ever pull the plug on it, the league surely would love to have back one of its former flagship schools." I am currently working on an article assessing BYU's two-year experience as a college football independent and member of the all-private-school WCC. What do you think? As a BYU fan, are you happy with how this so-called independence "experiment" is working so far? Or do you detest it, and wish the Cougars had stayed in the Mountain West? If you have some strong opinions on the matter, email me at email@example.com, and I might just use your response in the article. Include your full name and city of residence, and keep it as short and succinct as possible. Obviously, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe believes the move has been a positive one. He spoke at length last week during BYU's Football Media Day about how well independence is working. Here's one snippet on that: "Right now, independence works for us. It is good," Holmoe said. "But in the event that there is a split in college football, where you have that ones that come over here, and the ones that go over there and that would mean Division I splits, we got to be on the ones, with the big boys. We gotta be over there. And right now, as an independent, we are not in the Big Five. So we are going to do everything that we can to position ourselves for the time when that happens, or if that happens. And that's important to us, because BYU football is a big part of college football ... When you add up all the numbers, it is hard to believe that BYU football is not in the discussions. There are reasons behind that. But when that time comes, we gotta be ready to roll. We have a good arrangement right now. We have a really good arrangement, and we are going to fight to get into those games. And one of the things that you say is, maybe Army and BYU as independents have the worst path, let me tell you, if we go 12-0, we are there. We are there. With the schedule that we have the next couple of years, no one is going to question our strength of schedule, and we will have knocked off some really good teams to get there. 11 and 1? Not quite sure if that will do it, depending on the year and everywhere else. If we were in a conference somewhere else, not a Big Five conference, I am not sure. You might slip in by some scenario. But we are not looking to slip in. We are looking to get there the best way we possibly can. When those non-Big Five teams get in, they will have earned it. But we can earn it by being great."