The Brigham Young Cougars left the Mountain West Conference to join Army, Navy, and Notre Dame as an FBS Independent. How many seasons will the Cougars last as an independent before rejoining a Conference?
I think that the general idea behind the independence move was to go as long as possible, ride the wave from its new network, and rake in as much money as they could without sharing the cash with anyone. On paper, it looks like a tremendous idea. In reality, I believe that it will look much different.
Notred Dame survives on name alone, and it has a following worldwide that is trumped by just about no other. You say "Notre Dame" and all kinds of emotions go off, and they run the full range. BYU, while having a religious base in the Mormon church that is growing by leaps and bounds, still does not have that name brand that Notre Dame does, nor will it have the same draw scheduling-wise that Notre Dame enjoys. While the BYU Network will likely be getting a ton of play in the West, I don't see a huge following in the South, or the Northeast since you can take the Northeast and flush it down the nearest toilet, because college football doesn't mean shit to those people as a whole.
I believe that if the Big 12 came calling as a last minute piece to save its conference after Texas A&M bolts for the SEC and Texas goes independent, that BYU would be hard pressed to say no to that offer. As if the Pac-12 members have not taken an anti-religion stance (this means you, Cal), BYU would be in the conference, and Colorado, who was basically a 7th choice to join, would still be stuck in the crumbling Big 12 itself. Speaking from a long standing involvement in all things Pac-10, I know that everyone that I am afflliated with in the conference much preferred BYU to Colorado.
BYU will rejoin conference affiliation as soon as someone makes a real and true overture, and it will be worth a ton of money.
There’s a couple of ways to look at this. BYU is no doubt looking at Notre Dame as a model of where it wants to be in ten years: a national following, weekly TV coverage, and a home-and-away schedule of solid teams from across the country. That is the best-case scenario, but it could end up being far less ideal in reality. BYU is at a different level than Notre Dame almost across the board: history, national recruiting capability, television ratings, etc., so it seems like an extremely risky proposition. We also have to factor in the potentially tectonic shift that may happen in conferences over the next few years. If the Pac-12, for example, wants to take a leap to a Pac-16 within five years, BYU has to be on that short-list. My guess is that BYU will be in one of the super-conferences within the next 5-10 years but will do fine as an independent in the meantime.
The BYU Cougars are in a good position to survive as an independent program. They are on the rise as a football program and they have their own network. But much like Notre Dame, they have a religious affiliation that gives them access to a national fan base. That being said, it is a tough task to survive as an independent because there are limited spots for opposing teams to schedule you each season. Additionally, they will start having trouble scheduling home-and-home series with teams, since everyone wants a home game for its fans. The novelty will start to wear off after the first couple seasons and I think they will start looking for a conference tie in to help with scheduling, and give them some bowl options every year.
The Texas Longhorns are coming off a disappointing 5-7 2010 season. QB Garrett Gilbert struggled much of the season as the starter. Head Coach Mack Brown has stated that there will be an open competition for the starting QB spot during fall practice. What's the chance that Case McCoy (Brother of current Cleveland Brown and former Longhorn QB Colt McCoy), can beat out Gilbert to become the opening game starter?
It won't take much to boot Gilbert out of the job. Texas does not lose and take it well, EVER! Mack Brown was fuming after last season, and he reworked his staff, bringing in very bright offensive minds in Bryan Harsin and Major Applewhite to turn the offense around. Texas was able to move the ball at times, but the major issue was turnovers, and Gilbert was a specialist there. Between several fumbles and 17 picks, Gilbert became the poster child for awful QB play and became an easy target for all that illed the Horns.
Gilbert was not the worst player on offense. The line was awful and the run game was a tragic bucket of shit. That being said, there was probably not mch more that he could have done, and he was pressing, as there was even more pressure playing in the shadow of the departed Colt McCoy, who basically pissed burnt orange.
Gilbert will have every opportunity to win the job, but his leash is short, and Case McCoy may not even be the guy to take the job, as there is a strong depth of young options behind even him. One thing is for sure- we will know sooner than later.
McCoy had a good spring game but that’s like a backup NFL running back lighting it up in a preseason contest in the 2nd half. Unless he very clearly separates from Gilbert, I would think Gilbert gets the start and the chance to recover from his below-par 2010 freshman campaign. (Should McCoy get the start, I’d look for Gilbert to transfer.) I’m not watching camp on a day-to-day basis, so I have no clue what the chances are. When in doubt, I’d go with the incumbent, but he’ll obviously be on a short leash.
While most people would have you believe that the starting job would be Case McCoy's to lose, that would be wrong. Gilbert has the experience of a rough season and is poised to retain his starting spot. But he will have to hold off a charge from David Ash, who has reportedly passed Case McCoy on the depth chart. But it is unlikely that Mack would start another inexperienced quarterback. This is why I think that Gilbert will at least start the first game or two.
Al Golden turned the Temple Owls from perennial losers to a respectable program during his five seasons as Head Coach, taking the Owls to their first bowl appearance since 1979. Can he help turn his new team, the Miami Hurricanes back to a National Championship powerhouse of the 1980s and early 2000s?
Al Golden is a great football coach. My concern is not about will he win at Miami, which I am guessing that as soon as he sorts out his terrible QBs, he will, but how long he'll stay at Miami. He will be on a very short list at the Penn State job as soon as JoePa dies on the field, which almost happened at camp this very week. His dream job is the Penn State job, and now that he turned around Temple, he has built very strong ties that would tie in nicely to the Penn State gig. Recruiting South Florida and building those networks will not hurt his chances to draw that talent into the Happy Valley and have the ability to turn Penn State, not necessarily Miami, into a yearly contender.
That being said, he needs to win at Miami first, and that will be a tough task, as Florida State and Florida are way ahead of the game right now, and South Florida is biting them on the ass for talent. Miami has to get back to being the place that the kids want to flock to, and Golden has the ability to draw them in.
I think Golden will bring discipline and improved execution back to Coral Gables, but it’s not clear yet whether he can assemble the dazzling array of talent that Butch Davis assembled a decade ago. The entire country now looks at South Florida as a must-visit recruiting territory, so Miami will have a tough time really locking that region down like they may have in the past. Miami is now also in a league with several other teams who are also on their level from a “program” standpoint so flat-out dominance is hard to picture at this point. I do think he’s a step up from a CEO/management standpoint than Randy Shannon but it doesn’t feel like a real leap forward and a guaranteed home run like, say, Nick Saban heading to Alabama felt like a few years back.
While Al Golden did something so surprising and unexpected during his tenure at Temple, it is a whole different ball game when it comes to dealing with a program like Miami. It was amazing to see Temple go from laughingstock to an acceptable program, but it had no sense of the pressure to win that he will face at Miami. He is playing in one of the best conferences in all of the USA, and he will be facing one of the toughest schedules year after year. While there is the thought he will be able to put Miami back on top of the mountain, the one thing he needs is to be able to recruit better than his in-state rivals and find a way to get that extra push from his players during the season. If he is given the adequate time, I think you will see Miami back on top of college football, but will the AD and the boosters give him enough time?
For the second season straight season Boise State opens their season on the road in a nationally televised game vs. a BCS Conference team. Can the Broncos continue their streak of defeating big time football programs or will they finally fall short?
Last season brought wins against Virginia Tech and Oregon State. Over the years, they have wins against Oregon, Oklahoma, etc. Yeah, not only can Boise State win the Georgia game, they will, and handily, even in the Georgia Dome. Boise State is so much better than Georgia right now, that if Mark Richt is depending on a win here, you may as well pack his office up for him right now. Georgia is a fraud in the SEC and has been for years. They are to the SEC what Cal is to the Pac-12, a team that never meets expectations, and falls flat as barely average. Boise will continue to their attack on power conference schools with ease and it's about time people started treating them as the force that they are.
Can they? Sure. Who would argue otherwise given their track record over the past five years? Heading into Atlanta to play Georgia is going to be a true road game test for them and they lost quite a bit of talent from last year’s squad, particularly off the offensive side of the ball. The defense should be stout and, fortunately, they’re playing an enigmatic Georgia squad that is also recovering from some major losses of their own on the offensive side of the ball. If Boise State’s secondary can withstand the attack of Aaron Murray through the air, Boise State absolutely is in this game. Can’t wait to watch although the real jewel of the opening weekend is going to be the all-out war between Oregon and LSU.
Boise State will have one of its toughest games to start the season when it opens at Georgia. Not only are the Broncos traveling across the country to start the game, but they are playing a tough SEC opponent in a tough venue such as the Georgia Dome. I think there is starting to be a chink in the Boise State armor and I wouldn't be surprised to see them finally fall. But as a fan, I want to see them continue to succeed because it is always fun watching the underdog knock off a big-time program, even though Boise doesn't really fit the underdog anymore. They have been in the spotlight for the last two or three seasons.
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