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Friday, February 19, 2010

The Real Reason BYU won’t be Invited to the Pac-10

We all know that the Pac-10 Conference is looking to expand. We all know that BYU is in the mix for one of the presumed to be two invitations to join. We all think we know the reasons why, in the end, BYU will not be invited: BYU is not a research institution, BYU is sponsored by a religion that clashes culturally and politically with several existing Pac-10 members, and BYU does not bring enough money to the table. Well, we are wrong.

Each school has a vote on whether a team should be invited. Hear is a look at how I think each team will vote on the question: “Should the Pac-10 invite BYU to join the conference?”

1. Arizona: Yea. The Wildcats won two out of its three football games against BYU from 2006-2008. The 2008 win gave Arizona its first 8 win season and first bowl win since 1998. It also saved head coach Mike Stoops’ job.

2. Arizona State: Nay. Two words: Max Hall. Hall redshirted at Arizona State in 2004 and then left for his mission. After his mission he transferred to BYU and started from 2007 to 2009. His record as a starter was 32-7. Arizona State’s record during that same time was 19-18. Even though Arizona State has not had an undefeated season since it was in the WAC with BYU, the Max Hall situation tips the scales against inviting BYU.

3. USC: Yea. USC was BYU’s biggest supporter. The school lobbied vehemently with the other nine schools to vote yea as well. USC has not won a national championship since its 2003 to 2004 home-and-home series with BYU. In fact, the Trojans won the national championship both years they played BYU. They reasoned that with BYU on the schedule they would not only win seven consecutive Pac-10 championships, but they would win seven consecutive national championships.

4. UCLA: Nay. This was a no brainer for the Bruins. Even with Norm Chow and Ben Olson on their side in 2008, they still lost 59-0. UCLA is unwilling to schedule BYU for the next 59 years.

5. Cal: Nay. This nay vote is not because Cal is the most notoriously liberal school in the Pac-10. Cal is able to get over all the political and cultural differences between BYU and its sponsor religion; otherwise, they would have never hired BYU alum Tom Holmoe as the head football coach. The real problem is what Holmoe did to Cal football. In Holmoe’s tenure from 1997 to 2001, Cal was 16-39 and 1-10 in his final season.

6. Stanford: Nay. Jim Harbaugh pleaded with school administrators to vote yea. He missed his chance to take a national championship away from BYU in 1984 when a broken arm kept him out of the Michigan line up for the Holiday Bowl. With BYU in the conference he would be in position to rob BYU of a national championship if BYU is ever in that position again. Alas, Harbaugh is only one man. Stanford is still fuming about losing the 2002 women’s cross country national championship to BYU, especially since Stanford was initially declared the winner. They also fear that they will lose recruiting battles with BYU for top LDS athletes like Mark Madsen and Kirk Chambers.

7. Oregon State: Nay. It was bad enough that BYU had to embarrass the Beavers the way they did in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas last December, but did they have to do it with former Oregon State defensive standout Bronco Mendenhall as their coach? There was a reason that the two schools had not played each other for over twenty years. I don’t think that Oregon State wants to start seeing BYU on an annual basis.

8. Oregon: Nay. Like Stanford, Oregon is afraid of recruiting battles with BYU. They remember how hard it was to get Haloti Ngata to come to Eugene instead of Provo. The Ducks also remember the 38-8 Las Vegas Bowl beat down in 2006, and they still wake up with cold sweats at night after having flashbacks of Ty Detmer orchestrating a 19-point second half comeback win in 1989.

9. Washington State: Nay. Washington State wants to be the alpha Cougar. They don’t think they can compete with the BYU Cougars. They have their own horror stories of Ty Detmer and how he passed for nearly 1,000 yards in two games against them. In one of those games Detmer directed a 43-point second half outburst to overcome a 29-7 halftime deficit for a 50-36 victory. The two schools haven’t played since.

10. Washington: Nay, but they reserve the right to change to Yea. Within the last year, Washington opted out of a contract for future games with BYU. They don’t want to play BYU as a non-conference opponent, let alone as a conference foe. Do you think this has anything to do with the way the 2008 game ended with the blocked extra point attempt following the Jake Locker celebration penalty? However, Washington does like what former BYU quarterback Steve Sarkisian is doing as head coach, and they can avenge the 2008 loss with an opening day win in Provo this year. Therefore, Washington is willing to change its vote to a yes if they like the way things go in 2010.

The final results speak for themselves: 2 Yeas, 8 Nays. The last I heard, BYU would need a unanimous vote to be invited. The real reason BYU will not be invited to join the Pac-10 is that most Pac-10 schools have too much to lose, and little to gain, by competing against BYU

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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