The Brigham Young Cougars--Still The Most Hated Team in America

The Brigham Young Cougars have accomplished a lot with Bronco Mendenhall as head coach. Forty-three wins the last four years, two conference championships, five consecutive bowl appearances, three bowl wins, and four seasons with a national ranking. Notwithstanding all this success, BYU has been unable to shed the label as the most hated team in America.

In June, the Pac-10 made it very clear that they had no interest in adding BYU. Books could be written showing that BYU is as good of a fit as any team for Pac-10 athletics. However, not even that could keep Pac-10 schools from ruling out BYU before the process even started.

The Big XII lost two teams last June, and they scoffed at the idea of finding two teams to replace what was lost. Even when rumors started to swirl that the Big XII might move back to 12 teams, TCU and Houston were viewed as more likely candidates than BYU. The Big XII knows that BYU would be a good addition to the conference. They have known it since 1994. Politics prevented BYU’s inclusion back then, but now that the door is open again to bring BYU on board, the Big XII is hesitant. Maybe there are some underlying factors that don’t make expansion prudent, at this time, but they could at least have mentioned that they would look at or be interested in BYU when they are ready to expand.

With the Pac-10 clearly out of the picture and the Big XII not immediately viable, BYU looked to better its situation by going independent. Not an easy task for anyone. Even Notre Dame is being pressured to join a conference, so you have to admire BYU’s willingness to take such a risk for the school to be more nationally relevant in football. Unless, of course, you are the Mountain West Conference (MWC). For years, the other members of the MWC have taken their relationship with BYU for granted. Then, when BYU decides that they have had enough, the MWC shows no sign of dignity. Rather than try to reach across the table and compromise with BYU, they go under the table in an attempt to unravel BYU’s plans.

The plan was for BYU to be independent in football, and the other athletic teams would move to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). When the MWC caught wind of this, they hastily invited Fresno State, Nevada, and Utah State to join the conference. Fresno State and Nevada accepted, even though they could face a $5 million penalty for leaving the WAC. The move by Fresno State and Nevada seal BYU’s status as the most hated team in America. As members of the WAC, they stood to gain through BYU’s independent status. However, when they were faced with a decision to do something good for themselves or do something bad for BYU, they chose the latter.

Whether we like it or not, BYU still is the most hated team in America, and it’s not even close.

To read more writings by The Editor you can visit College Football Haven.


  1. What would have happened if news of BYU going independent never leaked out and BYU actually did go independent? Would the MWC still have tried to undermine BYU by going after Nevada and Fresno State? Or would the MWC have tried to come up with a more diplomatic solution? Where would BYU be if MWC did the prior? I almost wonder if BYU intentionally allowed the news leak to see how others would react to their decision to go independent. That's probably not likely, but I think, in a way, it's fortunate for BYU that the news leak happened so that BYU could see others reaction and then plan accordingly. This way, BYU might be better prepared when they do decided to do something whether that is independence or not.

  2. Good question Devin. Not sure what the MWC would have done.

    I don't think BYU leaked the information. If BYU wanted a reaction BYU would have told the MWC, "This is what we are doing, and unless you can give us an offer we can't refuse, then this is the date we are leaving." BYU would try to avoid the media circus, that is for sure.

  3. Don't be too full of yourself or your accomplishments w/ football at BYU. Relevance is as relevance does. I don't think a schedule comprised of Army, Navy, Air Force, Utah, another Pac 10 school, one Big East School, one former Big 8 school, a couple a ducks, and a marquee game is going to attract any more attention than a solid sweep of the MWC. Face it, TCU has risen to the top of the chart in football. Bronco and his staff hasn't figured out the formula for toughness on that equation. The Pac 10 is weak, Utah is predicted to win it. I don't like the "new" additions of Nevada and FSU, although both programs are solid. Thompson said not too long ago, "we're done w/conference expansion"....the guy is useless. I think get the heads of these Universities around the table and come up w/ a 5 year plan, fire Thompson...hire the best CEO out there and guess what, we already know we're legit...BSU, TCU, Utah in the top 10 next year, and BYU on the bubble....c'mon!

  4. John,
    From what I understand, the move for independence is not BYU being "full of themselves." The statements by BYU officials indicate that BYU has been working on this for at least 3 years, and that the motive is to increase exposure of the school.

    I agree that the schedule you laid out would be reason to not go independent. I proposed a schedule in another post earlier this week that would be respectable, feasible, and accomplish the goal for increased exposure.

    Nevada and FSU give more reason to leave the conference.

    I have mentioned several times that I liked the direction of the MWC and I could really see wide spread acceptance that it was better than or equal to the Pac 10, Big East and ACC.

    Thanks for visiting the blog. Hope you come back often.

  5. Another question, didn't some majority, like 7 of 9, of the universities have to agree to expansion before Boise State could join the MWC? What allowed Craig Thompson to so hastily invite FSU and UNR? Why didn't Thompson have to acquire permission from the universities?

  6. MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson said every school, including Boise State voted in favor of inviting FSU and Nevada. The votes can be done by email or over conference call, not necessarily in an official meeting.

    I find it very, very hard to believe that BYU approved adding Fresno and Nevada. I don't know if a unanimous decision (like the Pac-10) or if even a no vote from BYU would not be enough to stop it because only a 2/3 or 3/4 majority is required.

  7. Interesting. I did some research and found out that before the conference added BSU. They needed 7/9. I don't know what is now, but you're right. BYU voting against FSU and Nevada's membership wouldn't be enough. However, I do find it hard to believe that it was unanimous.

  8. The rumors now are that BYU was NOT present/on the line when the discussion and vote took place. Not sure if that is permissible, but if 8 schools already said yes, then it doesn't make much difference.


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