BYU and the Big East

New reports are flying out that BYU is seriously considering the possibility of joining the Big East after the conference lost Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC and TCU and West Virginia to the Big 12. Coach Mendenhall had previously confirmed that BYU had been in talks with the Big East. Now the buzz of BYU joining a conference is once again catching fire.

During BYU's press conference the Monday prior to the game against Idaho, Coach Mendenhall said, "There is a push and there are conversations that are in place for the Big East to convince or to have BYU join that conference."

On Tuesday the Utah airwaves were buzzing with talk about BYU possibly becoming a member of the Big East.

This comes on the heels of Coach Mendenhall saying, "With the landscape changing, the main benefit I can see on a short-term scale would be inclusion to the BCS system. That is up in two years, and whether the Big East can hold that spot with the new teams going in, my guess would be yes. I can't speak as to what we are going to do other than just to verify we have been approached."

On Tuesday, Coach Mendenhall didn't have anything new to report.

"I haven't heard a thing," Mendenhall said. "From what I said Monday the last time I was asked in the press conference … that's the latest I know. So, no new word to me."

Even Coach Doman has been prodded with questions concerning the subject, but the Cougar offensive coordinator contends he's heard nothing.

"People ask me so many questions about what's going on outside, this year particularly," Coach Doman said. "I don't know why or how, but I feel like I'm in a darn bulletproof room. I never hear anything that's going, which is great! It's a great thing and I don't know anything that's going on.

"I know Bronco had mentioned and said something to the media and the following day, or the night before, I'm looking at it like, ‘What? He said something about the Big East.' So, we don't care. We just want to win and play good and opportunities are significant. If other opportunities arise I'm sure they'll be great ones and we'll take advantage of it, or try to take advantage of it, if they come."

Reports are floating out there that Houston, UCF and SMU are on the verge of accepting an invitation to join the Big East, a conference with automatic BCS qualifying status. Meanwhile, Boise State and Air Force are also candidates for the conference. Coach Mendenhall's feelings on joining a conference like the Big East are tempered a bit, not knowing at this time exactly what programs will be affiliated with it.

When asked about what he thought about the Big East, he said, "You know, hard to say, and I don't know enough details really about [it]. We're just finishing year one [of independence] and [it's] hard to know who is in the Big East and what the fine print is. So, I'd rather not say until I know all the details, if that even is a possibility."

If BYU did, however, decide to declare a new conference affiliation, it would be Coach Mendenhall's desire to maintain some current existing contracts in regards to non-conference games, as well as maintain BYU's national television exposure and partnership with ESPN.

"Oh man, that's one of the biggest things that would be on my mind," Mendenhall said. "Just the amount of coverage that we've received this year is so, so strong and it would have to be a great conference package to make sense."

Regarding what scheduled series and games BYU would hold onto if it were in fact to join the Big East, Mendenhall said, "You know, I don't have any control over that. But I think they would choose from a business perspective just the most intriguing matchups, so I think that would handle itself."

Mendenhall is open to the idea of joining the Big East, or another conference, under the right conditions.

"I love the idea of being in a conference, but that would have to be with the exposure and the access to the top-tier football," Coach Mendenhall said. "And so just in my own mind, and not speaking for anybody else, just the ESPN part of it that would be very difficult to give up."

After Cougar fans felt let down by not receiving an invitation from the Big 12, this latest round of news that BYU could receive an invite from the Big East will do one of two things: either cap off what could be an acceptable 10-3 season – albeit with wins over weaker opponents – with excitement heading into the future, or be the exclamation point on what was a year of deflation.

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