With news that the Southeastern Conference is requiring their schools to schedule a Power 5 conference team each year in non-conference play, will BYU find a way to get a Notre Dame-like exception? If so, will it be the move that finally validates the path to independence?
This past Sunday, the SEC made an announcement that starting in 2016 all members of the SEC need to schedule at least one team from the Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12, & Notre Dame). This is big news to BYU because any hope to schedule SEC teams in the future would all of a sudden be put to rest. Then the question would be, will more conferences follow suit and put a similar rule into place for their leagues? Could have major ramifications on BYU’s aspirations to schedule quality teams on future football schedules, which in turn would affect any glimmer of hope BYU would ever have of reaching the College Football Playoff with the emphasis being placed on strength of schedule by the committee.
BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe isn’t standing pat though. Holmoe knows the importance of BYU having the opportunity to schedule SEC teams in the future. So Holmoe is looking to talk with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive to see where BYU fits in the leagues new scheduling requirements.
BYU AD Tom Holmoe said he plans to speak w Mike Slive about if his program meets the SEC’s new scheduling requirements
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) April 29, 2014
It’s smart that BYU is seeing where they stand with the SEC. Holmoe has always preached that BYU is always keeping a pulse of what is happening in the world of College Football, and when you talk pulse of college football there’s no bigger league than the SEC.
So think about it, what if BYU gets an exception from Slive for BYU to play SEC teams in the future? Wouldn’t this be the crowning moment of independence, and validate the move to an independent path altogether? We all know that perception holds a lot of weight in the college football world, and BYU’s perception would skyrocket if the SEC said the Cougars fit into the Power 5 scheduling mix they require for their member schools. If the SEC views BYU as one of College Football’s power programs, why wouldn’t everyone else, including the playoff committee?
Slive gave BYU a nice little tap on the head yesterday with his comment to ESPN’s Joe Schad saying, “they do have a nice program.” Nothing can be taken from that, but hey how often do you hear Slive actually talking about BYU?
If BYU can get an agreement with the SEC this would validate the long-term goals of independence. It would be the move that says independence can be successful long-term, and BYU can put together a schedule that is nationally respected. Now keep in mind, if this agreement happened it’s not like LSU & Alabama would be coming to Provo year-after-year. Although, we are still waiting on the Tide to make their return trip to Provo that they backed out of in 1996 due to “SEC commitments”. Make it right Bama and honor Glen Tuckett’s agreement back in the day. Anyways, what we could expect is a lot of games against these SEC schools on the road. Honestly, that’s fine. Is anyone going to complain about a trip to Tennessee, Georgia, Texas A&M, Florida, or basically any school in that league not named Missouri? Sorry Mizzou you still don’t make sense in that league to me. You just don’t.
Road games, neutral sites, and the occasional game in Provo would be great. Anything with the SEC says big-time college football, and if BYU wants to be on the biggest stages, you have to be in this scheduling mix Slive is requiring.
I’d tell Mike Slive, what other program is going to give you a guaranteed ESPN game if one of your schools actually rolled the dice and traveled west? How many programs within the Power 5 can boast a stadium that holds 64,000+, and has been one of the winningest programs in college football over the last 40 years? Not many. If the SEC looks into this further there’s no reason BYU wouldn’t be a great school to give an exception to. The Cougars would do anything to be part of the scheduling mix, and would be a great partner to work with.
Whatever happens with the SEC and BYU in the coming months, or years, the outcome might be the moment that sets BYU in the haves or have-nots of College Football.