BYU Football: Why BYU and the AAC make sense

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CINCINNATI, OHIO – DECEMBER 19: The American Athletic Conference logo on the field after the game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Nippert Stadium on December 19, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

BYU Football would be the perfect fit for the American Athletic Conference, and the AAC would be a perfect fit for BYU.

This article is for anyone and everyone in the AAC Conference as well as BYU fans. My hope is that it helps get some momentum into the idea of BYU Football joining the conference either as a football only school or an all sports school.

In this article I will be going over five reasons why the Cougars should be considered a member of the American Athletic Conference: Market, location, history, recruiting, and possibly most importantly, prestige.

My hope is that someone somewhere will catch hold of this and perhaps start to really consider BYU as a good option. I also hope to help BYU fans realize that the AAC is a step up from where the Cougars currently are.

Market

With the NIL and transfer portal bringing drastic changes to college football, teams in big markets are going to survive while others dwindle and become second or third tier. We may see a reality real soon where teams like Mississippi State (Starkville) or Kansas State (Manhatten) become transfer ghost towns. Honestly, why would someone who hopes to get endorsements and make money off their name and image want to go to Starkville when they can go to a bigger market like Orlando or Houston?

If I’ve learned one thing working in the sports industry the last five years it’s this; money talks and that goes for teams and players.

How this benefits the AAC

BYU is a very unique market. While Provo isn’t exactly Cincinnati or Tampa, it is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a church that has nearly 7,00,000 members in the U.S. and while they all aren’t all BYU fans, it’s safe to say probably 25% of them are. BYU also has 370,000 living alumni members that are scattered all around the country. Unlike most universities, most of BYU’s students are from out of state, not in state. When they graduate, they tend to move back to where they are from. If you go to any BYU road game you will see thousands of fans attending. TV commentators tend to think BYU fans travel well, when in fact most of the fans drove the same distance to the game as fans of the home team.

Now what does this have to do with market? There are a lot of businesses that are owned by LDS members. Marriott, NuSkin, JetBlue, Bain Capital, and VidAngel just to name a few. While these companies’ headquarters aren’t all in Provo, the church connection makes them part of the market. Just imagine it, a picture of a BYU player on every single Marriott Hotel brochure with the AAC logo on the bottom…Not bad right?

Not to mention, Silicon Slopes, the fastest growing tech industry in the US is only 20 minutes north of Provo. Think they know how to run a few ad campaigns for BYU or other AAC schools?

How this Benefits BYU

The AAC brings the east to mountain west. Suddenly companies have a reason to advertise BYU players outside of Utah. That is how conferences work. Sure, nobody loves to see their rival on a billboard in their hometown, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still there. I can’t tell you how many times living in Arkansas I’ve seen promotions involving LSU. It just happens. By joining a conference, BYU opens up their market to the entire country east of Utah.

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