Kyle Gunther, Jarom Jordan, Jason Buck, And Jake Kuresa Are Wrong Regarding BYU Football Independence
Tougher schedules as an independent?
BYU Football Independence is the path the Cougars need to continue taking
Myth: Independent schedules are tougher
BYU’s average Strength of Schedule has decreased since becoming a football independent. From 1999-2010 (Mountain West Conference era), BYU’s Strength of Schedule average was 65th. From 2011-2017 as a football independent, BYU’s SOS is an average at 77th.
Taking away one to two Power Five programs from BYU’s independent schedules would plummet the strength of schedule for the Cougars even farther down the rankings than it already is.
Maybe the argument can be made to lighten up the September schedules. But if you look at the history of BYU football, this is nothing new to the Cougars. In 2006, BYU opened the season with Arizona, Tulsa, and Boston College. In 2007, Arizona, UCLA, and Tulsa were the three season-opening games.
In 2011 (first year of Independence), BYU opened with Ole Miss, Texas, and Utah and still managed 10 wins on the season. But no one nationally took note of BYU’s success because of that horrendous strength of schedule which was near triple digits.
Having NFL talent at quarterback will always be the key to BYU navigating a tough schedule and winning 10-plus games.
2001 had an NFL Draft pick QB in Brandon Doman, 2006 was John Beck who was a top-50 selection in the NFL Draft. Max Hall led BYU to 10-plus wins from 2007-2009 and he had multiple starts in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals. The exception to the rule is Riley Nelson in 2011, but it was a historically bad strength of schedule, and BYU lost their three toughest games that season.
Quarterbacks who have led BYU to 10-win seasons
1979: Marc Wilson (1st Round NFL Draft pick)
1980: Jim McMahon (1st Round NFL Draft pick)
1981: Jim McMahon (1st Round NFL Draft pick)
1983: Steve Young (1st Round Supplemental Draft pick)
1984: Robbie Bosco (3rd Round NFL Draft pick)
1985: Robbie Bosco (3rd Round NFL Draft pick)
1989: Ty Detmer (13-year NFL career)
1990: Ty Detmer (Heisman Trophy winner; 13-year NFL career)
1994: John Walsh (7th Round NFL Draft Pick)
1996: Steve Sarkisian (CFL Draft Pick)
2001: Brandon Doman (5th Round NFL Draft Pick)
2006: John Beck (2nd Round NFL Draft Pick)
2007: Max Hall (Started in NFL games)
2008: Max Hall (Started in NFL games)
2009: Max Hall (Started in NFL games)
2011: Jake Heaps (CFL/NFL pre-season) Riley Nelson
Myth: BYU wins less as an Independent
BYU’s average win total from 1999-2010 in the Mountain West era is an average of eight wins per year.
From 2011-2017, BYU’s average win total in the independent era is eight wins per season.
Myth: BYU needs a bigger “Margin For Error”
In the first year of the College Football Playoff, Boise State went to the Fiesta Bowl as an 11-2 team. Since that first season, the Group of Five NY6 participants has been a 1-loss Houston team, undefeated Western Michigan, and undefeated UCF.
If BYU goes undefeated or has one loss, they will be in the conversation for an at-large bowl in the New Year’s Six. Will they receive one? Nobody knows, but the fact remains that you have to go undefeated or have one-loss in order to get to the New Year’s Six. Boise State’s appearance as a two-loss team was the outlier, not the rule through four years of the Playoff era.
Also, who remembers the 2008 BYU season? Where was the margin for error that year? BYU lost a game to a terrific TCU team and then the season was ruined. In the old Mountain West Conference, it was go undefeated or you’re headed to the Las Vegas Bowl. What’s the difference between that and what BYU has now as an independent?
Big Sexy, you know I love you buddy, but the access is the same. Go undefeated or have a 1-loss season and you can make it in the New Year’s Six. Also, consider this: what would be a bigger story nationally? BYU cracks into the New Year’s Six as the Group of Five auto bid, or BYU earning an At-Large New Year’s Six bid as a football independent? Think about that. What would do more for the brand and exposure of BYU football?
Myth: Take “One Step back, to go two steps forward”
BYU has 23 conference titles from the WAC and Mountain West Conference days. They even have a National Championship, Heisman Trophy winner, and other national awards. Has it given them the golden ticket to the Power Five conference? Nope.
We can all agree that it’s highly unlikely BYU will ever replicate the historic success the Cougars experienced under LaVell Edwards. BYU was a national power back in the glory days and it still wasn’t good enough to get the Cougars into the circle of power brokers within college football. Why will going to that same conference, that is now clearly weaker without Utah and TCU, be the better situation?
Think about your personal life. In the words of Ryan Teeples:
Would you leave a high paying job when you are your own boss to go back to an old employer with significantly less money in hopes of one day maybe becoming an employee of the month?
Yeah, you probably wouldn’t take that deal.
Just look at this revenue data from the U.S. Department of Education to see the disparity over the years. (Credit: BYUMizzou)
In closing, BYU doesn’t need to weaken its schedule. BYU doesn’t need a larger margin for error. BYU doesn’t need to lose money to get better. BYU has access to the best bowls if they put the magical season together. BYU has everything they could possibly want from a Group of Five conference and much, much more.
Don’t lose sight of the excellent opportunities and exposure independence offers to the BYU Football program.
This article has been brought to you by CRE2U.com! Commercial Real Estate to you.