Interesting read on how BYU left the MWC
Let’s assume the 2017 football season (and its 4-9 record) was an anomaly. Since leaving the Mountain West Conference, BYU has continued to win most of its football games. It has received bowl invitations to places like Las Vegas, Miami, and San Diego. Not bad. Although declining attendance is a concern, BYU has hosted games at LaVell Edwards Stadium against teams from the ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, and SEC. ESPN extended its contract with BYU through 2019, providing the school with somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million annually. In short, life as a football independent seems to be working out just fine for BYU.
But seven years in, there are a few cracks in the “BYU as the Notre Dame of the West” experiment. Bronco Mendenhall left in 2016 for the Virginia job. The Big 12 did not, after some indelicate poking and prodding, offer BYU membership to its league during the 2016 faux-conference realignment cycle.
Then there have been the petty potshots from rival schools. As the Salt Lake Tribune reported, San Diego State is again dishing on “all the disadvantages of being in [a] conference with BYU.”
So should BYU have stayed in the Mountain West? No. Does the private LDS behemoth in Provo need to consider joining even a non-Power Five conference to come in out of the independence cold?