Conference Realignment Update: BYU Leaving Mountain West

September 1, 2010 by Dave Congrove

BYU announced on Tuesday that it will join the West Coast Conference next season for basketball and become an independent in football, after all.

Two full weeks ago, the Mountain West raided the WAC of Fresno State and Nevada in an apparent effort to stop BYU's exploration of becoming an independent football program. Of course, the fact that the Cougars wanted to join the WAC for all other sports also served as a likely motivation for the targeted raid. But while the ploy stopped the Cougars from heading to the WAC, it didn't stop them from leaving the Mountain West.

It seems the more this year's wave of conference realignment unfolds, the less it makes any sense or appears to serve any purpose.

Realignment began with the PAC-10 striving to become the first BCS superconference with 16 teams. It failed on that mission when it only managed to pick up Colorado out of the Big 12 and none of the other five schools which it sought - Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.

Boise State left the WAC to enhance the Mountain West's BCS appeal, adding football strength to a conference that already boasted Utah, BYU and TCU. Now, Utah and BYU have both departed the Mountain West and Boise State finds itself once again in the company of former WAC rivals Fresno State and Nevada.

Nebraska left the Big 12 to become the 12th member of the Big Ten. At best, it's a lateral move for the Cornhuskers in relation to the quality of the competition.

I had stated previously that the six remaining WAC teams - Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Utah State - are the obvious losers in all of this. However, I am beginning to feel that college football fans stand to lose even more than the WAC.

Maybe, before it's all over, something will happen that makes perfect sense.