Is BYU Living In Fantasyland? It Seems Likely.

I just read a titanic write-up by the voice of BYU's Cougars -- one Greg Wrubell -- on KSL's website. In it, he basically paints a rosy picture of BYU's status as a football independent. Dozens of head-shakes and delusions later, it led me to ask myself, "are all BYU fans this delusional?"

Among the insinuations Wrubell makes is the notion that BYU and Notre Dame are more alike than they are different... that BYU made the right choice by not joining the Big East... and that Utah will stop scheduling BYU because they are afraid. Wrubell even states as fact that BYU has never even been in talks with the Big XII for admittance, when this is clearly false.

It's amazing how far BYU fans will go to convince themselves that they are still relevant in college football. Isn't it?

Under a headline which reads, "Boldly Independent," the article postulates all kinds of ridiculous ideas. In my quest to learn if BYU fans really are this out of touch, I want to share some of these ideas and observations with BlockU to see what Ute Nation thinks.

Here are some of the more ludicrous remarks:

"Barring a coveted invitation to join a BCS conference, BYU was faced with a decision: remain part of a collection of programs that appeared on the verge of decline, or put to use those assets and exposure opportunities that only BYU could. BYU chose the latter. BYU was bold. BYU was thinking big."

This is spin if I've ever heard spin. BYU had NO choice. Utah's move to the Pac 12 spurred BYU to do something. I love how zoobs in denial love to credit BYU for thinking big... when in reality what they were doing was trying to put the crap back in the horse after being spurned by a conference that wanted no part of them. Thinking big? Bold? Please.

"BYU bravely embarked on a path few schools have ever navigated successfully. How easy it would've been to merely accept an invitation. How much harder is it to write your own charter?"

Easy to accept an invitation? What invitation? BYU had no invitation. Wrubell is trying to make us believe that BYU had the college football world at their doorstep, but instead decided to take the hard route and write their own charter. What hogwash.

"It means more difficulty in populating a 12-game schedule. It means seeing your chief in-state rival bow to its own schedule pressures and consider dropping the game with BYU for fear of over-loading its plate with teams that are tough to beat."

Ha ha ha. Thanks for the chuckle Wrubell. You clearly don't understand. You don't understand how Utah has nothing to gain by beating BYU, and something to lose if they fall. You don't understand that non-conference games come at a premium when you play a 9-game conference schedule, and that maybe just perhaps Utah would like the flexibility to see other teams they've never faced on the field. Nah, you just believe what you want to believe.

"Is football independence ideal? Perhaps not, but it's too early to even say that. BYU has played one season as an independent, won 10 games (again), appeared on ESPN networks 11 times, was fiscally autonomous and has entered into agreements with multiple national names for games in the future."

This is my favorite. And it's a classic zoob mantra: Trumping up the 10-win achievement while neglecting the fact that BYU had to severely water down it's schedule -- with teams like Idaho State, New Mexico State and San Jose State -- to get there. And those "multiple national names" he speaks of... well, they are already starting to back out. Georgia Tech cut off the back end of the agreement, and canceled its games with BYU in 2014 and 2017. And with conference realignment ongoing, it is entirely likely that Boise State will end up chopping several of its BYU games from the slate.

"Independence gives you the ability to schedule as many good dames against big names as you want."

BYU fans all say this, but it's a mirage. Go ask Holmoe how difficult it is to line up teams to schedule -- especially after October. Wrubell misstated the above remark. It's Notre Dame who can schedule anyone they want, not BYU. Notre Dame could probably get any team in the country on the schedule. That's because, though independent, Notre Dame is a fully recognized BCS team. BYU is a mid-major with limited name recognition. And as such, just about the only teams it can schedule at-will are those in college football's lower-tier conferences like the WAC, CUSA and Sun Belt.

"Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick, while pursuing his own school's interests, is acting philosophically in concert with other independents. His concerns are serving as proxy for BYU's concerns."

I cannot believe the gall of this statement. Does Wrubell seriously believe that Notre Dame's athletic director is going to bat for BYU at the current meetings? So Wrubell would have us believe that although BYU has exactly ZERO representatives at the current meetings in Florida, they actually ARE a part of the discussions because Notre Dame is carrying the torch for them? There is no way he can be serious about this. But it again lends to the baffling notion that BYU and its fans have been able to convince themselves that, even though they have been left out in the cold, they are still undeniably relevant in college football. It's just unbelievable. Nobody is thinking about BYU at the Florida meetings... especially Notre Dame.

"In the end, any team good enough to qualify for a four-team playoff won't be getting in simply because it belonged to or won a particular conference."

Not so fast, Greg. You don't think it's possible that, in determining the top four teams in the nation, a selection committee or BCS formula won't lend any weight to a team's conference? Of course it will. The big six conferences will get extra credit for belonging in those conferences, because it means quality of schedule. In other words, a 12-0 BYU will NOT qualify for the four-team playoff ahead of a 12-0 Utah, or a 12-0 TCU, or a 12-0 Boise State, or maybe even a 11-1 Oregon. Conference affiliation will be the reason these teams would make it in ahead of BYU. To deny conference affiliation as a benefit in the long run is absurd.

I'm not sure what the majority opinion is from BYU fans about independence, but many have repeatedly voiced similar arguments to Wrubell's. And that begs the question: Do they really believe this, or is it more of a public perception belief; believing it publicly, but privately acknowledging that it's not true.

Regardless, the entire article is full of this spin. And I can't imagine that many BYU fans actually buy what Wrubell is selling: That BYU made a gutsy move to independence, thumbing their nose at the CFB establishment... and that it has gone better than anyone expected, and will produce a windfall of benefits for the foreseeable future.

How can you not scoff at that?

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