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How will the return from UConn to the Big East affect BYU football?



PROVO – Once a proud football program that matched some of the best in today's Football Championship Subdivision, UConn Football has become a shell since joining the NCAA's highest subdivision at the turn of the century.

Even a short stop on the Big East – as the Big East Football sponsored – with a berth in the Orange Bowl in 2011 could not stop the final decline of the Huskies. And when the "Catholic 6" faction of the Big East schools led the conference into a future without football sponsorship in 2013, the huskies decided to stay with their football sponsoring colleagues at the start of the American Athletic Conference.

The white flag is lifted. According to reports from across the country ̵

1; from Digital Sports Desk to ESPN and The Athletic to the Associated Press and USA Today – the Huskies will accept an invitation to join their former rival in the Great East later this week. A move is under way for UConn several levels makes sense. No doubt, head coach Geno Auriemma and the women's basketball team, who have become one of the best forces in the country regardless of their membership of the conference, are happy to improve their timetable. It is also likely that the men's new basketball coach, Dan Hurley, is trying to bring the former national champion under Jim Calhoun back to the highest levels of sport. And that's where most of the college football talks about it – and speculates – that the huskies will soon become another version of BYU.

Photo: Ravell Call, KSL, File

This is because the huskies may not have room to park their football program. Because the AAC, the Mid-American Conference and the Conference USA seem to have no desire to add a pure football school from the upper northeast in a media market like Storrs, Connecticut.

Because the logical next step – save for a drop back to the subdivision that once served the 15-time champions of the Yankee Conference – is the independence of FBS. Enter BYU. It is clear that the two schools have linked destinies. But only time will tell exactly what that will look like.

The Cougars have been an independent squad since 2011 when rival Utah was invited to join Pac 10 with Colorado and quickly leave the conference he had found in the Mountain West. And although the conference membership is not the cause of BYU's recent struggles, including a 4-9 season just two years ago, many have seen the departure of the "group of five" of college football as a contribution to the program's decline.

BYU is likely to be on the list of wanted candidates for the AAC to replace UConn – if the American Athletic Conference wants to fill the gap left by the Huskies. Several reports say that the league can be content to remain with eleven teams, although geographical conditions and an odd number of teams are likely to be detrimental. Army may make sense geographically, but the Black Knights have finally figured out how to control football's independence (Army is in all other sports in the Patriot League) and thrive even more than the archrival Navy, who is a pure US footballer is AAC since 2015.

Due to the independence of the school in football, BYU was postulated as an expansion candidate. However, The Cougars' next geographic rival in The American would be either Tulsa, a single journey of 1,172 miles, or SMU, a journey of only 1,200 miles.

In addition, BYU is close to signing a new contract, ESPN, which would make its football program well-paid by the Worldwide Leader for the broadcast of its games. In addition, the ability of the cougars to contact BYUtv and the move to a smaller conference, which offers their teams less money (including in the AAC), make less sense.

So where do the Cougars come from in terms of UConn?

Simply put, planning.

If – or more likely – the huskies declare their independence, BYU should be the first team to offer its services as a planned adversary. The Cougars faced UConn twice in 2014 and 2015, both wins when BYU merely had to complete a timetable while breaking the deal with the mountain vests (since then they have planned the most teams in this league, especially in the late months of October and November

The Cougars have similar planning pacts with other teams affiliated with Team Independence: Idaho, New Mexico State, and more recently UMass and Liberty.BYU originally also signed a long-term contract with Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish sat indefinitely after two games in South Bend, Indiana.

Even Dixie State, who will join Division I in 2020 and become FCS-independent in football, already has a design contract with the Cougars.

No. A planning alliance between BYU and UConn will come about, which is right and meaningful for both sides agreement (will it be a home-and-home series that may include a competition with neutral locations, and will the BYU try to get a 2-for-1 deal from the desperate huskies?), The two sides should be open for the announcement of a series. Of course, the Cougars' schedule is largely full by 2023.

But contracts can always be postponed, postponed or rearranged (remember Notre Dame?), And that should be the case with UConn.

If the huskies take independence as seriously as promoting their marquee sport for men's and women's basketball, this should be done quickly.

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Sean Walker

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