BYU declares independence. There was simply no valid argument for the Cougars to remain in the MWC. Archrival Utah was exiting the conference after this season and the ill-advised TV deal with Comcast/CBS was an absolute insult, paying only $1.3 million per school each year through (gasp) 2016.

BYU will reportedly receive nearly five times that amount for 4 games on ESPN next year.

The MWC’s onerous TV deal even restricted BYU from airing reruns of their own games on the university’s BYU-TV while burying live contests – including the rivalry game vs. Utah – on the conference sports channel called “the mtn.” Never heard of “the mtn.” or seen it? You’re not alone. Neither has 94% of the rest of the country.

Brigham Young University will now be free to schedule whatever schools they can get, having complete flexibility to partner with their choice of TV networks on a game-by-game basis or in a package deal. The Cougars already have games vs. Texas, Oregon State, Utah and Utah State for 2011, with Notre Dame and Army looking like strong possibilities. All other Cougar sports except softball, track, swimming and diving will be parked in the West Coast Conference.

Here’s a clip from last week that will give you a taste of what BYU is planning to do with their new state of the art High Definition TV production capabilities on campus:

Three head coaches living on the knife’s edge in 2010:

  1. Dan Hawkins, Colorado. The Buffs managed just 3 wins in 2009 and hit their lowest point in Hawkins’ regime with two consecutive losses to non-BCS teams (Colorado State and Toledo) to begin the season. What he needs to return next year? 7 wins and a bowl invite.
  2. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan. The goodwill and patience has run out in Michigan. RichRod’s gone 8-16 in his first two years, lost both rivalry games to Ohio State, and, of course, zero bowl game appearances. And don’t forget the NCAA infractions and his own personal legal problems that have sullied the program. What he needs to return next year? 7 wins and a bowl invite.
  3. Ron Zook, Illinois. Zook has just one winning record in five seasons (21-39 overall) and the Fighting Illini were whipped by USC in the 2008 Rose Bowl Game. Illinois has a favorable schedule in 2010 with no game vs. Iowa and  Ohio State visiting Champaign-Urbana. What he needs to return next year? 7 wins and a bowl invite.

Top 15 Heisman Trophy candidates:

  1. Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State
  2. Jake Locker, QB, Washington
  3. Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas
  4. John Clay, RB, Wisconsin
  5. DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma
  6. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama
  7. Case Keenum, QB, Houston
  8. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State
  9. Christian Ponder, QB, Florida State
  10. Jacory Harris, QB, Miami
  11. Jerrod Johnson, QB, Texas A&M
  12. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech
  13. Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia
  14. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
  15. Andy Dalton, QB, TCU

The Ten Best Games of the Week

  1. Pittsburgh at Utah (Thurs, Sept 2). Utes beat Pitt 35-7 in 2005 Fiesta Bowl
  2. Purdue at Notre Dame. Brian Kelly’s coaching debut in South Bend
  3. Connecticut at Michigan. RichRod faces his potential successor
  4. Washington at BYU. Steve Sarkisian led BYU to 14-1 record & #5 ranking in ‘96
  5. Oregon State at TCU. Two high-octane teams coming off bowl game losses
  6. LSU at North Carolina. Miles and Davis have their share of talent – and problems
  7. Colorado at Colorado St. The beginning of the end for Hawkins?
  8. UCLA at Kansas St. Good game to gauge Neuheisel’s progress in third campaign
  9. SMU at Texas Tech (Sunday, Sept 5). Jones’ boys welcome Tuberville to Texas
  10. Boise State at Virginia Tech (Mon, Sept 6). BCS title game implications galore