Of all the places you would think to go for “official” breaking news involving college football, Colorado State football’s Twitter feed would not be one of them.
Yet, there they were very early Wednesday morning, “confirming” the breaking news that began gaining momentum throughout the evening Tuesday.
“BYU to go independent in football in 2011,” the CSU Twitter feed read. “Cougars will join the WAC for all other sports. Press conference scheduled for Thursday.”
After apparently getting a couple of hours sleep and/or checking in with other sources, CSU was back at it again this morning, adding additional tidbits that makes it seem as if BYU football independence is a done deal.
“BYU and ESPN to hold join[t] news conference Thursday morning to discuss BYU going independent from the MWC conference. Possible 2011 football,” read a posting shortly after 7:30 ET this morning. Whoever it is manning the CSU Twitter account then went even further into the specifics of the situation, writing that BYU’s new football schedule, which could begin as early as 2011, could include Notre Dame, Army, Navy and in-state rival Utah, which will also bolt the Mountain West — for the Pac-10 — after the 2010-2011 school year.
Other traditional media entities, however, aren’t yet confirming BYU’s move from the MWC as a done deal.
ESPN.com‘s Andy Katz reports that, while BYU is seriously exploring independence for football and moving to the WAC for all other sports, guaranteeing a Notre Dame-style BcS slot is Job One at the moment for the school.
BYU and Notre Dame do share some characteristics, as both are religiously affiliated universities (Notre Dame with the Catholic Church and BYU with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and both schools have television affiliations (BYU owns its own network, while Notre Dame has a network deal with NBC). As a result, BYU is seeking an agreement similar to that of Notre Dame, which is granted a Bowl Championship Series bid if it is in the top eight of the final BCS standings.
According to multiple sources, BYU would have to get a gauge from the BCS if it could get access similar to that of Notre Dame — should it meet certain criteria — and further explore the financial feasibility of such a move.
As noted by the Deseret News, Mountain West rules dictate an artificial deadline for BYU, at least for this year; schools seeking to leave the conference without penalty must do so by Sept. 1 the year before they intend to bolt.
The Idaho Statesman sought to get WAC commissioner Karl Benson on the record once all conference hell broke out last night. When asked if he was currently in negotiations with BYU to join his conference as a non-football member, Benson texted back with a “no comment.”
In other words, there’s a whole helluva lot of fire underneath all of this smoke.