In the 2011 Sporting News College Football magazine, editor Scott Smith, has a little op-ed entitled Independent Thinking. If I am not mistaken, he seems to think that college programs going the "independent" route may be for the best. He points out the similarities between Brigham Young and Notre Dame; he mentions the powers that Penn State, Miami (FL), FSU, and Pitt were before affiliating with a conference. He has a point there. The Miami's and PSU's of the world find the road a bit tougher when they become a member of a "power" conference and have to play a whole bunch of talented in -conference foes. Of course, I must admit that the ACC can not in any form be considered a power football conference......While the dramatic fall off in the prowess of the Hurricanes and the Seminoles is somewhat of a mystery, it probably has little (or nothing) to do with conference affiliation. Anyway, I get the distinct impression that this Smith is an advocate of schools going it alone.
As a college football purist, I must say that I think that any school that wants to play NCAA football must be required to be conference affiliated. Notre Dame has been skating by for eons without affiliation. As if they were something special. BYU apparently wants to follow in their footsteps. This is wrong and a detriment to the integrity of the game. It would have been much better had Notre Dame been forced into the Big 10 if they wanted to continue their football program. It makes geographical sense. Now of course that conference has 12 teams and there really is no room for another. I would now mandate that they joint the Big East along with the two unaffiliated D1 service academies. It makes geographical sense, and in the case of the Big East, it would ramp up the league's credibility a bit. As it stands, the Big East is somewhat of a joke. The addition of Notre Dame, West Point, and the Naval Academy would certainly make the league at least somewhat respectable.
In the case of BYU it just seems a bit like sour grapes. Those folk believe themselves to be a legitimate football power (they're not) and collectively (let's be honest), believe that they are just a cut about the schools that they were affiliated with in the MTN West. A bit of delusional thinking. While BYU has had, and will have again, some good years, they are at best a tier three program along the same lines as say a Boston College or Missouri. They should be mandated to stay affiliated with a conference. The MWC or the WAC is where they belong. Perhaps the MWC and the WAC should again become one, but that is a different subject for another time perhaps.
Perhaps if the NCAA tossed the whole BCS system then these school administrators would not constantly be looking for greener pastures. A fair and equitable path to a national championship is way overdue. Ditch most of the "bowl" games and let the issue be decided on the field.