Top 5 non-BCS opponents BYU should schedule

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

A poll of VTF contributors reveals just some of the non-BCS schools fans desire to play.

Independence has brought BYU a lot of things: money, exposure, and more prominence in national discussions. What I have loved about independence is the freedom and ability for BYU to spice up the schedule. The vigor of my fanhood was refreshed with the newness of opponents we aren't used to seeing BYU play.

Coming are games against Wisconsin, Michigan, and West Virginia. Independence gives BYU the flexibility to schedule more of these headliners. But it also freshens up the entirety of the schedule -- the Cougars have replace the boredom of playing New Mexico, Wyoming, and Colorado State every year with the likes of Middle Tennessee, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston.

With that in mind, I polled the staff here at Vanquish The Foe and asked them to tell me which non-BCS (non-AQ, non-Big-5, mid-majors, however you want to label it) schools not already on BYU's schedule they'd like to see the Cougars play. The top-desired team should be no surprise, I suppose:

School


Pts


1


Navy (3)

20

2


Northern Illinois

18

3


Air Force (1)

9

4


Fresno State (1)

8

5


Louisiana Tech (1)

7

Army

7

Other votes: Ohio (1) 6, Tulsa (1) 6, Arkansas St 5, SMU 4, Toledo 4, UTSA 3, So Utah 3, South Florida 2, UL-Monroe 2, WKU 1, No Dakota St 1

The Navy Midshipmen topped our poll, appearing in six of eight ballots and receiving three first-place votes. I think football fans nationally respect the service academies a great deal. Navy stands out as a successful option in scheduling an academy but also comes with the connection of Ken Niumatalolo being the most well-known LDS head college coach not named Kyle or Bronco.

About Navy, Ryan Teeples told me, "They're a fellow independent with a football history. Annapolis is a place EVERYONE should visit in their lifetime. There are many alums in the DC/Baltimore area, and Navy might be willing to do a 2-for-1 for the payouts."

Bronco Mendenhall is on record many times as saying he would like to play the academies. Our staff agreed, also desiring a renewed series with former conference mate Air Force at #3.

Appearing almost as often as Navy in our ballots was Northern Illinois. The Huskies were the source of a host of angst for BYU fans last season. If you didn't see "Oh Em Gee, NIU can make a BCS bowl but BYU can't?" in your Twitter timeline last December, I'm not sure who you follow. It appears those on our staff would like the Cougars to get a crack at the Huskies.

I'm personally a fan of revisiting old rivalries or choosing the cream off the top of the non-BCS crop. Fresno State meets both and checks in at #4. The Bulldogs have long been competitive, have a fun stadium when the fans show up, and would revisit the days in the WAC.

Louisiana Tech makes the Top 5 due to my personal first-place vote. The Bayou Bulldogs play a fun, exciting brand of football and have a healthy program. LT was also on the 2011 schedule before being replaced with the TCU game at Cowboys Stadium. I've been told by LT associate AD Patrick Walsh that the school is wanting to get BYU rescheduled, but it will likely come well down the road if it happens, as LT has been busy managing its move to Conference USA.

Army also squeaked into the Top 5 on the strength of the appeal of playing service academies as well.

Of course, there were plenty options from which to choose, so others receiving votes were:

Arkansas State (Sean Walker): "A top-tier Sun Belt program, Arkansas State has regularly featured in the leagueʼs top bowl game, the GoDaddy.com Bowl in the past decade. The Howl are a rising program, and have numerous openings after 2014."

Louisiana-Monroe (Presten Norton): "Only reason I want this, is there's an outside shot Uncle Si and the Duck Dynasty boys will be there. That would make me happy, happy, happy, Jack."

SMU (me): I can't believe more people didn't vote for a Holiday Bowl rematch. Plenty of fans would attend in Dallas and it would be fun to host the Mustangs.

UTSA (me): The Roadrunners are a program on the rise. If BYU scheduled them a few years down the road, I think it would be getting a solid series (most likely a 2-for-1) -- and a date in a new area of the country at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Who would you like to see BYU play in the non-Big-5?

Stay tuned for the follow up poll: Top 5 desired BCS opponents.

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