We're deep into the dog days of the dead season, which means fans and writers are scraping the bottom of the college football barrel so they can bathe in the dregs of meaningless debate. Lately the topic du jour has been conference realignment.
Earlier this week, FOX Sports college football guru Stuart Mandel answered a mailbag question pertaining to BYU and why or if the Pac-12 would ever considered the Cougars. The answer from Mandel was unsurprising, as it mentioned the reasons BYU fans have heard for years as to why the Pac-12 won't touch them with a 10 foot pole.
Chalk that one up to a lack of "cultural fit." Simply put, BYU is a conservative, religious university; the Pac-12 mostly consists of large state schools (save for Stanford and USC) and includes some of the most liberal enclaves in the country (Berkeley, Palo Alto, L.A., Seattle and the state of Oregon). Normally I scoff whenever any commissioner or president claims a realignment move is driven by anything other than athletics and TV households, but in this case it's very real. Ultimately the presidents and chancellors, not Larry Scott, approve any new members, and it's hard to imagine the leaders of Cal or Stanford signing off on BYU. Whether that's fair, or possibly discriminatory, is a whole other matter.
After reading this response I thought to myself, surely there must be something that BYU can do to make themselves a better cultural fit for the illustrious Pac-12. So for the past few days I have been studying each of the Pac-12schools in search of what goes on inside the classrooms and locker rooms to see just how exactly BYU can adapt to their standard of living.
If BYU follows the example of the following PAC 12 schools, they should expect an invite in no time.
1) Develop a culture of sexual harassment within the marching band - Stanford
We start things off with Stanford, arguably one of the most prestigious schools in the country and the Pac-12's crown jewel, so it's pretty clear that BYU should have a lot to learn. One of the more outspoken groups on would be the infamous Stanford Band, known for their general halftime antics (which include the drum major dressing up like a nun during a game at Notre Dame). The Stanford Band also has a history of harassment as indicated by a May 15th, 2015 report that stated "the band violated university policies regarding alcohol, controlled substances, hazing and/or sexual harassment." Generally, BYU's honor code would prohibit such behavior but if this is the type of cultural activity that goes on in the Pac-12, well then they better make some changes.
2) Go into a stupid amount of debt (about $445 million to be exact) to renovate a football stadium - Cal
When Pac-12 experts talk about the sanctity of the conference, they claim it's not just an athletic standard that they try to meet but also an academic one. Apparently that same standard of excellence and commitment to sound thinking didn't translate over to the Cal athletic department that approved "the most expensive facility upgrade in the history of collegiate athletics." It's not like the state of California was in an financial trouble to begin with so this really isn't that big of a deal. LaVell Edwards Stadium is due for some renovation in the next few years and I'm sure the athletic department will do what they can to follow Cal's lead and go into serious, massive, near-crippling debt. Gotta fit in.
3) Take jaywalking WAY too seriously - Arizona State
Apparently Pac-12 schools are serious about the law, particularly the one that states that people shouldn't jaywalk, even if that person is an associate professor. Last year, ASU English professor Ersula Ore was walking in the middle of the street and proceeded to get into a pretty serious scuffle with university police. The police officer has since resigned and the Ersula is suing ASU for a cool $2 million. I think I speak for all BYU current and former students when I say that jaywalking is a serious problem in Provo, so this type of culture change in the police force will definitely be welcomed.
4) Welcome "Greek" culture (frats, sororities) and let them work their magic - Arizona
One of the hallmarks of the Pac-12 experience, particularly at the University of Arizona, is getting to participate in Greek culture. Along with the time honored traditions of binge drinking and sexual harassment, a certain UofA fraternity known as Sigma Alpha Epsilon (you know, the one whose chapter in Oklahoma was made famous by this video) had 15 of its members accused of assaulting students at Alpha Epsilon Pi, a historically Jewish fraternity. As far as I know, Greek culture has never existed at BYU but heaven knows Provo could use few more instances of assault.
5) Let things get REALLY out of hand with the philosophy department - Colorado
While students at the University of Arizona are busy beating the crap out of each other, at Colorado it's the professors that are doing the bullying. Last year the university released a report that found "rampant sexual harassment and bullying in the university's department of philosophy". So with the Pac-12 covering abuse among students and teachers, maybe BYU could start some beef between the janitorial staff and the groundskeepers?
6) Infest the library with bed bugs - Utah
Technically Utah just joined the conference a few years ago so they're still adjusting culturally. I mean what kind of self-respecting academic institution would allow something like this to happen?
7) Have the anatomy department HARVEST AND SELL BODY PARTS FROM HUMAN CADAVERS - UCLA
OK THIS IS GETTING REALLY OUT OF HAND, PAC-12. I MEAN I WOULD EXPECT THIS KIND OF BEHAVIOR FROM THE LIKES OF THE SUN BELT CONFERENCE BUT NOT YOU. I'M SURE BYU WOULD HAVE BEEN COOL TO REFORM TO ALL OF THAT OTHER STUFF BUT SELLING BODY PARTS IS WHERE BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY DRAWS THE LINE. BYU WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR P5 LOVE, BUT THEY WONT DO THAT.