There has been a lot of discussion the in world of BYU sports around a potential conference affiliation with the American Athletic Conference, which is bewildering if you give it some honest thought for more than five minutes. I mean, taking less money to be in a conference that doesn’t offer the level of matchups afforded by independence might sound appealing to some but don’t get it twisted. This is a bad idea.
Have you ever been to Memphis? There is a reason why that place is the home of blues music. It has nothing to do with the color of the Mississippi River because that body of water is a very specific color and blue ain’t it. THE PLACE IS SAD. Memphis is known for music about sadness and it’s not because people from Memphis were so distraught when they moved away that they dedicated their songs to the city they love. Even those that visit Memphis feel the penetrating woefulness in such a way that hotels in the greater city limits don’t let people stay more than three consecutive nights. That probably isn’t true but it should be. (ALSO, do you remember the 2001 Liberty Bowl? Infinite sadness.)
Then there’s Cincinnati, where the local cuisine boasts a famous dish of...checks notes...a giant plate of spaghetti with chili on top? Hell, I’m pretty sure I came up with that combination all on my own when I was seven years old and requested that I have my birthday at the culinary palace known as HomeTown Buffet. The unofficial nutritional facts on Skyline Chili have that dish dulling out 5,450 mg of sodium, which is the same salt content found in a certain body of water in Utah.
Don’t even get me started on Philadelphia, the home of Temple University. As a young teenager I was berated by a gaggle of drunk Philly fans, so much so that the police decided they needed to be removed from the baseball game. And they were some of the nicer guys I encountered that afternoon. If you go to the airport in Philly you can the delight on the faces of those who are departing and the pulverizing despair of those arriving.
I was going to throw down on the nothingness that is central Connecticut but the smart people in charge decided to bounce. You would think for such a small state that Connecticut would be full of beautiful small towns and quaint neighborhoods but then you visit Storrs and wonder, “How can a place be so far away from Wyoming and look very different from Wyoming, yet feel exactly like Wyoming at the same time?”
You probably already know a little bit about Tampa and Orlando, Florida but the only thing I need to hear is that there are people in Jacksonville and Miami that could have moved to one of the cities in Central Florida and said no thanks. Pretty much every other city in Florida has the motto of “Hey, at least we’re not Orlando.”
Of course I can’t forget about Tulsa, even though no one would blame me if I did. It has the distinct claim of being “that other city in Oklahoma” and honestly that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said of the place.
You might be able to convince me that a trip to Houston would be tolerable every so often based on the food offering alone, but then again actually having to stay in Houston for more than two hours might be hazardous for one’s health. The jewel of the gulf coast is tolerable in the same way that other people’s kids are tolerable. You can survive them in very small increments of time with frequent breaks.
I guess we could have the distinct pleasure of playing basketball games in Wichita, which would be great for all of those people who missed those soul crushing road trips to Laramie. (Yes, this is the second time I dump on the state of Wyoming and quite frankly I’m surprised we didn’t reach double digits.)
I could continue my diatribe as there are four other places I could berate but I think you get the picture. Please don’t come in contact with the AAC unless you absolutely have to, like a layover or one of those November games in BYU’s schedule. A long term relationship with said conference could be very harmful to our collective well-being.