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Ty Detmer: COVID-19 Pandemic Shows ‘Negative Side’ Of BYU Football Independence

Former BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer talks to players after practice in Provo on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. (Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – There are fewer voices in the world of BYU Football bigger than former Heisman Trophy-winning QB Ty Detmer.

Detmer was on SicEm365 radio in Texas on Monday to discuss BYU’s current scheduling dilemma after losing six games against Power 5 opponents due to leagues moving to Conference-only schedules.

Obviously being on a Texas-based radio station, the idea of BYU partnering with the Big 12 was brought up to the 1990 Heisman winner.

“I think everybody associated with BYU would love to see BYU pick up some games with the Big 12,” said Detmer. “I know a few years ago, I was there when they were talking about joining the Big 12 and maybe the Big 12 was going to expand. So, you know, there have been conversations in the past, so maybe this one will maybe kickstart that again. And they’ll be able to pick up a few extra games that some of the big 12 teams need.”

Partnering with the Big 12 for one season would be a dream scenario for BYU. But it seems unlikely that a one-year partnership happens.

If the Big 12 Conference goes to a nine-game conference schedule and carves out one non-conference game for league members, maybe BYU could pull off a game or two. Oklahoma State has been rumored as a possibility for BYU in Stillwater.

Regardless of what ends up happening with BYU’s 2020 schedule, Independence has gone under the spotlight amid this COVID-19 pandemic. Whether that’s fair or not, it’s the reality. Ever since BYU took on the unconventional Independent path, it’s been under a microscope every step of the way.

Ty Detmer weighs in on BYU Independence

Detmer was asked by the SicEm365 radio host if it’s hard to be a BYU fan with the program not being in a conference.

“It’s definitely different you know, being an independent because you don’t play for a conference championship. Your players don’t have a chance for all-conference honors, those kinds of things. But it does give us some flexibility to be able to bounce around,” said Detmer.

“But I think, you know, something like this happening really shows, you know, the negative side of not being in a conference where you’re not protected by certain things that could happen that, you know, nobody could have foreseen this. But I think now it shows that it is tough being an independent, and you’re probably better off being in a conference. And, I know BYU’s tried at different times, different conferences, it just hasn’t worked out.”

Fair and respectful from Detmer. As is always the case from the former Heisman winner. Should BYU bail on Independence because of the pandemic? Probably not. But it begs the question, has this pandemic highlighted BYU’s place in the college football landscape? Only time will tell.

But from a man who has seen both ends of the spectrum from playing in a conference to coaching an Independent program, it’s an opinion that definitely holds a lot of weight in the world of BYU football.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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