ESPN’s PTI Weighs In On Big 12 Reportedly Discussing BYU

Aug 27, 2021, 7:15 PM | Updated: 7:19 pm
PTI - Michael Wilbon...
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 05: ESPN host Michael Wilbon attends ESPN The Party on February 5, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN)
(Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for ESPN)

SALT LAKE CITY – The reported Big 12 discussing BYU for league membership news caught the attention of ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption (PTI).

Hosted by Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, the show has been on ESPN’s airwaves for nearly 20 years. It’s not everyday BYU is getting mentioned on that show.

With Wilbon and fill-in host Frank Isola, they entertained the idea of BYU in the Big 12, and Wilbon isn’t a fan of the move for the Cougars.

PTI host Mike Wilbon believes BYU should wait for a “bigger offer”

“If I’m BYU, I don’t know that I have interest [in the Big 12]. I’d maybe be waiting for a better offer or a bigger offer,” Wilbon said.

He continued, “Maybe the Pac-12 you know, comes knocking on my door. And the Pac-12 is clearly still higher in the pecking order than the Big 12. Boise State is also in the mix. I think they could be added out west for real. Not to the Big 12. The Big 12 is reeling. I don’t know that I want to join the Big 12, even though Frank, it would mean in TV dollars for the currently Independent BYU, I get that. But let’s not make them sound like Notre Dame. Okay? BYU still needs some support. And they can find it elsewhere to me than the Big 12.”

It’s a great thought, Wilbon. But honestly, the Pac-12 isn’t calling. At least to grab BYU. That’s what has to make the Big 12 interesting to BYU. The Cougars have limited conference options. They don’t want to go back to the Mountain West Conference. The AAC is a good league, but financially, wouldn’t make much sense compared to their revenue generated as an Independent. But the Big 12? BYU could make more money, and have greater access to a proposed 12-team Playoff.

That’s a point that PTI fill-in host Frank Isola hit on in his case for BYU to go to the Big 12.

Frank Isola thinks the Playoff should be a motivator for BYU to pursue the Big 12

“The Pac-12 has already said that they’re not going to expand. But maybe that’s all negotiations. But if I’m BYU –and they have a great tradition there. You mentioned your guys Steve Young, also Jim McMahon. They’ve had terrific players.– there have been times where they’ve had a one-loss season or they go undefeated, and nobody takes them seriously as a team that can compete for a national championship,” said Isola. “If they expand the Playoff, and they win the conference, they would be one of those 12 teams. So I think for them it makes sense. And from a basketball standpoint, why wouldn’t you like it? You’re going to play Kansas.”

Wilbon responded to the Playoff angle from Isola, “Well, Frank, that is the biggest reason that they would go. Because we saw how much they cared about this last year. And once every 30 years or so it seems, BYU pops up, and they care about being included with the big boys in college football. All I’m saying to you is, I’m not sure in their current state that the Big 12 qualifies with the big boys.”

Then Isola posed the idea of BYU and Boise State to the Big 12. Wilson said, “Okay. I tell you what, the Pac-12 might want to step into that.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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