BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall says Cougars 'would love to be in the Big 12'

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

BYU could have a difficult time finding quality opponents after recent rulings by power conferences.

BYU finds itself in an awkward place as the college football landscape skews increasingly towards the power conferences. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has a particular solution in mind for the independent school, via the Austin American-Statesman.

"We would love to be in the Big 12," Mendenhall said. "I would love to be a member of that conference. I think that would make a lot of sense. In fact, if that was your headline, that would be great."

BYU reportedly had discussions with the Big 12 in 2011 following Texas A&M's departure for the SEC, and while Utah borders no state that houses a Big 12 school, it's a strong football program with history -- something the conference has been a little shorter on since A&M and Nebraska left. But Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has repeatedly denied the conference is looking to go beyond 10 teams.

On the other hand, the Cougars did defeat Texas 40-21 last season, setting a Longhorn record for rushing yards allowed and getting defensive coordinator Manny Diaz fired. There may still be some hurt feelings there.

Mendenhall's quote comes on the heels of decisions made by the SEC and ACC to not include BYU as a "power" conference opponent, meaning the Cougars will have a difficult team scheduling teams from those two conferences. If other power conferences follow suit, BYU could be left with a devastatingly weak schedule each season, essentially eliminating their playoff chances from the start.

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