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BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall: 'We would love to be in the Big 12'

Bronco Mendenhall (Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images) Bronco Mendenhall is 82-34 (.707) in nine seasons as head coach at BYU. (Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

BYU, one of seven schools in the FBS without a conference affiliation last season, is having some trouble scheduling games.

One reason is because power conferences are beginning to require their teams to schedule games against other power conference opponents — or Notre Dame, an independent which has tied itself to the ACC for scheduling purposes.

So, Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall is lobbying the Big 12 to align itself with his program.

“We would love to be in the Big 12,” Mendenhall told Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman on Thursday. “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.”

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However, two Big 12 sources said "that idea is practically a nonstarter," according to Davis.

BYU has been ranked in the top 25 for at least part of the season in five of Mendenhall's nine years as coach, peaking at No. 7 in 2009. The 48-year-old coach believes the quality of his program and its TV contract with ESPN would make it attractive to the Big 12.

“We have a chip on our shoulder,” Mendenhall said. “Between myself and my basketball coaches, there’s no two featured programs that have won more games. Our attendance is high enough. And our winning percentage is high enough.

“We have the entire Salt Lake City and Utah market as well as a worldwide following because of the [Mormon] church. There’d be a ton to offer the Big 12, because it’s a money-generated world right now. You’re talking about an amazing kind of brand.

“I bet I’d have the first plane ticket to whoever I have to see to present our case. How ‘bout us?"

Davis reports Big 12 officials don't want to expand beyond their current 10 members, and find BYU "too difficult to work with," he writes, because they cannot play games on Sundays due to their religion.

The Big 12 would also like to expand East rather than West, Davis reports, to have another team join West Virginia as an eastern presence.

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