PROVO — Former BYU coach LaVell Edwards was on the beach somewhere, vacationing, on Wednesday afternoon, when he learned that Utah is officially headed to the Pac-10.
Edwards, one of the winningest coaches in college football history, and the man who put BYU football on the map, is disappointed that the arch-rival Utes are leaving the Mountain West Conference.
"I really hate to see it," he said. "With Boise State coming in, we had positioned ourselves to, as a conference, to have a lot more opportunity somewhere down the line to be affiliated with the BCS. So from that standpoint, we lose a little bit in the way of Utah leaving. We didn't lose any ground getting Boise and losing Utah, I don't think. It just would have been a lot better if they had stayed."
The Cougars and Utes have been members of the same conference for decades. That will change in 2011 or 2012, when the Utes become the 12th member of the Pac-10. Edwards said this development involving Utah mirrors what's been happening in college football in recent years.
"It's like that all over the country. Traditions and rivalries have all taken a backseat to the dollar," he said. "That seems to be the thing that's driving everything that's going on. That's what's happening with college athletics. It's the way things are. I hate to see it. But that's the way it is. There's not much you can do about it."
Is Edwards concerned about BYU's situation in the Mountain West Conference?
"No, not really. I think the Mountain West is becoming a very, very good conference, not only in football but basketball and other sports as well. It's not a doomsday thing. It's not like we're tied so much to Utah that it's going to hurt us drastically. We'll have to wait and see. You can't do anything about it. You just have to move forward and try to improve. I think we will. BYU will get better and I think the conference will as well."