NCAA softball snubs final straw as BYU eyes Big 12 | Opinion

We all know what happened to those two little pigs who built their homes out of sticks and straw. The big bad wolf was gasping for breath, umm… to end their season.

When an external threat hits, the third pig is in a better position with the support of the brick house.

After BYU softball ended its season prematurely in the hands of the NCAA selection committee, the only consolation was knowing that a move into the Big 12 or brick house was on the horizon.

While the WCC and Football Independence provide the Cougars with a heroic goal, July 1, 2023 Softball coaches can’t get here anytime soon Gordon Eakin Or his BYU colleagues.

BYU’s weekend snub was the final straw — at least for the 2021-22 athletic year.

When Violet Zavodnik and the Cougars beat St. Mary’s on Saturday, they not only extended the program’s longest winning streak to 17 games and ended the regular season with the program’s best record (42-10), but they also Also won the Western Conference Championship for the 13th consecutive time.

If reputation is even considered a bonus for getting a general invite, then BYU is sitting pretty well. In addition, the Cougars went 6-3 against the top five teams and lost all three games to nationally ranked programs — No. 13 Oregon, No. 17 Tennessee and No. 23 Arizona.

What BYU couldn’t overcome was the league it was in, which left the Cougars with an RPI of 52 and out of the game. Aside from co-champion LMU, the WCC is a marshmallow softball league—as soft as they come. Or at least, that’s how the selection committee sees it, and they have no problem baking it at the end of the season.

In fact, after the LMU beat them 1-0 on the league’s opening weekend on April 9, BYU may have closed their doors. That game was used as a tiebreaker Saturday to determine the conference champion.

The 36-15 Lions were cleared to play with the league’s automatic bid, while the 42-10 Cougars were ruled out for the first time in 16 years with P5 wins over UC, Rutgers and tournament-playing Stanford outer.

BYU has enough wins. The problem is that there are too many wins in the WCC. For Cougar, it’s like watching the same ending of a sad movie over and over.

women’s volleyball

Just finished BYU’s first-ever 18-0 sweep of the women’s volleyball team in the WCC, ranking as high as No. 5, Tagged as the 11th seed in the NCAA Tournament – Same as the previous year.

The only loss in the 2021 regular season was a third-place loss in Pittsburgh on Sept. 10. The Cougars responded by winning their next 23 games.

They deserve better seeds, but the WCC, a decent volleyball league, can’t give them any boost. To its credit, Their foray into Sweet 16the Purdue 6 beat them at home in Pittsburgh.

BYU (30-2) is No. 9 on the season. Of the 340 NCAA women’s volleyball teams, all but one (Louisville), the Cougars have won the most and lost the least, however, coming out of the WCC, the best the NCAA can give them is the No. 11 seed.

women’s basketball

Jeff Judkins‘ Women’s basketball finished 26-4, including a 15-1 record and a WCC regular-season title. BYU beat the P5 program 14-0, 5-1 at home and top-25 victories on the road against Florida State and West Virginia.

Despite their success, the Cougars couldn’t rank higher than 16th in national polls. True, 16It’s the highest ranking in the show’s history, but it’s the WCC’s lack of schedule prowess that keeps them from climbing higher ceilings.

back Lost conference tournament final to Gonzagaanother NCAA Tournament team, the selection committee listed BYU as a disappointing sixth seed and sent them to the Michigan quadrant, where the No. 3-seeded Wolverines would have home-court advantage.

BYU struggled, lost to No. 11 seed Villanova and was quickly eliminated in the first round.

men’s basketball

After reaching 13th nationally last November, Mark PopeIn his third season as head coach, the Cougars appear to be making their second appearance in the Big Dance. COVID-19 canceled the 2020 tournament.

Pope created a preseason schedule that he believes will increase BYU’s chances. However, after struggling with a fifth-place finish in the WCC and losing in the quarterfinals of the Divisional Championship, the Cougars were left in the NCAA Tournament bubble and sent to the NITs.

“We played the toughest schedule in the top 30 in the country,” Pope told Deseret News after BYU lost to San Francisco at the WCC Championship. “I think the four teams ahead of us have a tougher schedule out of the conference. It matters or it doesn’t matter.”

It’s important to the Pope, but not to the selection committee. The WCC, while better than previous years, wasn’t enough to get BYU back on its feet after going down in a league game.


The WCC doesn’t play football, but BYU’s stand-alone game requirements are just as close to perfection as they can be to function nationally. The Cougars went 10-3 last season to go 6-1 against the P5 program.

However, staying outside of the P5 conference and their respective bowl games relegated BYU to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Zach WilsonThe fantastic 2020 season was also hampered by a poor schedule and limited opportunities for the Big Bowl. The No. 8 Cougars are even scheduled to play No. 14 Coastal Carolina on the road on Dec. 5 and played against them three days earlier in an attempt to cement their place in the New Year’s Six Bowl.

Finally, BYU in Dax Milne It was settled on the goal line as time expired in the 22-17 loss. The Cougars went on to win the Boca Raton Bowl and finished 11-1. The last major bowl game BYU played was the 1997 Cotton Bowl Classic against future Big-12 opponent Kansas State.

brick house

Independence, like WCC, offers BYU a nice house built of sticks and hay in a very friendly neighborhood. But football aside, when the Big Bad Wolf (the NCAA selection committee or bowling committee) rages about its credibility, the house falls and the occupants scramble to stay relevant.

Fortunately, help is on the way.

Big 12 is a house made of bricks. Cougars will find safety there. They will also find that each level has a higher level of competition. The Big 12 football teams sent seven teams to bowling games last season, including the Sugar Bowl. The men’s basketball team sent six teams to participate in the big dance and won the championship. Women’s basketball also sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament. The women’s volleyball team sent seven teams. Softball will field three teams for this week’s games.

While in the Big 12 BYU football is hard to beat 10-3, basketball 24-11, women’s basketball 26-4, women’s volleyball 30-2, softball 42-10 or women’s soccer 17-4-3 (national runner-up), the reality The thing is, they don’t have to. In a league strong enough to deal with defeat, perfection is not required.

A 1-0 loss six weeks ago kept BYU softball out of the NCAA Tournament, and despite a 17-game winning streak that followed, it won’t have much to overcome. In fact, a Big 12 team that ended the 42-10 season with a 17-game winning streak would be in the top 10 — like No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 7 Oklahoma State today University is the same.

BYU has more than a year to play as an independent football player and a member of the WCC for other sports. Since the Cougars are still vulnerable in non-P5 form, the various NCAA selection committees are likely to bring more disappointment.

But their home of sticks and straws is temporary for now. BYU can see the brick houses waiting for them on the road. Once in, the Cougars will end up in a place where it won’t be easy to win, but at least it matters. A place where outside voices can brag as they please, but not blow up the house and end a season prematurely.

Dave McCann is a contributor to Deseret News, studio host of “After Further Review”, co-host of “Countdown to Kickoff” and “The Postgame Show” and broadcaster for BYUtv.

The Cougars meet teammate Huntyr Ava in front of the dugout after hitting a home run in Provo's game against Iowa State.

Cougar players meet with teammate Huntyr Ava in front of the dugout after BYU and Iowa State play an NCAA softball game in Provo on Saturday, March 26, 2022. BYU won 11-7.

Scott G Winterton, Desert News

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