The BYU Cougars are officially a Football Bowl Subdivision independent today. This is the first time in school history that they will compete without a conference affiliation in football.
BYU leaves behind the Mountain West, a conference they competed in from 1999 through 2010. They won the conference title in 2001, 2006 and 2007 and tied for a share of first in 1999.
In their 12th and final season in the Mountain West, the Cougars finished 7-6 overall, 5-3 in conference play and beat UTEP 52-24 in the New Mexico Bowl.
Prior to the MWC, the Cougars were members of the WAC for 38 years (1962-1998). BYU won or shared the conference title 19 times during that span.
Their first game as an independent is on Saturday, September 3 against Ole Miss. The game will be televised by ESPN at 4:45 p.m. ET. The following week, the Cougars travel to face the Texas Longhorns in Austin (7:00 p.m. ET; ESPN2).
The first home game for BYU as an independent is Saturday, September 17 against the Utah Utes (9:15 p.m. ET; ESPN2). Utah will be playing their first season as a member of the newly expanded Pac-12.
Another big game for the Cougars is on Friday, October 28 against the TCU Horned Frogs. That game will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas (8:00 p.m. ET; ESPN). Check out BYU’s 2011 football schedule for their complete slate of games.
For all other sports, BYU is now a member of the West Coast Conference. The WCC is a Division I, non-football conference consisting of private, faith based institutions.