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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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MWC commish says league's relationship with former member BYU is good

The Mountain West Conference is conducting its football media days in Las Vegas right now, and I have to admit that part of me wishes I was there, covering BYU and the rest of the league's teams and coaches as they look ahead to the 2013 season. The conference does a nice job with its media days.

Those deals don't happen for the Cougars anymore, now that they are one of four independents in college football. Navy joins a league in 2015, and then there will be just three (Army, BYU, Notre Dame).

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It was always interesting to learn what the coaches and other media members thought of BYU and Utah, and where the local teams were picked to finish.

Speaking of which, the Orlando Sentinel newspaper in Florida is ranking all 125 teams in the FBS, and today the paper has BYU ranked No. 34 in the country.

But back to the MWC. Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman apparently caught up with MWC commissioner Craig Thompson on Monday night and asked the commissioner about the league's relationship with former member BYU.

Here's Thompson's reply:

"If they ever decide that maybe that’s not the right place for them, we have a good relationship. We talk to them. We schedule them. They’ll probably wait and see four, five years into it (the new playoff system). What does this mean to us? Can we access this at all?"

Thompson's take seems to jibe with what BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall said during the school's football media day back on June 26 when I asked him if the Cougars were having trouble getting MWC teams on their schedule.

"I think that was all rumors," Mendenhall said. "There hasn't been a single team that we have contacted in the Mountain West, or has contacted us, that had any resistance to playing us. There hasn't been one. So if they have said that, they haven't said it to us. We have actually received some good support that way, and I have no issues. We are going to play Nevada this year. We play Boise already. We play UNLV. So really, if you think about filling in our schedule balancing out, what if it is a combination of some of the Mountain West teams, some of the top-12 teams, and then you got Notre Dame and then you've got some of the national and regional games, if you could add Army, or Navy, or Air Force, it is pretty fun. So it is starting to take shape; it is just going to keep taking more time."

It is probably worth noting, however, that BYU's men's basketball team has yet to play or schedule a MWC team (not counting Utah State, which has joined the league) since it left the MWC for the West Coast Conference.

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