The ACC announced earlier today that games against BYU will not count towards the league mandate of playing at least one "Power 5" game out of conference game each season beginning in 2017. Games against other ACC opponents will count. Games against Notre Dame, who is a partial ACC member, will also count. This is not necessarily a crushing blow to Brigham Young (given where ACC schools are located), who went independent in 2011, but it will be if other conferences take this approach.
Since 1984, BYU has gone 260-121-2 for a winning percentage of .681, which is 12th during that time span. Ahead of, you guessed it, Notre Dame. If you want to suggest that BYU doesn't play anybody, I also looked at BYU's F/+ rankings (college football efficiency ratings) from 2005-2013 and the Cougars also perform quite favorably there. During that nine-year period, BYU has finished top-30 nationally five times and have been in the top 40 for all but one season, when they were 58th. They have also consistently been 26th-28th in attendance over the past five seasons. They also have a contract with ESPN that stipulates they will have a minimum of 3 home games each season that will be televised on ESPN, ESPN, or ABC. I have to think a home game against an ACC opponent would be one that the television network would select.
I can certainly see why a team would not want to schedule BYU in an out of conference game. After all, it's not exactly a hotbed state for recruiting given that just 34 of the 6,670 players drafted in the NFL from 1988 to 2012 came from the state of Utah. But the argument isn't whether a team should schedule BYU; it's a matter of respect for the program and whether that team is a worthy opponent. By any objective measure they are a worthy opponent. Just not Bigfiveworthy. (Horrendous Seinfeld reference)
Conferences are arbitrary and ever changing. Just because Utah left the Mountain West for the Pac-12 in 2011, it doesn't make them a more worthy opponent. Would accepting BYU as a worthy opponent have been a slippery slope? Probably. Where do we draw the line? Why shouldn't a Boise State count? They should count too. If the conferences were somewhat forward thinking they would look at efficiency rankings like F/+ or Jeff Sagarin's predictor ratings and set the threshold as a top 50 team (number of non-ACC Power 5 schools) over a 5-year window. If a non "Power 5" team meets that threshold at the time the series is agreed to, then they should meet the conference's "Power 5" standard. "Power 5" teams who do not meet the threshold can still count, but this gives an opportunity for "mid-majors" to earn that right on the field. Hopefully by adopting a rule like that, it would help encourage the College Football Playoff committee to look at analytics and efficiency ratings and not just rely on "eye-test," record, or the status-quo.
I've made my case. Do you agree with me or with the ACC?