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June 15, 2010

The Mountain West could be in excellent shape

Even if the Pac 10 takes Utah on Wednesday as the Seattle Times is reporting, the MWC could still come out of this expansion talk in great shape. Their goal has always been to gain access to a BCS automatic qualifier slot, and adding Boise helps them meet that goal.

I personally think they showed better management than the Big 12 or the Pac 10 during the expansion talk by locking down Boise when they did (I know the Big 12 ended up in a better place financially, but I don't think it was their management that made it happen as much as falling into something created by outside forces). There were scenarios out there where the Big 12 North could've taken the best parts of the MWC, CUSA and WAC to rebuild the former Big 12. But adding Boise so quickly stopped some of that before it started.

Before the Pac 16 talk started, the MWC already was rumored to have a plan in place to pursue Boise, Fresno State and Houston. There's no reason why that plan can't move forward along with a 12th team like Nevada, Tulsa, Rice or SMU.

The last 2009 regular season Coaches Poll included these teams:
    #3 TCU
    #6 Boise State
    #14 BYU
    #25 Houston
By comparison, the SEC finished the '09 regular season with three ranked teams in the Coaches Poll. The league still has tremendous work to do in terms of building fan interest, but it has the potential with the expansion above to make significant progress. Plus, there are quality new rivalries in the league with Boise vs. BYU and TCU vs. Houston.

If the MWC takes Boise and Fresno State, it will be very hard for that league to keep its ESPN contract. One of the biggest problems with the MWC is the lack of an ESPN deal. Currently, their games are shown on CBS College Sports and Verses. And the WAC knows its vulnerable.

Also, the Pac 10 may move back to an eight game league schedule from their current nine game schedule once they expand to 12 teams. If so, their members will need to find non-conference opponents to fill the final slate at the same time that the Big 12 is moving to a nine game regular season. And it may not be as simple as the P10 members picking up the old B12 member non-conference games. I think the MWC members are going to end up picking up some nice match-ups from Pac-10 teams. Another potential win for their credibility.

Some changes I expect to see over the coming weeks (beyond the obvious Utah to the Pac 10 discussion):
  • MWC Expansion - to include Fresno State and/or Houston at a minimum.
  • WAC Implosion - This looks unavoidable to me.
  • La Tech's Advancement - if Louisiana Tech can get into Conference USA to replace Houston, they're going to leap on it. Their program would take a nice step forward with the opportunity to face Southern Miss, Memphis, UAB and Tulane regularly as opposed to trips to Moscow, Idaho and Las Cruces, New Mexico.
It's still an interesting time. Even if the next moves don't register quite so loudly on the football richter scale.



Will said...

I hope you're right, but if Utah leaves, doesn't that do damage to their quest towards a bid? My understanding of the situation was that for teams to count towards the movement for a bid, they needed to be in the league after a certain date. If Utah leaves, will they still count towards the Mountain West?

fuelk2 said...

PWD, I'm going to have to count on you to step it up now that Hale's leaving us. Tell me where to mail my subscription fee. What am I supposed to do, work all day at the office?

Anonymous said...

Ra Ra Ree....Kick'em in the Knee

Ra Ra Ras.... Somebody kick this site in the A$$!!

Go Dawgs!!

The ATH said...

Hale's leaving. I'm expecting you boys to pick your game back up to fill the vacuum.

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