Mountain West, Now Best of Rest?
I told you guys to watch out for this. Boise State has officially ditched the Big East and will be staying in the Mountain West Conference. MWC commissioner Craig Thompson had to get creative, and BSU was in a good position for negotiations. This along, with the MWC next move(s) will put them as the clear #6 conference and will have a leg up of the group of five.
So what’s next?
MWC- The Boise State move puts this conference at 11, hard to believe they won’t got to at least 12. The number one choice for this spot is BYU with their national following and strong athletic department. It is unclear if BYU wants to continue their independent football status or have access to the new playoff system. San Diego State is a natural to become the 12th spot as they are in the same situation as BSU. However, comments made by SDSU administration seemed to have bothered the MWC folks as they continued their loyalty to the national Big East conference. Without BSU in the Big East, seems there is little reason in sticking around, as their closest rival would be SMU. It would be wise for the MWC to take them back, good market, great basketball and decent football.
As the Big East has taken hit after hit, SDSU has released statements saying they were still strongly on board. After the Boise State developments, their statement was not as committal. Interesting enough, Houston released a similar statement. Craig Thompson should be on the phone with both Houston and SMU right now. This would get the MWC into Texas and two huge markets. It would also probably be enough to entice UTEP to make the jump, as they could have their western area rivals and still have games in Houston and DFW area for alumni. This scenario is where it gets interesting for UTSA.
If the MWC conference were to take back San Diego and then lure Houston, SMU and UTEP, that would put the conference at 15. Assuming BYU is out of the picture, I would think that leaves Tulsa and UTSA as candidates for a 16th member. Tulsa is stronger athletic program, but it’s a small school that doesn’t have much more potential than what they already are. Wouldn’t the “sleeping giant” UTSA be a better fit? Good market, destination city, large school and good location to round off a division.
Let’s play it out:
West- Hawaii, SDSU, SJSU, Fresno State, UNLV, Nevada, Utah State, Boise State
East- Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force, New Mexico, UTEP, Houston, SMU, UTSA
This shit is legit. I realize there is a bit of a stigma with being involved in a western conference, but this would be the best possible scenario. This conference would dominate the group of five auto bid and would be among the top basketball conferences in the country. UTSA gets Texas rivals while being in as much of a big boy conference as is possible. The conference has some great TV markets, which is always a big part of the media contracts. The MWC conference becomes the conference of note in Texas, outside the Big 12, as UNT, Rice and Texas State fade further in the background.
I don’t know how possible this scenario is, 14 seems to be the magical conference number right now, as awkward as it is, and 16 was the WAC’s kiss of death that spurred the MWC into existence years ago.
Big East has herpes, no doubt about it, but they aren’t going to die. Losing Boise State and San Diego State tightens up geography for them, and assuming they can hold on to what they have, can make a decent conference. They no longer have any ability to pull MWC teams and will be forced to look at CUSA and MAC teams to fill out the league. Keeping Houston and SMU will be huge for them continuing on. There could be some opportunities for UTSA in this scenario as well.
Seems like the Big East is always looking at 14 football members, so let’s rebuild them, with the assumption that SDSU is out and UH and SMU hold tight.
North- UCONN, Cincy, Temple, East Carolina, Navy, Memphis, UMASS
South- Houston, SMU, Tulane, UCF, USF, Southern Miss, UTSA
This one I pulled way out of my ass, but I like the alignment with the Texas schools and the good basketball history of this league. Even with the assumption that UCONN and Cincy will leave at some point, this league will still be higher profile than Conference USA. Without the Texas schools involved a Big East move looks much less attractive.
Our beloved future home has nothing to win with all this. Houston, SMU and the other former CUSA schools don’t want to come back and more schools will likely be poached. As a result, CUSA will be forced to pull more shitty Sunbelt teams, picking from a pool of Western Kentucky, Texas State, Arkansas State, Louisiana (threw them a bone and left out the Lafayette) and former WAC now indy school New Mexico State. I am happy that we have other Texas schools in this conference and would actually welcome Texas State, but my wandering eyes have my imagination running wild.
UTSA is very fortunate to have a stable home. Stable meaning that it’s not at the bottom of the pecking order like the WAC was and will survive in some form or another. With Boise State staying in the MWC, the realignment game is going to get churning again. The MWC may just take back SDSU and be done at 12, but that still means the Big East has to do something. It is unclear what opportunities Lynn Hickey will be offered, if any, but we know she will do right thing. I trust her blindly. If she wants me to wear Nikes, drink Kool-Aid and catch a ride on a comet, I am game. Just need to go pick up my sneakers.
Follow me @shafercc you will regret it later.
The rare second generation Roadrunner and I have been so happy to see the developments over the last 10 years or so. I graduated way back in 2000, when football was just some far away dream. Twitter