The Mountain West Conference: Why the Pac-10 may expand this year

By now everyone has heard that the Pac-10 looking to expand their conference to get that championship game and a more lucrative TV contract.  But when are they going to do it?

"It is really over the next six to 12 months that we'll start having serious analysis and serious evaluations," Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said.  It sounds like a decision that will be made very soon.

Most are expecting the Pac-10 to expand in 2011 so teams would play in the Pac-10 during the 2012 season.  They are due for a new TV contract to be made starting with the 2012 season.  It makes perfect sense for them to expand then.

They may not wait though.  The Pac-10 possibly will expand this offseason.  Why?  To crush the MWC's BCS hopes and preserve their power out west.

As most MWC fans know, the BCS is currently evaluating conferences to determine AQ status.  The evaluation began in 2008 and ends with the 2011 season.  The MWC is looking very strong thus far and will likely gain AQ status starting with the 2012 season.

The Pac-10 does NOT want the MWC to become an automatic qualifier conference.  No doubt.  They currently rule the west and do not want to share the power; especially considering their current financial struggles.  

If the Pac-10 invites Utah this summer, they would be able to use Utah's stats in their BCS evaluation.  Not the MWC.  This blow would likely diminish any hope of gaining AQ status for the MWC.  If they also bring in BYU, you can forget about AQ for the MWC.  The Pac-10's superiority out west would be safe until the next evaluation is done.

If they wait until next year to expand it will be too late.  Utah would have played in all four years of the BCS Evaluation in the Mountain West.  Utah would very likely leave the MWC as it becomes an AQ conference.  

If the Pac-10 wants to expand, why wait?  Bring in Utah and whoever else (Colorado) now and they will preserve their Western Power.  If they expand this year instead of next year, they can "kill two birds with one stone."

Larry Scott didn't hire expansion/TV expert Kevin Weiberg in early February for nothing.  Under MWC rules, a team would have to resign by September 1, 2010 to play in another conference during the 2011 season.  

The Pac-10 has seven months to make their decision if they want to hurt the MWC's BCS chances.  That should be plenty of time.

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