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Mountain West in 2012

In 2011 Utah will join the Pac-12 with Colorado. In 2012, Brigham Young & Boise State could join the Big XII North because they want to expand the footprint instead of adding more Texas schools.  Also in 2012, Texas Christian & Houston could join the Big East (the only BCS conference without 12 schools) with Central Florida & Memphis. Big East forms South division of South Florida, Central Florida, Houston, TX, Texas Christian, Memphis, TN & Louisville, KY.

This scenario makes ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12 & SEC have 12 schools (72 total + Notre Dame) in the BCS.  The winners are the 6 teams joining Utah in the BCS & the losers are the non-BCS conferences - Mountain West, C-USA & WAC.

I propose the solution to this conference realignment is recreating the 16-team WAC from 1996 to 1998. The teams are the same except Nevada, Utah State & Idaho replace Utah, BYU & TCU.

Split the 16 school league into a Mountain division comprised of 3 Texas, 2 Colorado, 1 Oklahoma, 1 Wyoming & 1 New Mexico school and the West division is 3 California, 2 Nevada, 1 Hawaii, 1 Utah &1 Idaho school. Every state in the West with a viable school is represented. The losers are New Mexico State & Lousiness Tech - 2 WAC schools that will have to join the C-USA/Sunbelt merger. Besides them, every WAC school in its' history is either in a BCS conference or in the new WAC-16.

This graph shows the division split with year originally joined WAC, where the school is, rank last season in football, conference they're coming from, # of undergrads & size of football stadium.

Western Athletic Conference 2012
Joined Average Rank Last Year #81 Ex-Conf Undergrad Stadium
Mountain Air Force Falcons 1980 Colorado Springs, CO #45 MWC 5k 53k
Colorado State Rams 1967 Fort Collins, CO #104 MWC 26k 34k
New Mexico Lobos charter Albuquerque, NM #118 MWC 24k 40k
Rice Owls 1996 Houston, TX #113 C-USA 3k (p) 47k
Southern Methodist Mustangs 1996 Dallas, TX #49 C-USA 6k (p) 32k
Texas-El Paso Miners 1967 El Paso, TX #102 C-USA 17k 52k
Tulsa Golden Hurricane 1996 Tulsa, OK #81 C-USA 3k 30k
Wyoming Cowboys charter Laramie, WY #59 MWC 13k 31k
West Fresno State Bulldogs 1992 Fresno, CA #51 WAC 23k 41k
Hawaii Warriors 1979 Honolulu, HI #75 WAC 20k 50k
Idaho Vandals 2005 Moscow, ID #50 WAC 12k 16k
Nevada Wolf Pack 2000 Reno, NV #52 WAC 17k 30k
Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels 1996 Las Vegas, NV #86 MWC 31k 37k
San Diego State Aztecs 1978 San Diego, CA #97 MWC 35k 71k
San Jose State Spartans 1996 San Jose, CA #111 WAC 33k 31k
Utah State Aggies 2005 Salt Lake City, UT #101 WAC 24k 26k

 

Travel isn't too costly despite the conference reaching from Eastern Oklahoma to Hawaii.  Wyoming would play their 7 division opponents & play 2 games against the West division - 1 home/1 away.  In 4 years Wyoming would play all 8 teams in the West with only 1 road trip. 9 conference games should make scheduling easier with enough room for out of conference rivalry games & shots at BCS teams.

the WAC - Mountain vs West Conference Championship Game could be played in San Diego Chargers stadium and/or alternate with Jerry Dome in Dallas.

In basketball Wyoming would play the 15 teams once each & their designated rival (Colorado State or New Mexico) twice for 16 games.

I think a well-structured league like this would do a lot for each of these schools to build their athletic programs with intense rivalries, revenue to improve their facilities & exposure with the Mountain West Network showing a lot of their football/basketball/baseball games. The Mountain West commissioner would be the obvious choice to run this league.  Keeping the divisions named Mountain & West is a nod to the effective split from the WAC that worked so well for 12 years.

Anyone agree? Or have better ideas on what the Mountain West should do if BYU, TCU & Boise State join Utah to fill out other BCS conferences empty spots? Big XII has 2 & Big East has 4.

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