Conference Realignment: Air Force Turned Down Big 12 Heading To The Big East, According To A Report

It appears that the Mountain West is losing their third charter member in just under two years. The Denver Post is reporting that the Air Force Falcons will accept and invite to join the Big East as a football-only member and then have the other sports join the Missouri Valley Conference.

Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh all but officially said that Air Force is heading to the Big East:

"Our interest is high in the Big East. That's fair to say," Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh told me Saturday.

"This stuff is moving fast."

[...]

"In my perfect world, with the Big East on the radar, I would love Air Force, Navy and Army to be in that conference together," said Mueh, stressing that no final decision has been made.

It is not official but it seems to be the landing spot for Air Force football will be the Big East. The article says that Navy and Air Force have been working together to make the move at the same time as well as try to get Army to join the Big East as well.

Mueh also went onto mention rivals Wyoming and Colorado State:

"The first thing I'll do is go to them and ask forgiveness for leaving the Mountain West, if that's what happens," Mueh said. "Then I'll ask them if they'd like to continue playing a traditional rival in football. I can't imagine they would say no. It's a big game for both Colorado State and Wyoming."

This sounds like a man who has made up his mind and the decision on all sports should be decided by the end of October.

Air Force to the Big East is a minor shock since the league is on life support with only six current football-only members, because unless Air Force knows something we don't (probably the case) it seems like a bad decision to join a league in its current condition.

The bigger news out of the article is that Air Force was approached and turned down an offer to join the Big 12:

"We were approached by the Big 12, and I told them we're not a good fit for that conference. In the Big 12, geography makes sense, the economics make sense, but recruiting makes no sense for us. I can't recruit against Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State," Mueh said.

"That's why I turned down the Big 12. I can't do that to my kids, because they'll get beat up. I'd love the extra $12 million or whatever it would be per year from the TV money. And I know how I'd spend the money. I'd build a new soccer stadium, and I'd build a new baseball facility, all in one year. But I can't do that."

Too bad the timeframe was not mentioned in this article about the Big 12 offer, because I assume it had to have been before the TCU offer.  One could assume that adding Air Force would increase the Big 12 footprint more than TCU do to the fact that TCU has a small alumni base and the Dallas/Fort-Worth area is more of a Texas Longhorn and Oklahoma Sooner town.

So it looks like the Mountain West is down to nine football teams beginning next season, and assuming the Big 12 does not lose Missouri and then jump to 12 teams to include Boise State then it should stay that way.

A huge thanks to our own bluesyourdaddy who put up an early morning fan shot about this.

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