The Mountain West is adopting an eight-game league schedule starting in 2012 when TCU leaves to join the Big East and Hawaii, Nevada and Fresno State join the Mountain West. With an eight-game league schedule that means that the league will not be playing all nine teams.
So far only Boise State has released their 2012-13 conference schedule and the team they miss is Air Force for both seasons. The home games are against Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming. With the road games coming against Colorado State, Fresno State, San Diego State and UNLV. The dates are still unknown for these games and so far Boise State has three of their four non-conference games arranged against BYU, at Michigan State and Miami, OH.
With Boise State skipping Air Force for two years it seems that the Mountain West will follow that strategy where each team skips an opponent every two years. The one concern I do have that needs to be mentioned is to keep rivals protected such as Colorado State vs. Wyoming and UNLV vs. Nevada. Another idea is that the league could have two rivals who always play each year regardless.
If teams do not have a true rival then one needs to be arranged. Below are what I fell should be the protected rivals.
Colorado State vs. Wyoming
Air Force vs. Wyoming
Colorado State vs. Air Force
Nevada vs. UNLV
Nevada vs. Boise State
Fresno State vs. Boise State
Fresno State vs. San Diego State
New Mexico vs. Hawaii
San Diego State vs. New Mexico
UNLV vs. Hawaii
Those seems to make the most sense with a few forced rivals. New Mexico does not really have a rival, so I paired them with an old-WAC member in Hawaii and kept them with San Diego State.
So what do you think of the protected rivals?