Ben Findley: With so many moving parts still out there in the expansiapocolypse it seems futile to try to predict how all the teams will settle so I will give a broader answer. The best case scenario for the MWC at this point would be for the Bowl Championship Series to remain in it's current form or at least close to it. With as much complaining and rallying against the BCS that we have done it still remains more appealing than the alternative of being completely shut out of college football altogether by the mythical 64-team cartel that could be formed if four 16-team super-conferences ever emerged. At least in the current system the MWC has access (albeit limited) and a clear path (top-12 in BCS standings and highest ranked non-AQ) to BCS games and even the Mythical National Championship (finish ranked in the top 2). If the super-conference theory were to play out the MWC would only be able to dream about having the type of access it is experiencing right now. The devil you know, ya know?
BHSMarine: Obviously this is best case but if the Big-12 just ceases to exist we might get lucky. Then the BCS dictators decide that if we add the remaining Big-12 teams we get their bid and become an auto-bid conference. Boom! No way it happens but its a nice thought. If the MWC does this right I could see an auto bid in our future but it won't be easy.
airforcetwo: As it stands right now the conference is in a great spot. It doesn't sound like the Big 12 is looking to add anyone except the leftovers of the Big East football schools. While I think Craig Thompson is doing a great job getting out in front of things with talks with C-USA about a championship game, it may not be necessary. My best case scenario is this: The MWC as it stands right now would garner AQ status in the next round of modifications to the BCS if the rules don't change too much. If the Big 12/East survives together there won't be a defacto quarterfinal with the 4 Mega conference championship games as there will be 5 BCS AQ's. I feel there will be an addition to the BCS bowls with the Cotton (at Jerry's World) added. The Big 12/East champion would end up there with the MWC champ going to the Fiesta, kinda telling the Fiesta, "you screwed things up big time, but we will keep you in the party and give you the MWC.". An alliance with C-USA seems unnecessary, but Thompson is leaving no stone unturned.
Chris Holly Taylor: The best case scenario for the MWC at this point in expansionpalooza is to follow the lead of the BIG XII and get a new commissioner. One that might lead rather than react. In my opinion a 12 team conference is the ideal situation with a conference championship game. There is no way the CUSA and MWC football merger is a good thing for the MWC. The MWC needs to solidy its ranks, improve its TV contracts, and then build its member programs to compete at the highest national level. Unfortunately, I don't believe that the current MWC leadership will even react well to the current events across the national landscape. I believe that the PAC 12 and the BIG 10 have it right for now......stick with the 12 member conference configuration and build the overall strength of your enitre conference.
bluesyourdaddy: Every thing stays as is, but the Big East goes under and TCU decides the MWC is not so bad after all. Not going to happen, but it would offer some stability to the conference. It seems that every time there is expansion mentioned, the MWC is the one conference that ends up on the short end of the stick.
Rebelfan1: With the Pac-12 looking like it's not going to expand, I'd say that making the league a 12 team conference would be the best case scenario. The Big 12 looks like it's not going to disintegrate and isn't going to merge with the remaining Big East schools and rather poach some schools from that conference. Before finding out that the Pac-12 was not going to expand, I would have said adding the Big 12 leftovers, a couple of C-USA schools from Texas and maybe USU to get to 16 and form another super conference, but it looks like super conferences are being put on hold for now.
greekpadre: I would go ahead and say that the absolute best case scenario for the MWC, now that we know that the Big XII-II is holding together and the Pac 12 not going to expand, is to try and battle the Big East for stealing schools. We know where they're trying to look, at the service academies and the C-USA. That being said, if we can keep AFA (and I believe that we can), we should really look if we can try to bring in a couple of dustbowl schools. I know Houston wasn't interested before, but they might be now. Really we should look at Tulsa and SMU (Houston has a bigger market than both of these, but these are good sized markets with relatively little other schools in the mix outside of TCU for SMU).
2. Say we don't do the CUSA-MWC merger, what teams do we pick up to get to 12 and try to steal the BCS bid? Be specific with your answers.
Ben Findley: Unless the MWC can kick out the bottom-feeders I don't see 2 teams out there that would need/want to join the MWC and at the same time give the conference the boost it would need to achieve BCS-status. Which is not to say the MWC won't be able to strengthen the conference as a result of this madness, because I think it will.
BHSMarine: This is pretty much my answer from question one. I say we take which ever teams help us the most and land us in a 12 team conference with two divisions and add a conference championship game. It is hard to guess teams at this point with everyone switching, but Baylor and Missouri sort of seem out their on their own. Hawaii, Nevada, Boise, CSU, Wyo, AFA, UNLV, SDSU, UNM, Baylor, Kansas, KState give you solid 12 team conference. UNLV, SDSU, UNM, Kansas, KState are all NCAA basketball tourney teams. It helps the conference out in all aspects. Hawaii, Nevada, Boise, UNLV, SDSU, UNM in a West division. CSU, Wyo, Baylor, Kansas, K State, AFA in the East. I like how the teams set up, you don't ruin any rivalries by splitting teams up. The former Big-12 teams are together, the front range teams are together. The old WAC rivalries are back in the West. CSU and Wyoming might get killed in football for a few years till the recruiting and money catch up to a BCS program but that is going to happen regardless. The travel in the east division sets up very well. The west is a little further apart with Hawaii but you can't avoid that. I like this possibility ALOT more then a CUSA-MWC merger. I can't stress that enough, I hate the idea of a merger as it doesn't help out the MWC in my eyes. The three Big-12 teams are not powerhouses in football but they add a lot more respectability. If you need to go to 14 with Iowa St and Missouri, but shoot for 12.
airforcetwo: Step one would be to see if TCU wants to stay. If not, make them wait out the Big Ten, SEC, and ACC realignments. If Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State were to be added to the Big Ten along with either Cincinnati, Louisville or West Virginia; and Missouri goes to the SEC, TCU would be left with South Florida and two of WVU/Cincy/Louisville. The Big East AQ would be gone and TCU would be forced to come back. Baylor would be left without a spot and would work as a travel partner for TCU. The MWC may only have to wait it out and only have to add one to get to 12. Divisions would work geographically too and be balanced EAST(Mountain) - TCU, Baylor, Air Force, New Mexico, Colorado State, and Wyoming. WEST - Boise State, Nevada, UNLV, Fresno State, San Diego State, and Hawaii. I don't think we need to worry about the WAC schools unless it is determined that the BCS leftovers don't want to join and a championship game is deemed necessary for AQ status. The focus should be on TCU and Baylor right now if the Big 12/East merge doesn't happen with KU and K-State still possibilities.
Chris Holly Taylor: Bring back TCU (or just help them realize they don't have to go to the Big East in 2012). This is possible with the right leadership running the MWC. I would make a strong run at SMU as a travel partner for TCU. Both programs have been on the upswing for a number of years. Once the MWC gets to the 12 team size with a conference championship game, the whole conference needs to step up its performance. It is possible with the right leadership guiding the MWC. It would be nice to root for my favorite team always and to always root for the MWC in their out of conference schedules.
bluesyourdaddy: If Air Force is still on board, then try for SMU and Houston. And we should be PROACTIVE and do it NOW with an ultimatum to them instead of waiting to be picked off like the WAC or Big East was. Those two schools are about the only ones who might be available and looking for a BCS league, which could be us in a provisional AQ BCS status. They should be concerned that unless they join and help us, they are surely faced with a life in CUSA without a BCS shot. They are also the only ones who can help get us close to the BCS numbers we need. We have to be aware that if Air Force leaves for the BE or B12, we will be perceived as a weaker conference than even CUSA, and it is going to make it really, really hard to recruit new members other than the WAC teams and none who can help with BCS standings or conference strength. We may be forced to add Utah State or SJSU just to get back to 10 again, it would be a unfortunate in that it would probably finish any dream of becoming an AQ BCS conference. Right now, today, the MWC is STRONGER than the Big East. Yet we are reluctant to take advantage of that and allow the media to drive the BCS wagon. As long as ESPN is guiding the conversation about conference affiliation and trying to keep a desperate hold onto the BE TV markets, I expect that we will not get into the national BCS picture other than as a conference that can be cherry picked.
Rebelfan1: This depends on if the Big East crumbles. I don't think it's likely, because they have a number of C-USA schools who, while aren't very attractive, would do the job to keep the conference above the 8 school minimum threshold. If, for whatever reason, the Big East does crumble, then expect TCU to come back to the Mountain West if they don't get an invite to the Big 12. Add another Texas school from C-USA in either Houston, SMU, or UTEP and the MWC is at 12 football teams and 11 basketball squads. If TCU doesn't come back, them just add two of the above mentioned Texas school. If TCU doesn't come back, them just add two of the above mentioned Texas schools rather than one. No matter who we add to get 12 on the football side, I definitely think we should also add a basketball only school. 12 schools work better for scheduling then eleven, and I say we add Gonzaga or St. Mary's if we're able to entice either of the two away.
greekpadre: The more I look at this, the more its looking like this CUSA-MWC merger won't happen. This being said, we should try to keep our 10 and hold, or we expand to the teams I had mentioned above. Neither of these works, then it might be possible to try and bring up a couple of 1-AA schools, namely Montana and Montana State. These are both good geographical fits for the conference and only Bozeman would have to expand it's stadium. I know they weren't interested in a package deal with the WAC, however with the MWC it might make them think more. Hauck could start a rivalry with his own team, and I'm pretty sure if TCU bolts for the Big XII, we could easily be better than Big East.