Let's say, hypothetically, that we are eventually headed toward 16-20 team super conferences, and the 'Power 5' being whittled down into a Power 4.
I think the Mountain West should be rooting for the PAC 12 to become greedy and imperial.
Lets say the PAC somehow convinces Ok, Ok st., Texas, Tech, Kansas and K-st to break GOR and join the new PAC 18. The Big 12 GOR requires six teams to leave the conference in order to leave w/out penalty, and the PAC is in the best position of the Power 5 to add that many at once. These presumes that Larry Scott somehow renogiated a TV deal so massive that it made it worthwhile for everyone. With 18 mouths to feed, he'd need to be able to get at least $540 million a year to guarantee each team $30M apiece. For the purposes of this post, lets say he gets it.
From there, here's a Mountain West-centric series of events:
1. The Big 12 collapses, after those six defections. West Virginia and Iowa St. end up in the SEC, which caps at 16 schools and gets to renegotiate its TV deal with members in two new adjacent states to its footprint.
2. BYU, with no hope of ever joining a now-defunct Big 12, joins the Mountain West for all sports.
3. Baylor and TCU, with no lifeline from the ACC, Big 10, SEC, or PAC, join the Mountain West, forming a nice religious trio with BYU.
4. Cincinnati and UConn are invited to the ACC. The Big East finally dissolves after these two defections. We now are down to eight football conferences at the I-A level.
5. The Mountain West offers a life preserver to the now-homeless SMU or Houston to get to 16, or perhaps even Houston, SMU, and Tulane to get to 18.
Suddenly, there's only 8 conferences in the land, and the MWC is the 5th best one.