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Mountain West Sticking With Nine Teams

The Mountain West is not looking to replace the departing Utah as Commissioner Craig Thompson said the league is staying with nine teams:

"Would I rather Utah stay in Mountain West conference with a 10-team makeup? Probably. We'll be just fine. We haven't missed a beat in the mechanics, numbers. I think we're going to be just great. You also had the fear if you get a little top heavy that your top 25 programs would knock each other off and nobody would go undefeated. You've got to look at it realistically."

The move is almost a wash while the numbers that Boise State brings over are slightly better then Utah's the big difference will come from Salt Lake City being twice the size of Boise, and the Utah athletic budget which is more then then Boise State's.   Boise has shown that they are able to compete with an inferior budget, but that was against the WAC.

Their revenue will increase by about a million or two, but they will need to increase their overall budget to keep pace with the Mountain West schools. Expect Boise State to be fine because by virtue of just being in the Mountain West will help them get a uptick in recruiting.

Craig Thompson did say in his teleconference that he received calls from eight to ten teams with interest on joining the Mountain West.  Not hard to narrow down those teams: Houston, Fresno State, Utah State, Nevada, UTEP, North Texas, Idaho, SMU, and Hawaii.  Those are probably who made the call to try to replace Utah, but only Houston would bring any significant BCS numbers to help the Mountain West gain BCS qualification.  Fresno State and Nevada would have been better then the bottom half of the current league, but not enough to get them any closer to their meal ticket.

Expect the Mountain West to get an auto bid to the BCS with an exception, because the ACC which ranks worse then the Mountain West is still projected to get their auto bid to the Orange Bowl because of their contract.  If the ACC keeps their bid while not qualifying for the criteria, then I see no reason that the Mountain West can not petition to get especially if they are better off then the ACC.

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