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Conference Expansion: Louisville, BYU Targeted By Big 12 And How It Could Affect The Mountain West

Expansion is back! Not sure if I am really that excited about talking about this, but it indirectly could affect the Mountain West. Looks like the Big 12 is looking to go after the BYU Cougars and Louisville Cardinals. BYU already spurned the Big 12 a few months ago, but now they and Louisville could be the next targets for the Big 12, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education's Brad Wolverton.

BYU's decision to stop negotiations with the Big 12 was over television money due to BYU having their own contract with ESPN and BYUtv. For people who say it was all due to Sunday play for why BYU did not join the Big 12 last time around, well those people are not connecting the dots because if Sunday play was a non-starter the discussion would have never made it to television money.

Well, the Big 12 is set to have a meeting today to discuss expansion, and even though various schools presidents do not want a title game because it could cost a team a spot in a BCS or BCS title game, but it also is a financial boon for the league as well.

Louisville to the Big 12 could have the biggest affect on the Mountain West because the Big East is trying to get to 12 teams and the addition of Navy for the 2015 season puts them at 11. Also, to be considered is if West Virginia can win their lawsuit against the Big East and join the Big 12 for this upcoming season.

If West Virginia can get out then expect Pitt and Syracuse to leave for the 2013 season as well as Louisville. The Big East is fighting for teams and if West Virginia leaves this off season they are down to seven teams in 2012 and then in 2013 if Louisville, Pitt and Syracuse all leave that leaves them with only four teams. Once Boise State, San Diego State, SMU and Central Florida join that leaves them with only eight teams, and half come from a non-BCS ranks. Who knows how much a television will really be worth with a league of those four teams and Rutgers, South Florida, Connecticut and Cincinnati; here is a clue: Not much.

So once again the Mountain West has at least a chance to try to lure back Boise State and San Diego State to the Mountain West and make the league more stable. We will see if Craig Thompson will actually try to bring back his largest market in San Diego and the best team in Boise State. Going by history I would lean toward saying no, but Thompson did surprise us by going after Nevada, Fresno State and Hawai'i.

He has a chance again to show the pros of why Boise State and San Diego State should return. The two big reasons against going will be money, because it will not be very much and the travel argument will come up again even though it is not a big issue, but it could be if the money is much lower than expected.

Here will be the Big East and Mountain West in 2013:

Mountain West
Air Force
Colorado State
New Mexico
Fresno State

Big East
Boise State
South Florida
Central Florida
San Diego State
Navy (2015)

Now, if we remove Boise State and San Diego State from the Big East the league is really a glorified Conference USA, if that, and even with Boise State the league is not much more attractive than the Mountain West. So, if the Mountain West has a chance to keep Boise State and San Diego State they should hope for West Virginia to win their lawsuit and then have Louisville go to the Big 12.

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