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The Potential MWC Realignment Dilemma Part 1: Olympic Sports

The Mountain West Conference has 12 football schools and 11 Olympic sport schools, there could be a need to expand soon to bring the Olympic sports to an even 12.

Jeff Bottari

The Mountain West Conference has an even number of schools in football because Hawaii is a football only member. The problem is that leaves only 11 schools to play the Olympic sports. The schools play 18 conference games in basketball but its no longer a round robin. The biggest problem is that it sets up for an uneven basketball tournament field because the top five teams will receive byes while the remaining six will play for three spots in the quarterfinals. This is reminiscent of the Big Ten conference prior to them adding Nebraska in 2011 bringing the conference to an even 12 schools. Over the next couple months a lot of realignment rumors will emerge, but the MWC could potentially have a major dilemma on their hands if they stay at 11 for full member schools.

If the conference decides to add just a non football school here are my suggestions:

Gonzaga - The Zags will be a huge fit because of their basketball pedigree. They're a mid major powerhouse in basketball who was recently a number one seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. They also have an exceptional women's basketball program that could help boost the conference profile for women's basketball.  The Kennel would add to the list of tough places to play in the Mountain West Conference.

Wichita State - The Shockers are currently ranked 4th in the nation in men's basketball. Their women's team is making a push towards the top 25. Another benefit to adding the shockers is their volleyball program is a school that could be a major boost to the MWC along with being a major threat to Colorado State. Which I believe is what the conference needs for volleyball. Just think how huge would a San Diego State vs Wichita State men's basketball game be for the conference. Major networks would be all over it.

Hawaii - This would make the Rainbow Warriors a full member of the conference. Their basketball programs are decent but my reason for adding this school would be the home and home volleyball series they would have against Colorado State. That would be must see TV because the Rainbow Wahine are a top 10 program and the Rams are another top program. They also sell out their volleyball matches on a consistent basis and would bring a major boost to volleyball.

These schools would all be great additions in their own unique ways. I believe that the MWC needs to get to 12 members in all sports to prevent unbalanced tournaments and make it an even more exciting conference schedule. Plus twelve sounds a lot better than eleven.