“In early April, after being courted by the Mountain West Conference, Gonzaga decided to stay in the West Coast Conference after concessions were made. For several weeks, the Mountain West realignment machine was humming and creating speculation. If (when?) that topic comes back, should the Mountain West expand? If so, who should be added? Would BYU be welcomed back?”
Reo: I’m not gonna keep this strictly football. Yes, I think BYU should come back, not just as a football member. Bring back all sports. Revive the Wyoming-BYU rivalry.
As for basketball, I absolutely think the Mountain West should expand. Last I heard, a lot of of WAC teams were thinking about leaving their conference. I don’t know how solid those rumors are or if that’s still happening, but schools like Grand Canyon and New Mexico State could bring another level of competition to the conference.
Mike: In the ever-changing landscape of college football, the Group of 5 conferences that stay stagnant will likely end up in a terrible position long-term. That being said, the Mountain West should be looking at each and every possibility for expansion.
They missed out on Gonzaga, it happens. But don’t close that door and promise them the world. Adding a perennial top 25 program is a great opportunity for the conference. Thompson was quoted as saying he was in talks with 6 schools about expansion. Where are the others? If Gonzaga isn’t ready to pull the trigger, see if St. Mary’s is. 12 basketball schools is a must at this point.
Seeing BYU come back would also be a huge win for the MWC. Now, they may be too proud or bridges may be too burned, but all that aside, it makes too much sense for both parties. A full-member would be ideal of course, but even all non-football sports would provide a nice boost.
After BYU, the football options are admittedly limited. Eastern Washington may be something worth keeping an eye on for down the road.
Vic: MWC should definitely expand, but does the commissioner have the chutzpah and tact to make it happen with all the moving pieces?
It makes sense BYU could/should be added, at least for basketball. Forget the past. It’s business and there looks to be mutual benefit. Pulling this off would be a big start. But BYU football might be a different story considering what they make with their own network and their great schedule of future games.
As far as other additions, there are others besides UTEP, Grand Canyon and Rice that have better overall strength and could offer better dynamics.The two South Dakota universities and how about schools in bigger markets like the LA/SoCal area.
Basically, expansion success depends on the overall vision and goals of the commissioner.
Your turn: Who do you think the conference should add? If you would stand pat, why? Give us your thoughts in the comments section.