Welcome to a new short summer series here at MWCConnection. I had the thought a few weeks ago that myself and others on the team here have formed thoughts and opinions over the years from following and writing about the Mountain West. But what does an “outsider” think about the Mountain West? So on Thursdays going forward, hear from different bloggers, reporters, coaches, and others as we ask them a few questions to get their perspective on the MWC. Enjoy.
Today’s post features Max (Aka The Coach)
Can you introduce yourself and where you fit in the world of sports?
My name is Max (aka The_Coach) and I’ve been the manager over at Building The Dam, SB Nation’s Oregon State website, since 2016. Previous to my time at Building The Dam, I was a contributor here at Mountain West Connection for six months and also, ran my own website called Pro Hoops World for almost five years. I have a passion for sports in general, but college basketball is my favorite one to watch absolutely endlessly at a near concerning level.
How often do you watch Mountain West sports?
Like I said before, I have a bit of history with the Mountain West, so I take in probably around two games a week of basketball during the season and maybe a game of football here and there when there’s not much else on. As far as other sports, I can’t say I’ve ever watched a game.
Can you name all 12 football-playing schools (without looking it up)?
I believe I can, but let me try. Air Force, Boise State, Hawai’i, Wyoming, Utah State, San Jose State, San Diego State, UNLV, Nevada, Colorado State, New Mexico and Fresno State. Hawai’i is the one team that joins the league only for football and I only know all of this because I used to write for Mountain West Connection and not really for any other valuable reason.
Is there one sport where you think the conference is known for or excels in?
I personally think the league is a solid basketball league, but the lack of stepping up to that additional power conference level seems to avoid them. With how good a team like San Jose State was last season, I’d say maybe it’s a bit more of a football conference from the outside-looking in, but I wouldn’t say either are really stand-outs. Again, baseball and Olympic sports are kind of unknown territories to me, so I’m not sure how well they do in that regard.
What do you think are the strengths of the conference and what do you perceive as the growth areas?
If they still have their media deal with CBS Sports Net active then that’s definitely a welcome strength for a league that needs more exposure past the Rocky Mountains. I personally live on the east coast and can’t find a single person here (unless they went to a Mountain West school) who could care one bit about the league. I think they need to find ways to connect exposure-wise to avoid the East Coast-bias and be overlooked in some ways like the Pac-12 is.
What do you think the Mountain West needs to improve or change in order to be more competitive?
Most times, people just say “oh, play better competition” and that’s not really a quick fix. I think something like an A-10 Challenge in sports like basketball is useful for exposure, especially recruiting wise to land some better recruits to teams that aren’t just the ones at the top. I also think the constant turnover of coaches in both football and basketball haven’t helped the situation.