Rumors have been swirling around college football in regards to realignment. Those rumors have not impacted the Mountain West for the most part, until now. There is significant speculation that Air Force and Colorado State will be departing to join the American Athletic Conference. This news was a bit surprising, considering how the Mountain West looks better on paper after UCF and Cincinnati depart the AAC. Do Colorado State and Air Force know something we don’t? Are the rumors of Boise State going to the Big 12 more than rumors? Only time will tell. but let’s assume that the Mountain West stays at ten teams. How does the potential departure of Air Force and Colorado State impact the rest of the conference? Let’s look at each individual team and see if it is positive, negative, or indifferent for them.
Boise State: This is great news for Boise State for a number of reasons. Do Colorado State and Air Force leave if they don’t think more defections are on the horizon? Is this a sign of a Big 12 invite? Those questions remain unanswered, but even if Boise State stays put, playing Nevada, Fresno State, and San Diego State annually is good for al programs involved. The impact on Bronco athletics is POSITIVE.
Fresno State: I think this could potentially be great news for the Bulldogs. They have built a pretty consistent football program and a yearly rivalry with the Broncos is good for both teams. The impact on Bulldog athletics is POSITIVE.
Hawaii: This news is pretty insignificant for the Rainbow Warriors. It might cut down on travel expenses a little bit, but that’s about it. I think Hawaii athletics have some bigger questions they need to answer. Is a new stadium going to happen? Is going independent a better option? The impact on Rainbow Warrior athletics is INDIFFERENT.
Nevada: Nevada is in an interesting position here. They don’t really have a rivalry with any of the Colorado schools, but they don’t really have any options in going elsewhere. If the rest of the Mountain West stay intact, this will be great for the Wolf Pack. They can renew one of the best rivalries in the conference with Boise State. The impact on Wolf Pack athletics is POSITIVE.
New Mexico: I think if any school in the Mountain West should be worried about their future moving forward, it’s New Mexico. The Lobo athletic program is in rough shape and what was once a great basketball school, is now below average. If the Mountain West falls apart, where do the Lobos go? The impact on Lobo athletics is NEGATIVE.
San Diego State: I’m sure that the Aztecs are a little hurt to see some of the other founding programs of the Mountain West leave. But let’s not pretend like they were actually rivals. Like Boise State, San Diego State has bigger goals in mind and they believe that the fancy new stadium that opens next year will help them get there. The impact on Aztec athletics is INDIFFERENT.
San Jose State: The Spartans have no real history with the Colorado teams and they have only recently found success in football. San Jose State has attempted to build rivalries with Hawaii and Fresno State, so those are probably the schools they most closely associate with. I think playing Boise State every year could be a good thing for the Spartans. The impact on Spartan athletics is POSITIVE.
UNLV: Like the Aztecs, UNLV has been attached to Air Force and CSU for quite some time. But there has never been a true rivalry there. UNLV’s true rival is Nevada. Unless the football and basketball teams improve, it won’t really matter who is in their conference. If UNLV can improve their athletic profile, they will be a desirable program to Power Five conferences. The impact on Rebel athletics is INDIFFERENT.
Utah State: The Colorado schools offer reasonable travel for the Aggies. But as a former member of the WAC, there really isn’t much history here. This will allow Utah State to play some of their former WAC foes more frequently, but the impact on Aggie athletics is INDIFFERENT.
Wyoming: No team will feel the impact of this departure more than the Cowboys: Their biggest rival is Colorado State. The Battle for the Bronze Boot will be gone and one of the more exciting conference match ups is no more. The impact for Wyoming sports is NEGATIVE.
What do you think about the potential move to the AAC for Air Force and Colorado? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.