FanPost

Should the Mountain West be proactive in conference realignment?


The conference realignment dominos have begun to fall and have began to affect almost every FBS conference. From the SEC strengthening itself with Oklahoma and Texas, to the Big12 looking to add several teams from the AAC, Independents, and possibly the Mountain west at some point, To the AAC announcing they will definitely be adding at least 3 teams from the Sun Belt, Conference USA, or Mountain West. Then there is the big Alliance between the Pac12, Big10, and ACC. Needless to say, the college football landscape is changing quickly.

With everything going on, what does the Mountain West need to do to stay relevant and competitive? #1 is not losing to 2 (almost 3) FCS teams in week 1 *cough* UNLV, Colorado St, and Wyoming *cough*. But second is taking a serious look at expanding the conference.

What would the conference gain by expanding?

  • Group of 5 supremacy (the AAC is going to be weakened and if the MWC can add the right teams they could potentially jump them in the pecking order)
  • Potentially more TV money if the right teams and markets are added
  • Like above if the right teams are added then upping the level of competitiveness never hurts
  • More geographically diverse.

What would the conference lose by expanding?

  • TV money split more ways = less money per school potentially
  • Few geographical fits amongst expansion options
  • Larger travel expenses

Let's address the cons

  • TV money may be split more ways, but they may also get a bigger TV contract
  • The MWC needs to think bigger than just west of the rockies. The AAC has shown they are ready to expand to the west coast by pursuing BSU, Air Force, and SDSU, etc. The Mountain West needs to be willing to expand to the east coast.

What are the possible expansion options

  1. Add 2 to 4 schools
  2. Merge with another conference (likely the AAC)
  3. Remain with current setup

Option 1

The MWC could add 2, 4, or more schools to get to 14, 16, or 20+

The AAC is currently vulnerable and has some intriguing options. Top Options include:

  • Memphis
  • Tulsa
  • SMU
  • Navy
  • UTSA
  • Arkansas St
  • Tulane
  • UAB
  • App St
  • Coastal Carolina
  • UL Lafayette
  • Rice
  • North Dakota St*
  • Eastern Washington*
  • Montana*
  • Montana St*
  • UC Davis*
  • South Dakota St*
  • Weber St*

* FCS School

As you can see, there are plenty of potential options. The question is, which ones actually raise the competition level and financial attractiveness of the MWC?

I think almost all of the AAC team listed accomplish both things with their markets and brands. However if they choose to wait it out and not move, Who else brings the MWC up?

I think teams like UTSA, UAB, App St, and Coastal Carolina have the markets and recent success to help the MW although it wouldn't be a huge step up.

None of the FCS school (with the possible exception of NDSU) bring very much value as they are from pretty small markets and would have some growing pains moving up to the FBS level and may not be immediately competitive.

If the MWC goes east I believe it would be best to add at least 4 teams and create an eastern division. I also think if the MWC is smart they will try to hit the AAC while they're down and poach 4 of their teams which would make the MWC easily the top G5 conference.

If they added several Schools the top 10 options would be:

  1. Memphis
  2. SMU
  3. Tulsa
  4. Navy
  5. UAB
  6. Arkansas St
  7. App St
  8. Coastal Carolina
  9. UTSA
  10. North Dakota State
Option 2 (Merger)

Another option would be to strike a deal with the AAC to merge the 12 teams from the MWC and the 8 remaining football teams from the AAC to build a 20 team super-conference and they could even add 4 more of the top remaining teams to get to 24.

Although this idea isn't very likely it's fun to think about none the less.

With a merger schools in both conference could remain nationally relevant and potentially rake in a big TV contract.
with schools like Boise State, Memphis, SDSU, Air Force, Navy, Fresno State, Colorado St, Tulane, USF, Temple, SMU, etc. they would have better brand power and markets than either conference on their own and with a conference spanning from Philly to San Jose, they could have games in every time zone.

Option 3 (remain)

This option is the least fun, but the most likely unless the MWC loses teams themselves. The biggest concern with this option is that they may fall even further behind the curve if they are not proactive.

What are you thoughts? Should they Expand? Should they merge? Should they remain?