Last Thursday the college football world was shocked as news broke that USC and UCLA would be leaving the PAC-12 for the Big Ten in a few years. Naturally, the internet exploded with rumors and theories of the domino effect this could have on more conference realignment. Just like last year, the obvious question becomes will this news impact the Mountain West Conference in any way, and if so how?
Mike: Here we go again. When news broke on Thursday, and I had the thought for this topic to be this week’s roundtable question, my answer was no way. G5 teams such as Boise State, Fresno State, and San Diego State have given their hopes up time and time again only to continue to be shut out of the realignment conversations. However, now I think the dominoes appear to be falling in a way where the Mountain West has to be involved. If the 4 PAC teams do in fact join the Big 12, either the PAC has to add MWC teams or the MWC will absorb some PAC teams. There really is no other option at this point but for the conference to be impacted. Maybe some MWC teams will be added first, but eventually, PAC teams will jump ship and the leftovers will merge in some way with the Mountain West.
Graham_Gibson: Conference realignment has been a theme this past decade and it is more prominent than ever now. Group of five teams such as Cincinnati, UCF, Boise State, Fresno State, and San Diego State among many others have always expressed interest in moving to the power five but many group of five schools have gotten their hopes up in the past. Cincinnati and UCF are heading to the BIG 12, which is losing Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC. The dominoes didn’t fall for a conference such as the Mountain West at the time because much of the talk centered around how the American conference was doing. Admittedly, in the battle of group of five conferences right now, the Mountain West stands behind the American conference. If the news of USC and UCLA going to the BIG-10 hadn’t broken there probably wouldn’t be much of a possibility that a power five conference would come calling on the Mountain West but things have changed and doors have opened. If the PAC-12 was only losing these two teams I don’t think they would come calling to the Mountain West, but the fact of the matter is that the PAC-12 is very likely to lose other desirable teams such as Oregon, Colorado, Utah, Arizona State, and others due to the situation with UCLA and USC. That is the exact reason why eventually, the PAC-12 is going to come calling to the Mountain West. While this could be exciting for Mountain West teams and fan bases it is important to remember that the news is very fresh. There are a lot of things that can happen and will happen before the PAC-12 extends a hand to top performing Mountain West teams. The Mountain West is going to change in the long-run because college football is going to change in the long run. It is very possible that the Mountain West will become the new PAC-12 but again, there are a lot of things that are going to happen that we don’t know about yet.