Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Crazy Conference Expansion We Waited All Summer For...

...involves the Mountain West and the WAC?

Indeed it does. It is confirmed that Fresno State and Nevada will join the Mountain West effective in time for the 2011 football season, coming along with fellow WAC compadre Boise State. All this is on the heels yesterday morning that BYU was thinking about going on its own in football and joining the WAC in all other sports, a la Notre Dame.

What took the Big Ten 12 months to decide took the Mountain West less than 12 hours, as later in the day the conference's official website announced that invitations had been extended to Fresno and Nevada, and then later, accepted. With Boise already in the fold, this removes basically every decent team from the WAC, leaving them with a pile of geographically disjointed refugees in the form of Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, and Utah State.

The question now is, what happens to the BYU rumors? Does BYU now stay put, as the new-look MWC now has the muscle to make up for the loss of Utah and preserve their chance at getting a BCS bid? Or does BYU still go at it alone? Another rumor is that the WAC will attempt to poach some of the MWC's lesser teams, like San Diego State and UNLV, but that was before the MWC's actions.

Assuming BYU now stays, that gives the MWC 11 teams. They're out of WAC teams worth poaching now, though. They could attempt to grab another Texas school from Conference USA, such as Houston or UTEP, to get to 12.

And wither the WAC? Keep in mind the MWC started in 1999 as a splinter group from the monster 16-team WAC of the mid-90's (made mostly up of the original 9 WAC schools). 11 years later, have they finished the job?

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