Will today be the day that the Mountain West finally delivers the coup de grâce to the WAC? Word leaked out early yesterday afternoon that the Mountain West Conference was about to make an offer to Utah State (for the second time in the past eight months) and much like Colorado and the Pac 10, they don't intend on turning it down. According to Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune, Comcast is driving the inclusion of Utah State in the latest (and perhaps final) round of MWC expansion as they hope to keep a foothold in the Utah market (namely Salt Lake City). The surprise to many however is the potential inclusion of San Jose State as the 12th MWC team. Keep in mind that this has everything to do with television money and less to do with AQ status in the BCS. San Jose is the sixth largest television market in the country and Comcast is a major player in the cable market there. Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News was the first in the media to report the possibility of an SJSU defection to the MWC last week.
The MWC wraps up their meetings today and there could be an announcement today or there could be no announcement. The two teams, Utah State and SJSU, have until July 1st to announce their intentions to withdraw from the WAC in order to join the MWC for the start of the 2012 season.
We'll just have to wait and see what happens but in any event, things do not look good for the WAC. Should USU and SJSU indeed depart the WAC, it would leave the conference with just five football playing schools and six total schools. Recently passed legislation did away with the continuity clause instead replacing it with a minimum of seven schools to retain autobids. The WAC should have no problems finding non-footballs schools to fill the void (Utah Valley and Seattle are two schools that have been mentioned), the problem is what will the WAC be able to do about adding football programs.
Should this happen, the greatest concern could be more poaching of WAC teams, but not from the MWC, from the Sun Belt. We were enlightened to the thought by a very smart friend of ours and it makes sense. The Sun Belt currently has nine football teams with South Alabama joining the ranks of FBS soon to make ten.
If you're SBC Commissioner Wright Waters, you're making a call to the Presidents of Texas-San Antonio and Texas State to gauge their interest in joining the Sun Belt, which at this point is now a much more stable league than the WAC is (hold on, we're shaking our head in disbelief at that last statement).
Adding those two schools would bring them to 12 teams and the SBC could then split into an East/West configuration with UNT, UTSA, Texas State, UL-Monroe, UL-Lafayette and Arkansas State in the West and Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Troy, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky in an Eastern Division. It's scares us how well this fits together and it should scare Karl Benson, Aggie, Vandals and LA Tech fans even more (can you imagine the former Sun Belt trio getting left out of a "new and improved" Sun Belt) and before you laugh and close the browser at that last statement, the Sun Belt had three bowl teams this year and went 2-1 in those bowl games. The WAC had just one more bowl team than the Sun Belt did and went 2-2 in bowl games. Just food for thought.
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