“Mountain West Conference–What If?”
Sitting here during a driving rainstorm, as BYU and Wyoming slog thru the Poinsettia Bowl, which turned out to be a pretty good game once it stopped pouring.
Thinking out loud of where the Mountain West Conference is right now, considering where they used to be, and brainstorming what they could do next.
You remember the old Western Athletic Conference, BYU and alot of have nots. Struggling programs like UTEP and New Mexico. Program drifting like Colorado State and even San Diego State.
Then somebody had the idea of expanding and forming the Mountain West, and here came TCU and others.
Then Boise State arrived and took over control of the conference.
We then moved to the poaching season, where everybody was stealing from everyone else, as conference tried to cherry pick schools, to develop strong conference TV deals to generate money.
It still does not seem natural Nebraska is in the Big 10, or Texas AM is an SEC member. Yes some of us are ‘old school’ and don’t accept change all that well.
Out the door went BYU, to independent status. TCU headed to the Big 12. the shuffling of the deck, or the defections, scared all those left behind in the MWC.
The Mountain West, appeared on its death bed, and suddenly we had the idea of a merger with what was left of the carcass of the Big East Conference. They had lost Boston College, Syraucse and Pitt.
I couldn’t wait to see the Aztecs play at U-Conn or East Carolina. Not.
Thru all the chaos came some law and order. Suddenly the Mountain West had expanded. On came Utah State, back came Hawaii.
Fast forward to where we are this morning. Is the Mountain West anywhere near a Power 5-Conference? No. But it is a solid Group of 5-Conference, probably better than the Mid American, Conference USA, the AAC, and the rest.
And if you look at the Mountain West roadmap, you see better days ahead. Boise State is still dominant, even with Chris Peterson leaving to go to the Washington Huskies.
Look at what Rocky Long has delivered as San Diego State. Who could have imagined ex-Notre Darme coach Bob Davie, doing what he did at New Mexico?
Colorado State has a bright light coach, Mike Bobo, is a shiny new stadium. Old school Craig Bohl brought his 1AA portfolio of success and philosophy to Wyoming.
Jeff Tedford is recruiting skill players, and his track record carries success, so that helps Fresno State come back. Air Force is Air Force and Troy Calhoun is staying which means they will be good.
Yes there are weak links in the chain, San Jose State and Utah State, and Nevada must rebuild.
Try this idea on for size. Recruit BYU back. Maybe make a run at the University of Houston, and see if you can grow this conference a bit more.
You can solve the whole Sunday sports stigma that surrounds Brigham Young. They are a stand alone independent, and struggling for identity and scheduling games.
Houston is hurt by the Big 12-snub again. They don’t fit the AAC, or whatever they call it. Sure you’d be stretching the conference into the state of Texas again, but it’s a bigger TV market, with a quality program as part of the deal.
Good coaches on board, more to come. More quality games. Kids to be recruited from lots of new recruiting areas.
Maybe the Mountain West should think outside the box, and think 14-schools, especially if their initials are UH-and-BYU.