The Big East looked like a decent conference for Boise State to join just one year ago. However, events have changed, and the conference has been greatly diminished.
In the days following the announcement that the Broncos would join the Big East, problems ensued. This is not an attempt to replay them all, but the one issue that came up for BSU at one point in the game of conference musical chairs was where to place their Olympic sports.
Originally, BSU was going to join the Big East in football and the Western Athletic Conference in most other sports.
But, that didn't work out so well.
The WAC began to collapse, and the Broncos went to the Big West for its sports other than football. There was resistance from the mostly California bus league, Hawaii being the only exception, and it looked like a return to the Mountain West might be Boise State's only option.
Enter, San Diego State
The Aztecs stepped up and helped the Broncos with a deal that would get them membership into the Big West, thus ensuring the Big East move for football. Of course, neither SDSU nor BSU could have foreseen that the Big East would further shrink into very unstable conference that looked more like C-USA than the Big East.
Well, in a case of you scratch my back and I will scratch yours, when Boise State decided to officially return to the MWC, it made sure to add a clause in its contract that ensures the Aztecs will get the first look over any others if they choose to return to the conference they never officially left.
Because of the clause, the Aztecs have an exclusive window of return before the MWC will "officially" look at adding other members. But, the contract says that SDSU only has until January 31, 2013, to make a decision before others are offered a place at the table.
Will the Aztecs Return to the MWC?
At this point it is anyone's guess if the Aztecs will come back to the Mountain West. However, Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman has reported that the MWC is in daily talks with SDSU about a possible return.
Not only that, but it is now being reported by Jeremy Mauss of Mountain West Connection that the Aztecs have removed the Big East logo from their official sports website. Read what you want into that little nugget, but if it is what it seems to be, it appears that the Big East "diet plan" is working and the conference is about to lose more weight.
If the Aztecs are on their way back, the focus will become what other members to look at next.
BYU is obviously the choice of many to be added to the Mountain West. However, there are so many things that would have to happen for the Cougars to return.
Houston is another Cougar the MWC might go hunting for. But, would it even be interested?
When you read the quote from a recent Houston Chronicle article, it sure seems like the Cougars are positioning themselves for something. Could it be a MWC invite?
The article quotes the University of Houston's official statement relating to the departure of Boise State from the Big East:
We are undoubtedly disappointed in the latest conference realignment shuffle. As stated throughout these developments, we will continue to concentrate on the best interests of the University of Houston and its athletics department and focus on the issues we can control. We are always working towards long-term stability as our brand continues to grow with the help of a very viable market in the City of Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city, and a great fan base. Combine that with our history of athletic and academic achievements along with the beginning of facility upgrades and we believe we offer a promising and established athletics program.
Notice, there was not a single word uttered about staying in the Big East.
Instead, it seemed like the statement is hitting all the selling points for the University of Houston. To even the untrained eye, it looks like a sales pitch more than anything.
Well, it is a high possibility that if Houston is on the market, the Mountain West will be buying.
If that happens, can SMU be that far behind?