With Boise State and San Diego State set to join the Mountain West, the conference announced on Tuesday that it will split into two six-team divisions and hold a conference championship at the end of every season.
The news comes via Chip Patterson at CBS Sports:
The conference announced on Tuesday that the inaugural title game will be played on Sat., Dec. 7, 2013 at the home of the highest ranked division winner -- according to the BCS standings.
The 12-team membership for football will be divided into the "Mountain" and "West" divisions. Each team will play five divisional games and three cross-divisional contests in the eight game league schedule.
San Jose State and Utah State will officially enter the conference on July 1, 2013. According to the official release by the conference, the divisions will be split up as follows:
|Mountain Division||West Division|
|Air Force||Fresno State|
|New Mexico||San Diego State|
|Utah State||San Jose State|
These divisions will not apply to men's or women's basketball.
This is another step in the right direction for the MW during a time in which "super conferences" in both football and basketball seem to be constantly building momentum.
Will this make the Mountain West the best 'Group of Five' conference?
The inclusion of a championship every year will increase monetary funds and television viewership while strengthening recruiting in a major way.
Moreover, as the CBS report notes, in the future playoff system, "the highest ranked team from the Group of Five [Big East, Conference USA, MAC, MWC and Sun Belt] will be guaranteed a spot in one of the non-playoff access bowls."
As the gap between the power conferences and the Mountain West continues to narrow with this encouraging development, you can expect to see schools from this conference on the big stage far more often in the near future.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly labeled Boise State and San Diego State as "additions" to the conference. Both schools are remaining in the Mountain West rather than moving to the Big East on July 1, 2013.