The WAC Must Kill Off the MWC To Stay Alive
There have been rumors on various sports web sites that Brigham Young is attempting to leave the Mountain West Conference in order to become an independent in football. In process, making it a "Notre Dame of the West" and becoming a non-football member of the Western Athletic Conference.
This would deal a crippling blow to the MWC who has been attempting to gain an automatic BCS berth for its conference. Even with the addition of Boise State University, the MWC cannot achieve its goals with both Utah and BYU leaving, which will likely prompt Boise State to return to the WAC.
The MWC has apparently forseen this possibility and has countered that move by extending offers to Fresno State and Nevada to join the MWC, both to strengthen the conference and appeal to Boise State and BYU, making the conference more attractive.
To counter this and remain a viable conference, there is only one thing for the WAC to do—extend offers of their own to MWC teams and effectively kill off the MWC. There are three schools in the MWC that the WAC could invite that would strengthen the perception of the conference and would bring Boise State back into the fold.
1. Air Force
The first invite should be the Air Force Academy. Air Force brings a large fan base into the WAC, as their are many veterans who have served and are serving in all the military academies, along with the AFA. They also bring an improving brand of football that should soon be able to compete at a high level like what Navy has achieved. The academics are also a nice complement to add to their football brand. Air force would possibly enjoy the move because they would be able to play both Utah St. and BYU, in sports other than football, and could turn into a sensible move it they have the foresight to see that the conference is not as stable as it once was.
2/3. TCU & Boise State
The next invites should go simultaneously to Texas Christian University and Boise St. With the exit of the other premiere teams in the conference, to go along with the relocation of the Air Force to the WAC would look too tempting for the two elite teams to pass up. The teams would come in as a joint decision because, if one would compare the strength of the MWC and WAC beside each other excluding these two schools, they should realize that the WAC has more to offer, both in terms of strength and viability, which both of these teams desperately need to move up in the football world.
UNLV should be the last team for the WAC to invite, bringing it into the lucrative Las Vegas market, and has a strong basketball team to move to the WAC. At this point, the Runnin' Rebels would have no choice but to accept the invite to jump from a dying conference.
These teams I have mentioned should jump at this chance, realizing that if BYU leaves, it leaves them with only Boise St. and TCU as the powers of the conference, with Boise St. a threat to leave even if no other team jumps, because they may no longer believe that the MWC is a step up. These four teams should hold a conference realizing they would need to work together to decide which conference would be best in the long term for the schools.
This move would greatly benefit the WAC, giving them a 12 team conference, allowing them to hold a conference championship game, an increase in the overall strength of the conference, and though BYU would be a non-football member to the WAC, their is a strong possibility that they would still play 3-4 members of the WAC per year, giving WAC teams an opportunity to have a highly successful and nationally recognized team on their schedule.
The final benefit this would give to the members of the new, expanded WAC is that it would virtually eliminate the competition from other non-AQ conferences for its teams, as any other non-AQ conference would be a definite step down from the WAC. It could then only have to worry about the Big 12 conference poaching any of their teams, as the other conferences are not interested or just too far away.
If the WAC was able to pull this off, it would be extremely beneficial to all parties involved, and devastating to the teams left out.
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