It began in June.
The WAC's football dynasty, the Boise State Broncos, agreed to leave the WAC effective July 1, 2011.
BYU's powerful state rival, the Utah Utes, set sail for future PAC-12 dreams.
Perhaps BYU was jealous of its instate rival. "The Project" was the name given to BYU's plan to declare football independence and rejoin the WAC in non-football sports.
In a series of e-mails, BYU and WAC school presidents and ADs discussed the future. BYU scheduled numerous foes from the WAC and waited upon approval from the Mormon Church.
Perhaps an avalanche fell on the WAC and BYU on August 19th, 2010. After a day of fast-paced expansion action, the Fresno State Bulldogs and the Nevada Wolf Pack became the second and third teams to leave the WAC over the summer.
Fresno State and Nevada will join the Mountain West in 2012, and the two schools could have owed WAC Commissioner Karl Benson millions of dollars for a buyout deal.
Who is left in the WAC? Idaho, San Jose State, Hawaii, New Mexico State, Utah State and Louisiana Tech. The conference will need to add two schools. If WAC commissioner Karl Benson cannot add enough schools, the league will have to fold.
In contrast, the Mountain West can expand the amount of universities in the league.
In 2012, the MWC will have 10 schools. The conference can potentially raid the Conference USA or the WAC.
It's time to start thinking.
In this slideshow, I give you five candidates to fatten the conference. If the league expands to 12 members, commissioner Craig Thompson knows a football conference championship game is big money.
Bowls: 9 (5-4)
BCS Bowls: 1 (0-1)
NCAA Tournament: 4 (0-4)
College World Series: 1 (Runner-up)
Honolulu, HI TV Market DMA: 71st
Honolulu, HI Population: 371, 567 (estimated, August 2010)
Hawaii's Sugar Bowl appearance and undefeated season in 2007 looks very good on the resume. The Warriors are the only other team besides Boise State that has been to a BCS Bowl. Also, if Hawaii were to join the Mountain West, it could possibly give the conference a bowl contract in hosting the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
By the way, Hawaii has a 7-2 record this season so far, which is not bad by any means.
Another plus is the relaxing experience the fans would have on the beaches of Honolulu and the vacation provided with the game.
On the down side, Honolulu is very far away from the continental United States, and the Warriors do not pack Aloha Stadium. Nevertheless, It would be very surprising for the Mountain West Conference to add Hawaii as a member.
Bowls: 6 (1-5)
BCS Bowls: 0
NCAA Tournaments: 19 (6-21)
Salt Lake City, UT TV Market DMA: 31st
Logan, UT Population: 49, 534
That fine-looking woman will most likely be rewarded if Utah State is included in Mountain West expansion. The Aggies have plenty of reasons to be included. The Utah State basketball team and the 10,270-seat Smith Spectrum is the crown jewel of the athletic department.
The Aggies are located near state rivals BYU and Utah, both of whom are in the Mountain West. Logan is near one of the nation's higher-tier TV markets—Romney Stadium is 84 miles from Salt Lake City.
But don't forget: Utah State's overall record since 2006 is 10-38. Does the Mountain West want that bad of a football team? I don't think so.
But who knows? The Mountain West needs some quality basketball. Besides, the Aggies are in prime location in terms of Mountain West geography.
In conclusion, Mountain West conference officials should keep an eye on the Utah State Aggies as they decide on which school(s) deserves to join the conference.
BCS Bowls: 1 (0-1) 1943 Sugar Bowl
NCAA Tournaments: 14 (12-14)
Tulsa, OK DMA: 61st
Tulsa, OK Population: 591, 982
If the Mountain West Conference wants some territory further east, Tulsa University is an interesting candidate. A small private school, Tulsa is home to about 4,000 students and is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of the USA.
And speaking of football and basketball, Tulsa has made three appearances in the C-USA Championship Game since 2005, winning one. The Golden Hurricane basketball squad lost to Memphis in the 2008 and 2009 C-USA Basketball Championship Game.
Just think...is the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area prime recruiting territory? (That's one I don't know.) And isn't Tulsa a little out of the way from the Mountain West? (Yes.)
Does Tulsa even want to move to the Mountain West? In an article I read from the Tulsa World, it said that the Golden Hurricane were staying in Conference USA, which they only have been in since 2005.
BCS Bowls: 0
NCAA Tournaments: 19 (4 Final Four appearances)
College World Series: 2 (1 runner-up)
Houston, TX DMA: 10th
Houston, TX Population: 2,257,926
That Cougar looks like it is about to eat someone. Here, Kitty, Kitty!
Did I forget? Why is Houston considered a player in Mountain West expansion? Just look at the resume. As you'll see, the city of Houston is the largest market on this list, and the Cougars excel in most big time sports.
The problem is that the Cougars do not garner much fan support in Houston, with big-league schools such as Texas and Texas A&M nearby.
The Cougars simply cannot sell the stadium. In the latest game I saw, the Cougars most likely did not fill half the stadium. Houston struggles to expose itself in the nation's fourth largest city.
Besides, before joining the Mountain West, Cougar fans should ask themselves, "Would I rather pay $30 to see Houston play up-and-coming Central Florida or winless New Mexico?"
After all, Houston is well off in Conference USA.
Bowls: 12 (5-7)
BCS Bowls: 0
NCAA Tournaments: 17 (14-16) (1966 NCAA Basketball Champions)
El Paso, TX DMA: 98th (El Paso)
El Paso, TX Population: 742, 062
Tulsa University was explored earlier in my article. The Golden Hurricane are not a geographical fit for the Mountain West, with TCU being the closest school. Fort Worth is 453 miles away.
UTEP, on the other hand, is located in El Paso, on the tip of Texas, only 264 miles from University Stadium in Albuquerque. The point: UTEP makes a lot of geographical sense.
To prove that UTEP should be a MWC school, notice that its closest Texas rival in the C-USA is 643 miles away, the SMU Mustangs. That's 10 hours away.
UTEP's natural rival, New Mexico is 264 miles from the Sun Bowl Stadium.
So the casual fan would ask, "Why is UTEP the No. 1 candidate over Houston?" To begin with, the Cougars have the better football team, right? The market would increase exposure to the Mountain West.
To support my argument for UTEP, I skimmed through http://www.sbnation.com/users/VA%20Libertarian's article on Mountain West Connection entitled " The Case for UTEP over Houston."
It explains that UTEP has more fan support, and the Miners clearly fit in with other Mountain West members.
In a clip on Houston's wins-to-attendance ratio, it sums up that although U of H is a consistent player in the C-USA, it is the third team in its own city, Houston; which is the nation's fourth largest. The only team the Cougars have a history with in the MWC is the TCU Horned Frogs.
Although the Miners have only enjoyed one bowl trip since 2005, the men's sports teams have won a combined 21 NCAA championships.
To sum it up, the UTEP Miners are by far the best choice in expansion for the Mountain West Conference.