No. 3 TCU Leaving for the Big East Spells Doom for the Mountain West
As recently as last summer, the Mountain West Conference looked two hold four of the most successful non-AQ programs in the nation. They also looked to pick the bones of the Big 12, which was under attack by the Pac-10's aggressive expansion move.
Then, the Big 12 decided to stay together for now with ten teams. Next, Utah got a golden ticket to the new Pac-12, and BYU decided that it would better suit its interests if it ventured out on its own as an independent.
Now, No. 4 TCU has decided that having to increase its travel budget to play in the Big East was better than staying in the sinking ship of the Mountain West, according to sources from ESPN.com. With TCU wrapping up its second undefeated regular season in a row and a likely Rose Bowl bid, the timing of this just adds insult to injury to the MWC.
The biggest loser here? Boise State, no question, particularly on the heels of their heartbreaking loss to Nevada. The Broncos looked to improve their conference standing by jumping out of the WAC to what looked to be a strong MWC. Now, with the MWC "Big Three" gone, the Broncos may just as well stay home in the WAC. The only improvement of the MWC over the WAC is in basketball, a sport that Boise State hasn't exactly excelled at. Nevada and Fresno State might consider limping back as well.
So, why is everybody jumping ship when the conference was on the cusp of greatness?
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Simple: A terrible TV contract and an incompetent commissioner.
The Mountain West Sports Network (the mtn.) has proved to be a resounding failure. Instead of promoting the conference, it hid the best teams from national view. The network also spent too much time promoting the likes of Colorado State and Wyoming while not doing enough to push BYU, Utah, and TCU.
Not only that, but the mtn. would always be under the thumb of Comcast, who was never interested in promoting the MWC much anyway. It was under Comcast's rule that MWC teams couldn't broadcast their own home games, even when the establishment decided not to televise those games themselves.
The biggest example of that was last year's match-up between BYU and San Diego State in basketball. This was a huge and exciting game with big time NCAA tourney implications. Instead of placing this game out there for all to see, it was resigned to radio only.
Such is the stupidity of the mtn.
MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson should be immediately fired for letting the three best teams go. He did nothing to try to keep Utah. His only response to BYU thinking about going independent was to torpedo the WAC. And obviously, he didn't keep TCU happy. In fact, with the rumors that the MWC was looking to add Hawaii in football only seems to say that the MWC seemed all too content to replace TCU than try to get them to stay.
The MWC still remains a decent basketball conference with San Diego State, UNLV, and New Mexico, but that could be diluted with the addition of Boise State, Nevada, and Fresno State and the loss of BYU.
American Poet John Whitter wrote, "For all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been!'"
Now, all Boise State and the teams left in the MWC can do is ponder what might have been and try to claw their way back into BCS relevance.
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