How the Mountain West Should Realign Its Conference

Michael ClineCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - NOVEMBER 27: Back-up quarterback Casey Pachall #4 of the TCU Horned Frogs passes against the University of New Mexico Lobos on November 27, 2010 at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. TCU won 66-17. (Photo by Eric Draper/Getty Images)
Eric Draper/Getty Images

In the midst of conference expansion and the possibility of collapsing conferences, the Mountain West stays quiet. It may be the calm before the storm for the conference that is "Above the Rest," but this storm should strike soon. Recently, talks between four conferences about combining have emerged. Both, I feel, have little ground to stand on.

The Big 12 and Big East are in talks to combine conferences, but I think it is too little, too late. Soon enough, teams will begin departing from both conferences; jumping to safety from a sinking ship, if you will. These talks were also supposed to remain private, but news has spread like fire all over the Internet.

Also, our Mountain West and the C-USA are talking about joining forces in football only. But this is a move that would only hurt the MW. They could, in fact, take teams from the C-USA, instead of joining them. For now, they should stay apart. I don't think the MW Board of Directors will approve of a move to combine conferences.

While the conference expansion talks continue, the Mountain West could end up a major victor if they play their hand right. Many teams from the Big 12 are rumored to be linked to the Colorado-based conference, and the Mountain West is even looking to add a team or two from the Big EAST. That's right, the Big East.

I don't believe traveling into that time zone is necessary, because the MW has many quality teams just waiting for a new home. In fact, while the MW Commissioner hasn't made it official, TCU may be extended a re-invite to the conference. The Horned Frogs were set to depart for the Big East in 2012, a conference that may not exist in two weeks.

So, considering that TCU stays, the Mountain West could add three teams to the mix. One way of looking at things is to add Gonzaga as a non-football school, to balance out Hawai'i's football-only membership.

DALLAS - SEPTEMBER 24:  Quarterback Kyle Padron #2 of the SMU Mustangs celebrates a touchdown in the third quarter against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on September 24, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Getting back to the C-USA, Houston and SMU should make the leap to the MW. SMU is already interested in other opportunities outside the C-USA, and a move to the Mountain West, along with a few other additions, would solidify the MW's chances of finally becoming a BCS conference.

The other school that should join SMU would be Houston. TCU would also step out of the Big East, and because of the Mountain West's increased chances of AQ status, would stay a member of the Mountain West.

And while the Big 12 crumbles, the Mountain West should snag Baylor, giving the conference four teams in the big state of Texas.

This would leave the Mountain West with 14 teams. Not only would they avoid taking undesirable programs in the WAC, a MW Championship Game would be set in stone. The divisions could look like this:





Air Force










Fresno State

Boise State


New Mexico

Further expansion could be a possibility, but for now, let's keep it at 14 teams. This would make MW fans everywhere very happy.