Time for the Big East and the Mountain West to Merge

James Williams@WordmandcAnalyst IIIJanuary 1, 2013

The future of the Big East is in a fog. A merger with the Mountain West would be the answer for both conferences.
The future of the Big East is in a fog. A merger with the Mountain West would be the answer for both conferences.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Now that Boise State has chosen to stay in the Mountain West, the next big move has to come from the Big East. That move should to be the start of talks between the two conferences about a merger creating a 24-team league.

The Mountain West and C-USA thought about it before dropping the idea. Back in September of 2011 the Big East and the Big 12 explored the idea of merging.

Neither happened but now the idea of the Big East and the Mountain West coming together makes sense.

Why you ask?

The Big East has the much needed top media markets and the Mountain West has some quality football programs that need more national exposure.   

Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco, a former television executive with CBS, is a very creative man, and his Mountain West counterpart Commissioner Craig Thompson should be working to create a Super Conference.

There is a chance for the two conferences to be stronger as one than they would be on their own. Plus, they could be a true national conference with some creative scheduling.

The new conference would cover five time zones and be worthy of a long-term television deal with multiple networks that could net both the Mountain West and the Big East more cash together than they would get separately on the open market.   

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What made Fox, ESPN, NBC Sports Network and CBS Sports Network interested in the Big East prior to the exodus of Louisville and Rutgers was a coast-to-coast conference. A place that they could start games in all four Saturday broadcast windows—noon, 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.   

The new conference would have an unprecedented national footprint and could have a strong enough football portfolio to rival the ACC.

They would also have a basketball conference with Connecticut, Cincinnati, Memphis, New Mexico, San Diego State, and UNLV making up respectable league.   

I would like to suggest the name Conference America as the new banner for the group.

Under my merger plan, only Army and Navy would be football only members; all other schools would be full conference participants.    

Big East: Army , Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis , NavySMU , South Florida, Temple, and Tulane.

Mountain West: Air Force, Boise St., Colorado St., Fresno St, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State and Wyoming.      

Because of the size, the new conference could be set up using four divisions.

The East Division:  Army, Navy, Connecticut, Central Florida, East Carolina, South Florida and Temple.  

The Midwest Division:  Cincinnati, Memphis, Houston, SMU, New Mexico and Tulane.  

The Mountain Division: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Nevada, Utah State and Wyoming.

The West Division: Fresno State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Hawaii and UNLV.   

The conference could work out a creative way where all 24 teams would face each other over a three year rotation.  The division winners with highest national ranking would face off in a championship game to be played at the home of the team with best record, just like Pac-12.

As for the basketball tournament, there are plenty of good geographical options that can allow for alternating east-west sites.

In the end, the Big East and the Mountain West are stronger and worth more together than they are as separate conferences. Let’s hope the merger talks start soon.


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