MWC looks into expansion

There have a flurry of articles popping up on the internet and local news about how the Mountain West is entertaining the idea of discussing expansion in June and the team that pops up the most is the Boise State Broncos. There are two good articles that I found in the Utah paperse and one is from the Salt Lake Tribune and the other coming from KUTV which I think gives a better look and puts into perspective more then just Boise State.

If this were a reality I would see it coming at the earliest in 2009 season and that might give enough time to reschedule games and all the logistics. The reason that there has not been any expansion talk is because there was a three year freeze on expanding once TCU joined the league. This June is when the league could possibly discuss and I think they should discuss to have 9 conference football games and get rid of the I-AA teams that the conference has been scheduling. Below is a list of schools that I think would be a viable option, and they are in alphabetical order.

Boise State This one for football purposes is obvious, because they moved up the ranks from I-AA to national attention in about a decade, and just by adding this team for football would give the conference more national credibility. Plus the conference would be creeping up on the ACC and Big East in overall football play. As for the other sports Boise would need to add baseball and softball (which is in the works), the market size really does nothing for TV, and recruiting does not get an advantage there. Boise is improving in basketball so it will not be a doormant in other sports. Football is the money maker and getting an autio bid into BCS is the goal, or at least sending a team there each year by getting an at-large berth. Travel would be a concern but Boise is getting big enough where there are non stop flights to Denver, Salt Lake, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, San Diego, and Dallas.

Fresno State This would give the conference a chance to get more signatute wins more often, because Fresno will play anyone and every now and then they knock off one of those teams. Travel is pretty easy to get to and from Fresno and it’s only a few hours from San Diego State. Basketball is on its way back up with Steve Cleveland the former BYU coach there. This would help recruiting since most schools recruit California and it would increase TV market somewhat with being cloe to San Francisco, but they are shadowed by 2 Pac-10 schools, the NBA, and two NFL teams.

Hawai’i This is probably the most far fetched and it is not because of competiton level. Their men’s basketball and football would fit in nice here, but the travel to Texas for non revenue sports would severly hurt their budget. It would help recruiting at least for Utah and BYU that heavily recruit Hawai’i, but again the TV market size is not there to make a dent, but to be honest none of the schools being considered would move the meter.

Nevada They would be a natural rival with UNLV and their baskeball program would rival the best of the MWC. Their football team is slowly on the uprise and would be on par with New Mexico and Colorado State. The only thing I feel Nevada offers is their hoops program which would put the MWC on par with the Missouri Valley Conference if not above them, but for football their climb has been slow. Travel would not be a big deal with the proximity to Las Vegas and even Utah would be a short flight.

Tulsa This may seem an odd ball but it would help out TCU to gain a travel partner and allow teams to get 2 games in on one trip with basketball, volleyball, and soccer. Tulsa has tradition of good football and basketball as well in recent years. Plus they were in the old 16 team WAC. Tulsa would provide coverage to fans to a different part of the country that normally would not care or not see Mountain West play.

UTEP The old WAC team would be a good fit for shorting travel with New Mexico and somewhat with TCU. Their hoops team did improve with Billy Gillispie who turned them around in a few short years and their football team just got good with Mike Price. As we saw with baskeball when Billy Gillispie left the team dropped off and it is only a mater of time before Mike Price takes off for a bigger job.

Overall I feel there are two options that make the most sense to add if the conference decides to go for 10 teams. First pick would be Boise State because of how good they are in football, and that is what drives college sports. My second choice would be Tulsa because they are still very good in football even though they do not have the glamour of Boise, but their hoops is always good and would fit in nice with MWC hoops play. We will see if this is done sooner, but the TV deal will have a lot in deciding this because if The Mtn. is not on dish or statallite this could delay expansion until the 2013-2014 school year when the TV deal expires.


25 Responses

  1. Does the MWC have any interest in Montana? Are they exploring the possability of moving up?

  2. I have know clue if they are. They are a good I-AA but I dont know if the MWC would want them, perhaps the WAC if they lose a team to the MWC

  3. MWC can talk about expansion all they want. Aside from Boise St. I don’t think that any of the other WAC schools are beating down the MCW doors for acceptance.

    By far, WAC schools have much better exposure with their current TV deal. Now who really watches the MTN outside of the MWC?

    Boise is no lock on bringing any new prominence in an already faltering football presence in the MWC. Boise may have just hit their peak. It is obvious that they are nowhere near the caliber they were a year ago. Who knows where they’ll be next year. Maybe the only place left to go is down for them. Their other sports are not up to par with the rest of the WAC conference, so no help there.

    I think Boise will just be at the most another “also ran” and “others receiving votes” from here on out.

  4. I agree with the proposed order of Boise St. 1, then Tulsa 2. I think that going into a new market is a good idea. I don’t think that the MWC should expand to anymore than 10 until the NCAA mandates that every conference have at least 12. 10 teams evens out travel partners. 10 teams still alows for every team to play each other. (i.e. Ohio St and Wisconsin not playing each other last year) Tulsa, Oklahoma is close enough to Missouri, Kansas and Arkasas to possibly open up a new recruiting pipeline in the conference for those that want to play in front of their friends and family. Neither team though will do much in the way of television expansion though. It would take a school like Houston (my number 3) that is in a large media market for those type of enticements. It is also a great spot for some additional recruiting. This may not make a difference because Mountain West is buring daylight trying to work out the debacle that is the MTN. TCU is in one of the largest media markets and the Mountain West can’t really tap into that market because the MTN. is not available in the cable stations there and there is still no Dish Network nor Direct TV access. (what a complete waste)

  5. jeff I never thought about Houston. That would be a good fit with TCU right there and especially with hoops, volleyball, soccer, baseball to play both schools on one road trip. While Houston would by far be the largest market but the town is a Univ of Texas and Texas a&m town. I grew up there so I am very familiar, but also there is a large fan base for Utah and BYU in houston as well. A positive not would be that Comcast is in Houston now and The MTN is 50 % owned by comcast.

  6. I think Boise St is the obvious choice to make the MWC a 10 team, but I am concerned about the Pac-10 becoming the Pac-12. Utah & BYU have been talked about as being the logical choices for ages. If that happens I think that the MWC needs to become a 12 team power conference offering its own championship. Therefore, in that potential scenario I think the MWC should also consider Fresno St, San Jose St, Nevada, and Houston/UTEP/Tulsa. That would account for geography and provide the conference with suitable institutions. Of course Boise and Fresno are the obvious way to go if the Pac-10 stays out of expansion.

  7. BYU will never be in the Pac-10 at least in the near future, because they are not a research institution. It will take a new president who is not a dinsaur to consider expanison

  8. Alright, I went to Sagarins and pulled every school’s football rating from 2000-2006 and averaged it and these are the results. The MWC cumulative average for this period of time is 69.07. We can look at basketball at another time if anyone would like.

    1) Boise St = 82.20
    2) Fresno St = 70.94
    3) Hawaii = 69.59
    —-the rest were below the MWC average—
    4) Houston = 61.27
    5) Nevada = 61.11
    6) Tulsa = 60.75
    7) UTEP = 59.66

    Here is how the MWC teams faired

    1) TCU* = 76.69
    2) Utah = 76.41
    3) BYU = 73.91
    4) Colorado St. = 71.85
    5) Airforce = 69.39
    6) New Mexico 69.11
    —Below the Average—
    7) San Diego St. = 64.56
    8) UNLV = 63.54
    9) Wyoming = 61.82

    **Only Boise St. was above the MWC Sagarin Average every year. (Utah and Fresno St missed 1 time, BYU & TCU missed 2 times)

    *TCU joined the MWC for the 2005 season

  9. OK Jeff thanks for the info, but not to be rude but what was the point of listing this? Just to show that Boise would provide the best team from the WAC to join the MWC

  10. How about some serious expansion?

    UTEP, Tulsa, North Texas would give the MWC a championship game that the cable companies can’t ignore. It would also enable the MWC to divide into two divisions, with UNT, UTEP, TCU, Tulsa, and New Mexico in the East, all others in the West.

  11. No offense Derrick but North Texas would do nothing for the league, except maybe recruiting but TCU is in that area. The teams they should add that would help football and basketball would be Boise State, Nevada, and then either Houston or Tulsa. All are in the upper part of their conference in football and all are good in hoops except Boise, but they are mainly football

  12. I like Fresno because it gives the MWC another California school – helps with recruiting and marketing. I also like Tulsa and really like Houston for the same reasons.

    However, neither Boise St., Nevada, Tulsa, nor Houston have facilities anywhere near MWC standards. Only Tulsa’s football stadium is BARELY bigger than than Wyoming’s (the MWC’s smallest), the others are smaller.

    Fresno, Hawaii, and UTEP are the only schools within the MWC’s logical expansion zone with facilities on par with the rest of the MWC.

    I do like the fact that Boise has the Humanitarian Bowl and Hawaii has its bowl game. That could bring two additional bowl games to a 12-team MWC.

    A championship game in Las Vegas and Denver (rotate) would likely boost recognition and revenues.

    I think the MWC would look pretty good as follows:

    Air Force
    Colorado St.
    New Mexico
    Boise St./UTEP/Houston/Tulsa

    Fresno St.
    Hawaii/Boise St.
    San Diego St.

  13. Brad if the MWC did go to 12 and split into two divisions it wouldnt be mountain and west but rather north and south. As follows:


    Air Force
    Boise St.
    Colorado St.


    Fresno St.
    New Mexico
    San Diego St.

  14. Actually, North Texas would bring the 10th largest university in the country to the MWC. And with two local teams, it would pretty much guarantee all cable providers in DFW would carry the Mtn. network.

  15. Derrick there is o way the MWC would want North Texas they are currently not any good at football (but I see that changing soon) or basketball. As for the mtn. being brought to cable in Dallas is still a long shot, the TV deal is an absolute joke.

  16. I think that the MWC should take the top WAC teams of Boise St, Hawaii and Fresno State. By gutting the WAC, they could get ESPN back and get a better TV Deal. They may also be able to secure and automatic BCD bid. I like the Mountain & West Division. To keep it balanced here is my preference:

    Mountain: West:
    BYU Boise St
    Utah Fresno St
    TCU Hawaii
    Colorado San Diego St
    Air Force Nevada
    Wyoming New Mexico

  17. 12 teams w/a title game

    new mexico
    air force
    colorado st
    san diego st
    boise st.

    i guess we could kick san diego state and wyoming out too to put nevada and someone else in

  18. […] on November 12, 2008 by Jeremy This topic comes up at least once a year, and an and article was wrote on expansion about a year ago on this site.  This new talk comes from ESPNs blogger Graham Watson […]

  19. According to what I can find, a research institution is a place that is capable a doing research. BYU certainly fits that bill, they have all sorts of research going on there.

  20. Steve

    I think it has do with medical research

  21. My Dream MWC: (12 teams/ 2 divisions/ Football Championship Game/ BCS Automatic Bid)

    MWC Sierra:
    San Diego State
    Fresno State/ Nevada

    MWC Ponderosa:
    Boise State
    Colorado State
    Air Force
    New Mexico

  22. Expand only if it makes the conference better (competitive and financially). If you do expand, this makes the most sense.

    Houston (or Tulsa)
    New Mexico
    Colorado State

    Boise St
    Fresno (or Hawaii)
    San Diego


    Play the Conference Championship game in Vegas, Pheonix, or Dallas/Ft Worth. If possible, let the highest ranked division winner pick the game location…

    The two division champs would play in the championship game… with ONE exception (call it the “we don’t suck like the Big-12” rule). It would read something such as… “If a second place EAST or WEST Division team is ranked more than 15 spots ahead of the opposing Division winner in the Top 25 polls (this would be a compiled average of both the Coaches and AP polls), than that second place Division team will replace the lower-ranked Division winner in the Championship game.”


    Geographically speaking, the divisions are perfect.

    In the EAST, take Houston over Tulsa. First, it gives the MWC a second school in Texas. Second, it adds to the MWC TV footprint. However, gulfcoastpolo Houston competes with Texas (and to a much smaller degree Texas A&M) for area fans.

    In the WEST, add Fresno over Hawaii. Do this for several reasons. First, you add a second California school. Plus, travel is better.

    What is really great about this conference is that it includes TWO schools from California and TWO from Texas. It includes ONE military academy. And it includes TWO religious institutions of which ONE, BYU, garners a large following in the Western US.


    Add several poison pill to any expanded conference contract, and make each school sign the new conference agreement. This agreement would include the following provisions:

    (1) If a member team cannot maintain an average home attendance of 25,000+ fans for the years 2011-2015, or
    (2) If a member team cannot maintain an average home attendance of 30,000+ fans for the years 2016-2020, or (3) If a team connot maintain an average home attendance of 35,000+ fans for the years 2021-2025, or
    (4) If a member team cannot maintain an average home attendance of 40,000+ fans for the years 2026 and beyond, THEN… (see PENALTY ONE)

    If a member school does not achieve a .25% winning record over any five year span (FCS schools may not be included in the win category. Only two non-AQ schools may be included yearly in these numbers),

    IF A MEMBER institution if found guilty commiting a grevious act of academic or financial fraud (something the seriously jepordizes the integrity of the conference as a whole), THEN…… (see PENALTY ONE)

    If a team fails to meet PROVISIONS ONE or TWO, or if a member school is found guilty for fraud (PROVISION THREE), then the member school must agree to gracefully withdraw from the conference if the following actions occur:
    (1) IF an FBS school meeting both the ATTENDANCE and SUCCESS requirement in that team’s DIVISION footprint requests admission into the conference, and
    (2) At least EIGHT of the twelve conference teams vote on for a “team re-alignment” during their annual meeting.
    NOTE: If a member team fails to gracefully withdraw from the conference as a result of a “team re-alignment” vote, then this team will be subject to the financial penalties described in PROVISION A.

    If a member school leaves the conference to either (1) go independent or (2) join another conference without first receiving a two-thirds approval from other member schools, then the member school leaving the conference will pay all remaining conference members damages as described in PENALTY A.

    If a team inflicts harm to the league as decribed in any PROVISION above, the member school is subject to pay the following damages:
    (1) The member school must pay each conference member 2 million dollars per year (this figure will be adjusted yearly for inflation using 2010 as the base year) payable to each Conference Member School.
    (2) Damages must be paid every year for a period of 10 years.

    I think these rules are critical to ensure that the PAC-10 doesn’t pilpher from the conference when they finally get it together. And this also puts certain schools on notice that it is a privilidge, not a right, to be in the conference.

    • After further consideration… my fist three offers during expansion would be to USC, Cal, and Oregon. Would this conference be better than the current PAC-10? And how would the PAC-10 fill their holes?



      If they declined, I would then offer to BSU, Fresno, and Houston.

  23. I am glad to see that Houston has picked up more interest from when I first mentioned it (10/4/07). We have seen them in action for a season and a half since then and they do look like a team coming back into their old Southwest Conference form. I have no allegiance with them but I am impressed.

    Boise State still seems to be the clear standout in the expansion consideration. They are proving that they have sustainability in football excellence.

    I had mentioned Tulsa earlier but I starting to agree with the argument that one of the schools should be somewhere on the west coast. Fresno St seems like a popular and logical pick right now, I just wish we could see them have a big bowl game victory (or even loss i.e. TCU vs. Boise St still left me impressed with Boise St). San Jose St. would technically be the best choice as far as media market, but we can’t wait for hell to freeze over while they build a respectable program (last year was a good BEGINNING).

    There is no way that the MWC should pick Hawaii, Traveling to play there is way too expensive and is one of the reasons why they weren’t invited to the MWC originally. Here is a example. Going back to Derrick’s post on North Texas; North Texas declined an invitation to join the WAC because of the cost of travel to Hawaii. (To Derrick, the Mean Green will be a better fit in C-USA if the MWC snags Houston).

    I like Nevada but I think the MWC can only afford 1 of the 3 available spots for a small television market area. Well, Boise St. has that spot pretty much locked up.

    SMU gets brought up quite a bit, particularly since the hiring of June Jones. It would help TCU by making the battle of the iron skillet a conference game. However, SMU’s athletic program is very small, very Boise St. like. It has been cutting programs (i.e. Men’s Track and Field) and do not have a baseball team. They DO have the alumni base to raise a lot of money and a university president that gets the job done but the fan base isn’t there anymore. Fans come to games dressed like a Fraternity/Sorority Mixer (Khakis, dress shirt, tie/ or summer dress and high heels) rather than in school colors.

    Conference divisions. This is where having a second Texas/California school makes sense. The Texas recruits have expanded since bringing on TCU. Most likely, the Texas and California schools will be in different divisions which means that there could be a reduced amount of opportunity for recruits from those states to see your team play (unless you are a Texas or California school of course) . So no matter which division you are in, by adding a second school in those states, you will make sure that your potential recruits in this area will see your team play in person at least every other year.

    My recommendation:

    I think for the moment that the MWC should only expand to 10 for the moment, adding Boise St. They are a clear cut above the rest (for the moment). I think a 10 school MWC can still get a BCS auto bid. It also keeps the level of competition up (which is a knock against the MWC) since Boise St., Utah, BYU, and TCU would then have to play each other every year. Once the MWC gets an auto bid, then you can take your time in choosing the last 2 schools.

    If expanding to 12 would guarantee a BCS auto bid, then I would also add:

    1) Houston
    2) Fresno St. (I still like Tulsa here but agree that there needs one of these spots for a west coast school to balance scheduling since you won’t play every school in the conference anymore).

  24. […] 2009 by Jeremy Each year around this time expansion gets talked about by adding Boise State and others to form a stronger league for BCS consideration.   This topic goes back a few years and really became interesting last […]

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