Enjoy the Mountain West while you can folks because in its current look and feel it is all but dead. One can argue that the true Mountain West died when two conference founders BYU and Utah packed their bags but what is on the horizon for the conference is a clear and direct change from the western based conference we have grown to quite like. Yesterday the Mountain West and Conference USA announced the formation of a new conference but offered very little in actual details. Like most things the devil is in the details and it is this lack of details that has me concerned. The “new” conference which I have dubbed conference North America will have 16-24 teams. The conference “leadership” claims increased television revenue and visibility for conference North America based on the fact it covers five time zones from Hawaii to the east coast.
When did we last hear this argument? Oh yeah, back in 1996 when the 16 team WAC was formed. Just three years later the Mountain West was formed due to the major inefficiencies of such a large conglomeration of schools. So it seems we have learned very little in the past 16 years as we are doomed to repeat a mistake we have already made. Now sure this new attempt may end up being more regionalized with two divisions of eight teams or even four divisions with four teams to meet the goal of hosting football semi-final and championship games but that novelty will quickly die down. Are you really exited about possible matchups against Tulsa, Southern Miss or Eastern Carolina? I’m not!
I will support the Cowboys no matter what and I just want what is best for the university and its sports programs but this is clearly a step in the wrong direction. The conference and its institutions are trying to chase football money and gain BCS access (which is on its death-bed) but in doing so they are risking alienating the people who matter the most their alumni and fans. It will only be a matter of time before a new Mountain West emerges from the ashes of conference North America.