Tuesday, January 25, 2011

WAC Takes a Breath

     WIth the Mountain West Conference announcing today that they are not expanding any farther, the Western Athletic Conference can take a huge sigh of relief. It had been reported in the last couple of days that the MWC was considering the addition of Utah State and San Jose State. That news had folks squirming in WAC country, as the MWC has already pilaged the top tier talent out of the league. Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, and Nevada have all announced their departure to join the MWC.
     The potential move of Utah State and San Jose State was a move that was bad for all involved. First of all, it was bad for the WAC, because after having lost the above mentioned schools, the best talent in the conference had already bolted. The replacements for those schools were Texas State and Texas-San Antonio, but that still leaves the WAC with only 7 members in 2012. The loss of USU and SJSU would have left them with 5 members and a non-viable long term league.
     The move was bad for the the MWC, as the addition of USU and SJSU would have been a weight at the bottom of the league. There has been very little success between these two clubs in the last few decades, and they would have taken away from the top of a conference that despite the addition of the 4 best programs in the WAC, they lose their 3 best programs in TCU, Utah, and BYU. That leaves Boise State as the premier member in a league that looks quite similar to the one that they just left.
     Right now, Boise State fans are reasonably upset that their lot did not improve as much as it should have. Boise was understandably excited about the long term ramifications of joining a league that would have also included top flight talent in TCU and Utah, a historical champion in BYU, and up and coming programs in Nevada, Air Force, and San Diego State. That collection of members would have without doubt made the MWC one of the best leagues top to bottom in America today. It's no longer as attractive to the BCS, which was Boise's primary reason for leaving the WAC. Some could consider this a worst case scenario.
     I would say to Boise fan, don't stress about it. This is a short term dilemma, as there is more conference shuffling headed in your general direction. There will likely be a time, where the PAC-12 comes calling, or the Big 12. With continued successes, a more attractive dance partner is sure to arrive, with big money and and a nice, hefty TV deal in tow. It's a guarantee.

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