With news just days ago about the potential movement of BYU to an independent status, and Nevada and Fresno St. moving to the Mountain and West it seems as though those stories were just the tips of the icebergs. It seems as though BYU is going to wait an see what is going to happen in the Mountain West before they make a final decision (they need to make an announcement by September 1st if they want to be independent in 2011. Although by then it still might not be fully settled when Nevada and Fresno St. will join the MWC. The two schools would like to join the conference in 2011, but the WAC is not going to let that happen without a fight.
The WAC is already going to lose Boise St. to the Mountain West Conference and it is going to do all it can to prevent the further raiding of its schools. The WAC is ready to go to court to prevent Nevada and Fresno St. from leaving until the 2012 season at the earliest, citing that the schools missed the July 1st deadline to leave the conference by 2011. The WAC was also successful in stopping Utah St. from making the move because unlike Nevada and Fresno, Utah St. signed an agreement after Boise St. left that any school that leaves the WAC will have to pay the conference $5 million. This is a decision that I am sure AD Scott Barnes is kicking himself over as he said in a letter to Aggie fans that they were the first of three schools (Fresno St. and Nevada being the others of course) that were invited to join the Mountain West.
As the WAC is trying to prevent the Mountain West from doing any more raiding, they are also doing what they can to get BYU away from the Mountain West. BYU does decide to go independent in football, that would also mean that all of its other sports would need to find a new conference to call home, and the WAC is waiting with open arms to do so. The WAC has even gone so far as to set up schedule of games for BYU to play against WAC football teams in 2011 to replace the MWC Conference games they would no longer be playing if they leave the conference. At the same time the WAC is also trying to find replacement teams to fill the void in its football conference. If Fresno St. and Nevada do leave, the conference will only have 6 teams in it (Hawaii, Utah State, Louisiana Tech, San Jose State, Idaho and New Mexico State). North Texas is supposedly at the top of the WAC’s list, and they maybe also in contact with University of Texas-San Antonio and Texas State. Also FCS schools like Montana, Montana State, Sacramento State, Cal Poly and UC Davis are also possibilities if they are willing to move up to FBS division.
This is all happening because of the fact that the Mountain West is trying to get a BCS automatic bid, which I fully believe that they deserve. The Mountain West has currently reached three of the four mathematical benchmarks to gain a temporary automatic access to the BCS. While the conference could just try and gain access by the waiver method now, which is not actually defined how the method works but it is how the Big East gained access, they rather not leave things up to chance. The odds of the Mountain West joining the BCS was hurt when Utah said that it was going to leave for the PAC 10 (a spot BYU thought it was going to be offered), its dreams will really be smashed of joining the BCS if BYU also goes. Not to mention the fact that if BYU leaves chances are that the conference’s TV network are all but dead.
This is why the MWC is looking to add more teams, and is talking to Conference USA about possibly doing a play in game between the two conferences for a spot in the BCS. While this sounds like an interesting proposal, it will most likely never happen. First off it would be dominated by the Mountain West, but also every football conference would have to sign off on this for this type of proposal to happen. While the current big 6 BCS conferences would not sign off on it so that they can get more money for their own school, you also would have the WAC who would just vote no out of spite at this point.
Honestly, we all thought that things were crazy between the PAC 10, Big Ten, and Big 12, but that might end up looking civilized compared to the fighting and shifting we see between the WAC and Mountain West.