The Mountain West Conference announced the names and members of its new divisions on Tuesday, thus taking one more step towards maybe getting to be treated like a real conference.
The appropriately named Mountain and West divisions will each be made up of six teams. MWC members will play five divisional games each season, and three conference opponents from the opposite division.
The Mountain conference will be comprised of the Air Force Falcons, Boise State Broncos, Colorado State Rams, New Mexico Lobos, Utah State Aggies and Wyoming Cowboys. Over in the West division we have the Fresno State Bulldogs, Hawaii Warriors, Nevada Wolf Pack, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, and UNLV Rebels.
Like all two-division conferences, the MWC will now have a conference championship game, but they decided to add a little twist: it will not be played at a neutral site. Instead, the Mountain West Championship Game will be played at the home stadium of the team with the highest BCS ranking. All that means to me though is that we will be forced to endure looking at that damn Smurf Turf one more time than necessary next season. The game will take place on Dec. 7, 2013.
I like where the Mountain West is headeng. They swiped San Jose State and Utah State away from the WAC, which started a chain reaction of every football member of the WAC packing their bags save for the New Mexico State Aggies and Idaho Vandals, who will be Independent in 2013. They also got Boise State and San Diego State back after the two decided that the Big East was not the best investment for their futures. Part of me wants to applaud the Mountain West, but another part still thinks it will be all for nothing.
When the conference realignment mess once again hits the fan prior to the start of the 2014 season, and it will, the schools of the Mountain West are going to be prime targets for the current BCS automatic qualifier conferences. The Pac-12 will no doubt come after one or more teams, as will the Big Ten and Big 12, and while the MWC has built a nice little set-up, I don’t know if it will be able to keep its members from answering the call of traditional power conferences like those three.
The Mountain West has been a great home for “BCS buster” type schools and should be fun to watch in 2013, but I still doubt their long-term credibility.