Could the Mountain West add teams?
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Big 12, Pac-12 have interest in the MW?
The Mountain West is not really a player in the current round of expansion which was sparked by USC and UCLA shocked the world by announcing it is joining the Big Ten.
The league is actually in a good spot and shouldn’t be too worried about losing members, at least not yet in the early stages.
At this point in realignment, it is the top college football teams looking to move up even more, and the other formerly P5 teams are hoping for survival to retain relevance.
Commissioner Craig Thompson joined KOA to discuss this realignment and what the Mountain West is doing.
Thompson went on to first pump up the league saying they didn’t go to the AAC, but that answer is a bit more complicated but he is doing his job in saying the league is together.
“We solidified ourselves. Some of our institutions had an opportunity to leave a year ago and join the American and opted to stay, and I think that was a smart move,” Thompson said.
Joining an AAC without UCF, Cincinnati, or Houston is a big drop off compared to the current Mountain West, so it was a smart move to not join that conference.
Where Thompson gets a bit frisky in his interview with KOA is that he is getting calls from the Pac-12 and Big 12 programs.
“I think we’re not necessarily going to wait and see, but there could be some Big 12 schools, there could be some Pac-12 schools that would be interested in the Mountain West Conference,” Thompson said. “There’s always a host of institutions either currently in the FCS or others, that we get constant phone calls. I think I probably fielded three or four calls from institutions this week saying, ‘hey, don’t forget about us if you’re looking to expand’. But I don’t know that that’s in our best interest at this very moment.”
Listen to “07-07-22 Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson on NCAA conference realignment” on Spreaker.
The latter comments of the Mountain West adding other Group of Five or FCS programs makes a lot of sense.
As for Big 12 and Pac-12 schools being interested in the Mountain West is basically a back up plan in a worst-case scenario for those schools.
Teams from those leagues are looking at their options in case either the Big 12 and Pac-12 merge and teams are left out, one of the two absorb the others, or the Big Ten comes in and grabs more teams.
The schools that are likely calling the Mountain West from the Pac-12 are Oregon State and Washington State. Those two are the most likely going to be left out if there is a combination of conferences. Cal is a hard maybe as they are academic elites and may not want to be part of the Mountain West, and Stanford is a no-go.
From the Big 12, it is probably Kansas State and Iowa State, and a distant third is Kansas as they want their basketball team to be part of a major conference on the hardwood.
Thompson and the Mountain West are doing what they can and that is staying pat and listening to conversations. The league is probably not going to be picked off so they can wait and help find homes for the potentially wayward teams looking for a home.