Let’s step back and take a breath. Ok, Utah to the PAC-10, Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada to the MWC, BYU undecided.
Those are the facts. Now its time to break it down. (keep in mind, this is all speculation) but this is how I think it all went down.
Craig Thompson, MWC commissioner, had heard rumors about Utah leaving for the PAC-10 for months before the invite was extended. What happened before Utah was invited and bailed? Boise State randomly gets invited to the MWC? Wrong! Thompson knew EXACTLY what he was doing bringing the broncos in.
A conference with their top 3 schools being Utah 2-0 BCS record, Boise State 2-0 BCS record and TCU 0-1 (with its only loss coming against Boise State) has an amazing shot at becoming an automatic qualifying conference for the BCS.
But…speculation and hopes and dreams weren’t enough to keep the Utes from accepting that invitation when it came. But, Thompson effectively replaced the Utes football-wise with the broncos.
Fast forward to a week ago.
With training camps underway and focus on the 2010 season, you’d think Thompson could relax right? Wrong! Rumors arose once again. This time with BYU going independent in football and joining the WAC in all other sports.
Freeze. This is where I want to speculate what went on behind the scenes.
First of all, let’s get in the head of Craig Thompson. He had to have been thinking “ok, I added Boise State to the conference as a way to keep Utah but it didn’t work. Now BYU wants to leave and join the WAC in all sports but football. Well, we’ve got Nevada and Fresno State in our pockets for just this situation so we’ll take the remaining football cred AND 2 good basketball teams from the WAC before BYU can get there”
But the best part about this whole thing is that news came that Utah State had the biggest role in this whole move and they totally pulled the loyalty card and ruined the last and best chance BYU had at being part of an AQ conference.
If that doesn’t make any sense, let’s take a look at what the MWC narrowly missed out on. Had Utah State accepted the invitation, the MWC top to bottom would have been
2. Boise State
3. Air Force
4. Fresno State
7. San Diego State
8. Colorado State
9. Utah State
11. New Mexico
That’s an incredible conference that would stand up against any. That’s 7 bowl eligible teams in 2009. There is no way on earth that the BCS could deny the MWC an auto-bid. Not to mention, the MWC would then have 12 teams (including BYU) and are eligible to host a conference championship game.
Not only did Utah State deciding against joining the MWC stop them at 11 teams, it also leaves BYU in limbo. Now the MWC has to pay out 11 teams on the same crappy TV deal they’ve always had. BYU wants to ditch the horrid TV deal most of all. And on the other hand, they aren’t going to send their teams to play with the 6 remaining WAC teams (an FBS conference must have a minimum of 8 teams)
The best part is that in order for the MWC to extend an invite to another school, all the university presidents must vote in favor of it. You following me here? BYU HAD to have voted in favor of inviting Fresno State and Nevada. Why would they do that knowing that that would weaken the WAC maybe irreparably so? The only conclusion I can come to is that they didn’t just vote on 2 schools but on all 3.
Utah State declined the invite and in so doing, has caused more delay in BYU’s decision and has left the MWC and WAC in awkward positions.
Thank you Aggies!!! Go Gary!!!
Written by Dan Condie