Mountain West And Big East Could Save Each Other

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 19: The mascot for the West Virginia Mountaineers perfroms against the Kentucky Wildcats during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

One conference has the golden but not enough members and plenty of discourse.  The other conference has solid membership but doesn't have an invite to the exclusive party.  The Mountain West and Big East both want part of what the other one possesses.  Working together could save both conferences or they could cannibalize each other and neither is left in a position of power.  The Mountain West has been working on a football only merger with Conference USA but instead should looking at merging completely with the Big East.    

This isn't currently being mentioned by any outlets as a possibility but it makes sense if they each want to try and survive.  Dan Wolken of the Daily tweeted yesterday that if the Mountain West and Conference USA schools resolved to stick together and not join the Big East then the conference would die simply because it couldn't add any schools.  Temple from the MAC is the only other team from a non AQ conference that would be even worth adding for the Big East. 

Obviously this would be a huge conference that would literally stretch from coast to coast.  The Mountain West currently has 10 members and the Big East will have six after the loss of Syracuse and Pittsburgh.  In this scenario we're saying that the Big East drops the basketball only members since that is a big reason why their current conference is so dysfunctional.  Hawaii is a football only member of the Mountain West and Air Force will likely be football only in the near future.  So that leaves 16 teams teams for football and 14 for basketball.  For creating divisions easier and the fact that both conference want to get an influence back in Texas we will add SMU and Houston to the mix.  Since Air Force is already willing to travel east to be apart of a BCS league then we will add them in the east division with the Texas schools.  So now we have 18 members for football and 16 for basketball. 

Now of course eighteen teams in football seems like a very large conference but it actually would work very well for scheduling.  Each nine team division would play all eight teams in the division and then four non conference games.  Air Force requires four non conference games because of their annual games with Army and Navy already take up two of those games.

 

WEST EAST
Boise State -1
West Virginia - 1
Nevada -1
South Florida - 1
San Diego State - 2
Cincinnati - 2
Fresno State - 2
Louisville - 2
New Mexico - 3
Rutgers - 3
UNLV - 3
UConn - 3
Wyoming - 4
SMU - 4
Colorado State - 4
Houston - 4
Hawaii* Air Force*

* = Football Only Member

A championship game could be hosted between the winner of each division and trade off between an east of west school hosting.  This would also be a very strong basketball conference as well that would earn multiple bids to the NCAA tournament every year.   The conference tournament could takes turns being hosted in Madison Square Garden and Vegas.

To make travel easier for schools during basketball season the conference schedule would be played out as such.  Every western team would play a home and home with the seven other teams in the west which equals fourteen games.  Then they would play two road games and two home games against schools from the east.  If you noticed the numbers next to each school that indicates it's travel school for cross division play.   So Wyoming and Colorado State would play road games at SMU and Houston and then host Rutgers and UConn.  The following year the same schools would swap the home and road games.  Thus over four years every school has played every team from the opposite division once at home and on the road.

The Mountain West is looking to beef up it's TV deal but simply doesn't have large # of eyeballs in it's markets available to land a huge deal.  The Big East has the huge television markets on the east coast but is having some trouble landing a new TV contract.  With this joint venture you add plenty of large markets and games that can be played across five different time zones.  There would be schools in all of these top 100 media markets and  fans will want to see these teams play.

1     New York
5     Dallas-Ft. Worth
10     Houston
13     Tampa-St. Petersburg
18     Denver
28     San Diego
34     Cincinnati
42     Las Vegas
44     Albuquerque-Santa Fe
50     Louisville
55     Fresno-Visalia
72     Honolulu
91     Colorado Springs-Pueblo

 

There is the national appeal of schools like West Virginia and Boise State who are popular despite their small markets.  We added SMU and Houston for this piece but Temple and UCF could be added instead.  Is this scenario likely to happen?  Very doubtful but it would certainly be a way for conferences to not only continue but also improve upon their current situations and allow them to catch up with some of the other AQ conferences.  It creates a combination of talented football and basketball schools with plenty of large markets included.  I started thinking about his idea last night and had to at least put it out there and see it looked all put together.

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