Hello, Mountain West. You’ve done the hard part this week, joining hands and staying together amid a fog of fear, uncertainty and college football realignment uproar.
With the State of Colorado, the Air Force, the State of San Diego and the State of Boise resisting the openings of a bustling US sports conference, they all chose not to jump off a rocky ship. to embark on another. This makes everyone a sort of unicorn among FBS sports programs these days, whose directors often find it difficult to resist even marginal increases in media distributions.
For that, the staff of the ranking of the week applauds.
West Mountain – A
But your job is not yet done, Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson.
While your lecture remains intact, one can still see in the distance the blurred outlines of greater objectivist chaos Ayn Randian. As sure as New Mexico field a disappointing football schedule, self-interest will once again take precedence over the regional rivalries and traditions that drew us to varsity athletics in the first place.
If Mountain West and its member schools are to be a part of this new world, Thompson must now be proactive in securing its future. That is, unless he is content with his conference continuing to serve as a weigh station for his best programs to bide their time until the next round of Power 5 offers. (This which, admittedly, is somewhat inevitable given the constantly wandering eye of the Big 12.)
Translation: Thompson must aggressively seek out expansion opportunities that strengthen Mountain West.
From our perspective, there are two options: either Thompson turns to AAC to forge a partnership similar to the Pac-12 / Big Ten / ACC alliance that can benefit both brands in future programming negotiations. / media or he is looking for other programs that will make Mountain West the # 6 FBS Conference.
Regarding the latter, a handful of schools would make a lot of sense for the conference: SMU and Tulsa in AAC, and UTSA, UTEP and / or Rice in Conference USA.
This would not only open up fertile recruiting grounds in Texas and Oklahoma, but it would expand the conference’s geographic footprint into another time zone, bringing with it more windows of broadcast, audience, and national relevance.
If there’s anything that was proven last week, it’s that the AAC’s position as a ‘Power 6’ conference – as supported as it may have been by ESPN – was grossly overrated. now that Cincinnati, Houston, and central Florida are tied to the Big 12.
The distribution difference between AAC and Mountain West is certain to diminish or disappear altogether once these three schools leave and AAC’s media partners demand a renegotiation of their agreements.
And with that comes a chance to swing the pendulum the other way.
Until this week, Mr. Thompson’s biggest achievement was being in the room as SEC, ACC and Notre Dame leaders planned a potential expansion of the college football playoffs to 12 teams that would open access to group 5 schools.
Now, he’s the man who helped push the AAC poachers back to the gates (or at least he can claim to be). If he plays his cards well, he may be remembered even more.