Monday, Sept. 19, 2011 | 10:30 p.m.
While the plates in the college football world are shifting, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson broke his recent silence on Monday in an interview with the Idaho Statesman.
The recent movement began with Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, which immediately jeopardized the Big 12's future. That future appears now to be non-existent, as Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and then possibly Texas and Texas Tech could be headed to the Pac-12.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh and Syracuse are on the move from the Big East to the ACC, and the likelihood of the so-called 'super-conferences' forming appears to be a foregone conclusion at this point.
"We've resurrected … this consolidation concept with Conference USA from a football-only standpoint. The timing is right to be proactive in that," Thompson said. "Consolidation is, at least, worth exploring."
Thompson then told the Statesman that the Mountain West has reached out to members of the Big 12 and Big East that figure to be soon left in the dust about joining the 10-team league.
As for the potential Mountain West-Conference USA merger, which would form a 22-team football league, the talks have been in the works for roughly a year now, but are now picking up steam as the realignment madness is hitting its peak.
The Mountain West is set to have 10 members next year when TCU takes off for the Big East and Fresno State, Nevada-Reno and Hawaii join. However, Thompson insinuated that with the Big East crumbling, TCU could potentially be invited back into the league.
He also said that BYU, who left the league to become a football independent following last season, has not been contacted.
"I have had a lot of conversations with TCU through this process," he added. "Specifically inviting them back to the league is not my position (only the league's board of directors can do so). But it is being strongly considered and would probably — probably emphasized — be endorsed by the Mountain West Board of Directors."