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Could a Mountain West-Conference USA football merger be on the horizon?

MWC commissioner Craig Thompson tells Idaho Statesman that Big 12, Big East schools being contacted, too

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.

Meanwhile …

"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."

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  1. Ryan, is there any chance that you could take over for Craig Thompson? 22 teams?! And, if you were in charge, the MWC would have a shot at landing Kansas. As well as going back to the old logo.
    Anyway, get TCU back and go after the Kansas schools. That gets you to 13. And would love BYU to beg to be let back in. Baylor could be 15. Then you could go Houston or Iowa St. Just a thought.

  2. I say that because we are so far behnd the top four conferences, we should offer Texas, Texas tech, Baylor with the condition that they can keep the long horn network but need to air all Texas schools. Reinvite Tcu, and get the Kansas schools to come. If you can lock in Texas then the others will follow. So if we have to play favorites little bit to get Texas, we could offer more than the PAC 12 will let them get away with.

  3. Ryan, if there are super conferences, what do you think with the automatical qualifying? Would the suepr conferences get two bids? If not, the MWC/CUSA could benefit if the BCS made it an AQ conference. If so, wouldn't that only benefit a team like Boise State? In that light, it would only need a stronger non-conference schedule to try and compete for a national championship, but still benefit from a relatively weaker field.

    Also, the pundits have a good point about independents being the biggest losers in the super conference shuffle. Why would the Big 10 want to continue its rivalry with Notre Dame when the teams will have to compete with Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, Nebraska, and a rising Michigan? In that light, BYU better seek shelter somewhere instead of trying to remaining independent.

  4. There is no way, I repeat no way any of the Kansas schools or any BCS/AQ school would even consider the Mountain West. It would be a last ditch option. I went to a BCS school and there is a world of difference between where I went and UNLV. I hate the system we have now with have and have nots. People wonder why UNLV football is bad this is why. UNLV's coach makes 350K a year, Oklahoma's is 7 million. The athletic budgets in BCS schools is HUGE. UNLV has a 1/10 of what BCS schools have. Living here I wish college football is bigger. I went to a UNLV game and it is small compared to where I went to school. It is similar to DII football. BCS schools have sell outs every weekend, HDTV scoreboards, luxury suites and rival pro stadiums. The system is not fair, I disagree with it but it is what we have. Before you think I am bragging or boasting, my school is in one of the conferences that are imploding. I just hope they land in another BSC conference because living here I see what football is like in a non BCS conference.

    This is the total money brought in by conference in 2008 (old numbers but all I could find.) This does not include new TV contracts for the PAC 12 and the BIG12 which were both over a billion dollars. Look where the Mountain West is. Sad...

    Total revenue
    Big Ten: $217.72 million
    ACC: $162.76 million
    SEC: $161.56 million
    Big 12: $129.87 million
    Pac-10: $96.083 million
    Big East: $93.35 million
    Conference USA: $45.12 million
    WAC: $19.24 million
    MAC: $10.1 million
    Mountain West: $9.8 million

  5. the only feasible way i could see this working is to have a Championship game between C-USA and the Mtn. West. In terms of scheduling maybe have each team play a team from the other conference once a year in non-conference play. but as a full on conference merger this is not feasible in my mind. i'd rather the MWC just purge the quality teams from C-USA just like we did the WAC.