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WAC has big decision ahead to replace Boise
With Boise State defecting from the WAC to the Mountain West starting in 2011, it will be interesting to see what WAC officials try to do.
Football is what made Boise State the program it is today. The Broncos also won WAC championships in gymnastics and women’s tennis, and were usually in the upper half of the standings in men’s tennis, women’s basketball and women’s soccer. Their presence will be missed.
Football drives the bus; pays for a lot of other programs. Boise State traveled well, especially for football.
The Mountain West thinks that getting Boise State gives them a better chance to land an automatic spot in the BCS. I’m not sure that will happen, especially with all the realigning going on now. Boise State will face tougher competition in the upper half of the MWC with the likes of Utah and BYU. Winning a conference title isn’t going to be an every year sort of thing for the Broncos.
Boise State’s defection certainly makes Nevada a favorite in the football race along with Fresno State, but the conference in football will be decidedly weaker unless the WAC can lure a school from one of the other conferences.
Commissioner Karl Benson has hinted there are several school who have inquired about joining the WAC, and that some of those are Division 1-AA schools. If I were Benson, I would look at getting two schools and bring the membership up to 10. An even number makes it easier for sports because they can go back to travel partners in women’s basketball, volleyball and men’s basketball.
One of the problems with the WAC is its wide geographic area with Hawaii to the West and Louisiana Tech to the East. It’s a travel nightmare. Believe me I know, I covered WAC basketball for five seasons and did plenty of traveling.
The WAC needs to find a school or schools relatively close to another member school.
In terms of independents or Division 1-AA schools, Utah Valley University, Denver, UC Davis, Montana, Sacramento State, Northern Colorado, Cal-Poly and Weber State would be viable choices. They are all close and relatively close to other WAC schools. University of the Pacific in Stockton would be another good addition, but the Tigers don’t play football anymore.
Heck if the Texas schools bolt to the Pac-10, why not take a run at Baylor? Baylor certainly would gave the WAC some name recognition if nothing else, though the MWC could take a run at the Bears.
I’m somewhat surprised that the Mountain West hasn’t added an 11th and 12th school so it could have a conference championship game in football. Geography wise, Fresno State and Nevada would be perfect for the MWC, but MWC officials don’t appear to be inclined to add any other WAC schools.
All the buzzing could lead to an interesting two months. It appears that schools want to make quick decisions on this. Blink and you may lose the conference of your choice.
By Darrell Moody