Just when you thought there might be some stability settling into conference alignments, things are going all haywire again. After the WAC barely survived the poaching of their evil identical twin brother, the Mountain West Conference, by bringing in Seattle U, Texas State-San Marcos, Texas-San Antonio, Texas-Arlington, and Denver, another round of realignment is about turn to turn everything upside down again all across the country, at least at the mid-major level. But, this shifting of mid-majors might actually be the loosening of the pebbles for the next round of major conference expansion and realignment as the ACC decides if it wants to go to 16, the Big Ten decides if it wants to scoop up a couple more teams, the Big East goes for 20+, and so forth.
First there were those crazy rumors about the Mountain West and Conference USA merging into one 24 team superconference. This would assure themselves of an automatic BCS bid (as long as there is a BCS) and they still could keep two autobids to the NCAA tournament. Except, uhh, there were a few legal issues to work out. Perhaps one of the biggest issues was the fact that the NCAA told them “no you will only get one bid”. So, instead of two 10 team leagues each getting a bid, a 24-team league would get just one.
As insurance, the Mountains West is now seriously considering adding San Jose State and Utah State from the WAC. That in addition to Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii already joining the MWC in football this year (but Hawaii joining the Big West in basketball). You know what that means? Basically, the old WAC is now the enlarged Mountain West, yet again. Remember when the WAC had 16 teams and then split into two conferences? Ummm…
Then you have the Sun Belt, who is adding Georgia State, probably South Alabama, and also possibly Charlotte. But, the Sun Belt is also looking to merge with the WAC? Imagine Seattle U in the Sun Belt…talk about a contradiction in terms. I am not sure how often Seattle and sun used in the same sentence. Hmmm, well if San Diego State and Boise State can be considered to be in the Big East, I guess anything goes.
Anyways, some moves have already been made this spring including Pacific to the WCC, Temple back to the Big East after being kicked out in 2004, Memphis to the Big East answering all of their dreams, UMass is joining the MAC – why not Atlantic 10? San Diego State is going to the Big West in hoops, BYU already in the WCC in basketball for now, Boise State is going to the WAC for hoops, unless the WAC dissolves. Then what? Back to the Mountain West again?
UC San Diego and Cal St.-Bakersfield were both ready to make the jump to the Big West until the conference started getting googly eyes with Hawaii and San Diego State coming in temporarily. So, they left UCSD stuck in Division II and CS-Bakersfield stuck as an independent. Doesn’t the Big West realize that both UH and SDSU will be gone to another conference, maybe back to the 20-team Mountain West in a couple of years?
Butler, Virginia Commonwealth, and George Mason, the three mid-major wonders are all now receiving calls from the Atlantic 10 (soon to be A-14?). John Wilner says that Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, San Jose St., Texas-San Antonio and Utah State are all being considered for Conference USA and/or Mountain West consideration. Middle Tennessee State is also on CUSA’s radar. But, apparently the big “Mountain USA” merger has a number of major legal hurdles that may end up making this more of an association than an actual merger.
And, when will BYU and Louisville join the Big 12 anyways?
Man, I’m exhausted…