Mountain West and Conference USA Form New Football-Only Conference [AUDIO]
A new football conference comprised of current Mountain West and Conference-USA teams has been formed. The announcement was made during a teleconference late Friday with Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and Conference-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky.
The commissioners envision a two division conference with a championship game as early as 2012, although they said the focus is on the 2013 season.
With TCU’s recent decision to join the Big 12 instead of the Big East, three teams have been looked at as possible additions to the dwindling conference. Thompson confirmed that MWC teams Air Force and Boise State have been contacted by the Big East as possible football-only members while Banowsky confirmed that a C-USA team , UCF, has been contacted about possibly becoming a full member of the Big East.
We really realized that college athletics is changing so fast, and it’s such a rapid pace that if we’re not quick to adapt to the change, we might lose some positioning.
-C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky
In addition to hopefully adding stability with the new conference, the commissioners said they hope it will improve the outlook for all schools involved as far as being able to play in big games at the end of the season.
We don’t know what the system is ultimately going to look like and whatever form that might take. We’re trying to present an opportunity for our people to participate at the highest level of postseason football, whatever form that takes.
-MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson
University of Wyoming Athletic Director Tom Burman was a part of the scheduling committee that assisted in the forming of the currently unnamed conference and after the announcement said he thinks it’s a good way for the teams involved to maintain rivalries while adding stability to the league.
I do not believe the Mountain West was going to get a BCS AQ position if we stayed status quo. And we had some pretty bright people looking into that. It would have had to go to a waiver process and we were not going to get the votes. So it looked very, very unlikely. From all sources that we could gather, we were not going to get a BCS AQ, short of a dramatic miracle. So does it help us? It surely doesn’t hurt us, because we weren’t going to get one anyway. So the concept is, hey we’ve got 22 institutions playing football under one alliance or one association and going to a championship game. Craig and Britton will do everything within their power to sell that to the BCS powers and hopefully at some point we can label ourself a BCS league.
-UW AD Tom Burman
Burman didn’t have any ideas for a possible name for the newly formed conference, although he did suggest that the name not involve any numbers or geographical locations.