Friday, August 20, 2010

The Mountain West and WAC Go Head-to-Head as the NCAA Conference Shuffle Continues

I though that my first post about college football from Alabama might have been related to say Michigan's first game, or Alabama's game against Penn State. However, this Mountain West Conference / WAC drama is way too good to pass up. So let's back up a couple of months.

Earlier this summer when the NCAA Conference Shuffle started, the Mountain West managed to snag Boise State from the WAC, and they looked like they'd be sitting pretty with two college football powerhouses in line. No such luck however, as the Pac-10 got Utah, but after that it seemed as if the dust had settled in that area of the country.

Wishful thinking, right?

BYU announced this week that it wanted to become a member of the WAC in every sport other than football, where they would be an independent team like Notre Dame. With the loss of Utah and the potential loss of BYU, the Mountain West was starting to seriously worry about the future of their conference. So they made their move: pulling the rug out from under the WAC and going after Fresno State and Nevada.

Now the WAC is pissed, and rightfully so. Commissioner Karl Benson said that both Fresno State and Nevada should expect to pay the WAC $5 million in buyout fees, as well as not be allowed to leave the conference until 2012. Less than a week before this, all of the teams that remained in the WAC formed a buyout pact, which attempted to keep what was left of their conference in one piece. Benson has stated that he is "regretting not making the buyout $20 million right now". 

So now the WAC is down their top three football programs and pretty much has no shot of hanging onto BYU, which moves the Mountain West into a phenomenal position for the BCS. The college football conference shuffling isn't really even entertaining anymore; it's becoming more of an annoying blood battle. Pat Forde put it best when he said: 

"The ACC attacked the Big East, which responded by gutting Conference USA. The Big Ten nearly poached the Big 12 out of existence. And once the Pac-10 destabilized the Mountain West by pilfering Utah, that left the MWC and WAC in an eye-gouging struggle to survive."

In all honesty, I'm bored with the conference realignment issue. Maybe next summer we can talk about it again, but for now, let's be done. I'm having a hard time keeping up with who's going where and quite frankly since it's not affecting my two teams, I'm starting to not really care either. But in my opinion, maybe it's time for the Mountain West and WAC to be one super-conference again and stop the unnecessary drama.

PS: In uplifting college football-related news, my Contracts professor in law school also happened to be one of the attorneys representing Michigan in the NCAA sanctions meeting in Seattle last week. I asked him after class about how it went and he said that "you can never really tell, but there seemed to be good karma in the room."

Go Blue.

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