Now, the league is facing the possibility of yet another departure. And a potential death knell when it comes to major college football.
According to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, and citing sources familiar with the discussions, San Jose State has emerged as a potential expansion target of the Mountain West Conference. The MWC’s board of directors is holding a meeting next Monday, although those talks aren’t expected to result in any invitations being extended to prospective members. Commissioner Craig Thompson told the paper that he’s had one discussion with SJSU regarding MWC membership, but the school will not be fully evaluated until his bosses give the go ahead for further expansion.
The main reason for the MWC’s interest, however peripheral, in SJSU? “There is value in the number of TV sets in your geographic area,” a source told Wilner, referring to the fact that San Jose sits in the nation’s sixth-largest television market.
In addition to San Jose State, Conference USA members Houston, SMU, UTEP and Utah State are believed to be potential targets as well. The Cougars and Mustangs are reportedly content in their current conference, although we continue to hear the former would be open to overtures from the MWC.
Despite the departures of BYU (football independence), TCU (Big East) and Utah (Pac-12), the additions of Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada will give the MWC ten schools starting in 2012. The interest in San Jose State, as well as other schools, would seem to indicate the MWC is seeking to get to at least 12 schools in order to have the flexibility to split into divisions and hold a conference title game at the end of the regular season.
As for the WAC, the loss of San Jose State would certainly be a crippling, if not outright fatal, blow football-wise. As it currently stands, and if they were to lose SJSU, the WAC would be down to Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, Utah State (if they’re not poached as well), Texas State and the University of Texas at San Antonio. The latter two schools were officially added to the WAC’s “roster” last November, although neither institution has played a game at the Div. 1-A level.
In other words, and in the not-too-distant future, the Old Yeller treatment may be in order for the WAC. It’s the only humane thing left to do.