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MWC Stops Expansion, Potentially Spares the WAC

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In the days leading up to President Obama's State of the Union speech last night, many people expected him to deliver a message about cooperation and working together. That spirit of civility must have made it to the MWC Board of Directors meeting in Las Vegas, because the conference decided to do something rather unexpected.

Namely, the MWC is going to go forward from 2012 with only ten members, as revealed in a vaguely worded release yesterday. Previous stories had the conference looking at adding Utah State and San Jose State to get to 12 and hold a conference championship game. However in doing so, the conference would destroy any hopes of a BCS automatic bid down the line. Not that it has a good chance at one anyway with Utah, TCU, and BYU leaving the fold, mind you.

This fall, the MWC will have eight teams this fall as Utah goes to the Pac-10, BYU goes indepedent, and Boise State comes over from the WAC. In 2012 the conference swells to ten as TCU leaves for the Big East but Fresno State and Nevada come over from the WAC and Hawaii's football program joins (with the rest of its teams playing in the Big West).

Football-wise from 2012 on, the MWC will consist of Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, and Wyoming. The WAC will consist of Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Texas State, Texas-San Antonio, and Utah State with Denver as a non-football member.

If the WAC can scrounge up one more football program to get to eight, it can remain a I-A football conference. That might be doable. Had it lost Utah State and San Jose State, you could pretty much have kissed the WAC goodbye. So nice of the MWC to look out for its western, mid-major sibling like that. And hey, the Sun Belt might actually move up from DFL in the I-A conference pecking order.