Just as predicted, San Diego State is following Boise State back to the conference they never left. This summer both schools were set to join the Big East in football and the Big West in all other sports. But with the demise of the Big East and the guaranteed money of the MWC, this was a no brainer. Boise State came back on December 31 and basically said we only come back if you take San Diego State back. After all, it was the Broncos that got the Aztecs into the Big East mess. It was their job to get them out of it. Looks like they did just that.
So now the MWC will have 12 programs for the 2013 year. Boise State leads the group, but upstarts Utah State and San Jose State, both just finished 11 win seasons, are in the conference now as well. They join decent programs San Diego State, Fresno State, Air Force and Nevada along with bottom dwellers New Mexico, Wyoming, Hawaii, Colorado State and UNLV. Decent enough football conference. Got some regular bowlers in there. Decent basketball conference as well. Three of those teams regularly make it into the top 25. So the MWC has to be happy with losing BYU, Utah and TCU but picking up the remnants of the now deceased WAC.
What does this mean for the Big East? As I said earlier when reporting Boise State wasn’t joining, the Big East is finished. The basketball schools are taking off and will likely take the Big East name with them. Louisville is ACC bound. Navy will no doubt rethink joining in 2015. So you basically have Uconn, Cincy, and South Florida from the old Big East. They will be joined by full members UCF, Memphis, Houston and SMU along with football only member East Carolina. Temple is already in the league.
So what will those 9 call themselves? Big East will go with the departing basketball programs. They have two schools in Texas, 1 in Tennessee, 2 in Florida, 1 in North Carolina, 1 in Ohio, 1 in Connecticut and 1 wherever Temple is. Pennsylvania? Who cares. Why do I not care? Let me lay it out for you.
Of the 9 programs they have playing football, guess how many went to a bowl game this year? Cincy who should have gotten slammed by Duke but got lucky because Duke beat themselves with turnovers, and…who else? SMU beat Air Force I think in their bowl game. UCF won a bowl and did pretty well in Conference USA. I think East Carolina went to a bowl and lost to a Sun Belt team. That cover it? Yeah, that’s what conference we’re talking about here. Pah-thetic.
Here’s how I would rank the new conferences as they will be in 2013:
2. Big 12
3. Pac 12
4. Big Ten
8. Big East
9. Sun Belt
10. Conference USA
That’s a tough call though. The Sun Belt had a great year. Could go either way at #8 and #9 to be honest. One thing is for sure, CUSA doesn’t have anyone left but Tulsa, so they are toast. But here’s the important question: do you really think Memphis, East Carolina, UCF, Houston and SMU will still leave the stability of their conference for the unstable Big East? If they have half a brain they don’t bother. They are only doing it for one season, 2013. That’s because the Big East still sends a champion to the BCS. That means money. After that the Big East is done.
If I am those schools I stay in Conference USA and the winner of my conference championship game plays the winner of the MWC conference championship game. That’s legit. That could be an at large BCS bid. If nothing else it’s stability and guaranteed money, even if it’s less.
So don’t be surprised if the CUSA schools end up deciding to stay put and instead invite Cincy, Uconn and South Florida to join them instead of vice versa.