The MWC as a 12-team conference
Posted 22 June 2010 - 09:15 AM
However, the prospect of joining the Mountain West Conference will be sufficiently appealling so as to open up competition among all members of the WAC and even the current I-AA Big Sky Conference.
In terms of risk management, the Mountain West can choose teams for expansion based on large media markets, quality-of-play or both. The quality-of-play level, in order to trump media market considerations, would need to affect BCS fortunes, as in the case of Boise State. The best of both worlds would be a team to favorably affect BCS fortunes that also enjoys a large media market.
Reasonably, better conference affiliation and fit can positively energize a team's performance whereas poor fit can de-energize it. And the media market is a given stable-state whereas team performance can most often be expected to vary postively with greater conference affiliation. Teams from large media markets with reasonable potential for greater quality-of-play would, thus, likely be considered a better risk for added value in conference affiliation.
The best media markets from the pool of expansion prospects thus include:
San Jose State (#6 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose 2,503,400) -- This is a highly desirable market. Will SJSU emerge as consistent?
Fresno State (#55 Fresno-Visalia 579,180) -- Significant market. Heir-apparent to Utah?
Hawaii (#71 Honolulu 433,240) -- Significant market. Great attendance. Time zone issues and considerations of some jet-lag.
Nevada (#108 Reno 270,500) -- Fairly significant market. High scoring offense but crushed by TCU in latest bowl game.
Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State, Louisiana Tech -- Markets not of significant size. Improving quality-of-play nonetheless.
Montana (#166 Missoula 111,940) -- Fairly significant market. Good quality-of-play. Traditionally caves against Idaho schools.
UC-Davis, Sacramento State (#20 Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto 1,404,580) -- Very significant market. May likely opt for Big West Conference.
Cal Poly-SLO (#120 Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-San Luis Obispo 241,370) -- Fairly significant market. May likely opt for Big West Conference.
Portland State (#22 Portland 1,188,770) -- Very significant market. Improving quality-of-play. Great new head coach.
There will be room for four more teams in order to establish a 12-team conference. Based on media market size and quality-of-play potential at this point, I would reasonably conclude that the following teams represent the best-risks for close-monitoring of development for eventual conference affiliation and membership into the Mountain West Conference. My bias is in favor of:
San Jose State & Portland State
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