What influence does the mountain west have?
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The Pac-12 is in trouble and they know it. She lost USC and UCLA as they were caught off guard by this move and after a night to think about it, the possibly upcoming former “Conference of Champions” announced that they are going to check out “all expansion options”.
That statement is fine, but every team in the league is going to look at its options. Most schools have issued a statement regarding USC and UCLA’s departures and some said they are committed to the Pac-12, some said they are reviewing all options and Oregon has not released a statement.
Ducks’ official comment was just a few short words: “Nothing to add at the moment.”
That is not good. Then there are reports that the Big Ten wants Oregon and Washington to get to 16 teams, but the former Midwestern League wants that wait at Notre Dame†
While the Pac-12’s statement is nice on the face of it, the teams are not on the same page.
Who will take Pac-12?
Many Mountian West teams want to compete in the Pac-12, but they can try to grab some Big 12 teams. The irony of that is that the Big 12 wanted to merge with the Pac-12 — or at least form a partnership — when Texas and Oklahoma left.
The Big 12 may have some influence to perhaps take some of the Pac-12 schools, which are said to have been Utah, Colorado, Arizona and the state of Arizona.
However, the Pac-12 will have some impact if Oregon and Washington remain in the league. As those two Pacific Northwest schools say, the Pac-12 will probably try to get some Big 12 teams before coming to the Mountain West.
The league will probably still try to do that with some Mountain West teams, at least in the beginning.
The Pac-12 likes geographic partners for its members, but that has to be thrown out the window in survival mode. The same may be true for academics. Boise State is the biggest brand, but they don’t really compare to Pac-12 classroom schools.
The two biggest brands in the Mountain West are Boise State and San Diego State, and that seems like the most likely combination. Colorado State has put a lot of money into football, but the results are not there yet. Fresno State could also be an option with recent success.
UNLV is a wild card just because they are in a growing city, way above average high school football and they play in the shiny stadium that also hosts the Las Vegas Raiders.
Jon Wilner from the San Jose Mercury News gives his two cents and it means San Diego State and Fresno State go to the Pac-12. This would be quite interesting from an athletic and brand standpoint as Boise State is a highly regarded brand and a good soccer team.
Wilner’s thought is to keep more teams in California.
Expect the Mountain West to be many backup plans for the Pac-12 — or the Big 12 if they’re looted.