Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Merging the Mountain West & Conference USA

We know the Mountain West and Conference USA are joining forces but, many questions remain. The new league offered hints on it's structure like a football playoff, expansion (18-24 members), and regular season scheduling divisions but, what will that look like?

For football the new league has 16 members and it will be expanding. According to various reports Temple has already been apart of discussions to bring the MWC and C-USA together. Lets assume that Temple and another east coast school, Florida International, clime on board boosting membership to 18 institutions. With 18 university's the new conference can split into three six team divisions:

Southern Miss

Colorado St.
Air Force

Fresno St.
New Mexico

Two conferences, the ACC and Big 12 are moving from eight to nine game league schedules, it would not surprise me if the MWC/C-USA merger follows suit. Under a nine game format each division member would play one another and two schools from both of the other tables. The out of division games would rotate on a two year basis, giving each team a couple of home and away contest.

The already announced football semi-final games would be made up of the three division winners and one wild card team. The wild card slot would be determined by conference record and various tiebreakers.

Basketball is easier to put together and won't require additional schools beyond FIU. Two football only members, Hawaii and Temple, will not play MWC/C-USA basketball, leaving the new league with 16 schools for hoops. The Big East gives us a model for a 16 team basketball conference. Each school would play ten conference opponents once and three other league members home and away. In terms of a conference tournament all teams would participate with four schools receiving a first round bye and another four earning a second round bye.

This is just one man’s opinion. It is very possible the new league adds one west & east coast team for football and splits into two divisions, playing eight conference games and only crossing over for the playoffs. Either way it will be exciting to see how this all shakes out in the coming months.

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