Wow Muskie! I am impressed. That was a very good post on what might have come to be had 3 Cal schools not dropped fb. Let me ask this: Would the WAC still have invited Louisiana Tech, Texas St., and UTSA? This would have made a decent southeastern corner with NM St. Also what about the former core of the WAC with Nevada, San Jose St., Utah St., and Hawaii?
Hi NorwichCat! I'm glad you appreciated my post. I love going back and looking at hypothetical scenarios in realignment. I'm going to play you out how I think realignment might have played out had Cal St Fullerton, Long Beach St, and Pacific kept their FBS football programs. I'll point out this one caveat: the further back I go and the more I change the harder the future is to predict. I tried to factor in what else was occurring in the college football landscape. So here goes:
1992--Cal St Fullerton and Long Beach St keep their football programs, Fresno St still gets invited to the WAC and they leave, Nevada still still joins the Big West. Big West membership stands at: San Jose St, Pacific, Cal St-Fullerton, Long Beach St, Nevada, UNLV, Utah St, New Mexico St (UC-SB and UC Irvine non-football). An alliance between the Big West and NIU, Arkansas St, ULL, and La Tech never occurs. Those 4 programs remain independent but begin aspiring to create a football-sponsoring league.
1996--Pacific keeps its football program, San Jose St and UNLV both accept WAC invitations, the Big West replaces them with Boise St and Idaho and also stretches into Texas by adding North Texas-- a school being wooed by LA Tech, UL Lafayette, and Arkansas St who are still dreaming of Sunbelt conference football. They propose an affiliate relationship in football with the Big West but the Big West's membership is stable so they politely decline. Big West membership stands at: Pacific, Cal St-Fullerton, Long Beach St, Nevada, Utah St, New Mexico St, Idaho, Boise St, North Texas (UC-SB and UC Irvine non-football). in addition to taking to SJSU and UNLV the WAC also adds Tulsa, SMU, Rice, and TCU.
1999--8 WAC schools depart to form the Mountain West Conference. This leaves the WAC in a predicament--geographically there is a block of 5--UTEP, Tulsa, SMU, TCU, and Rice and then western outliers San Jose St, Fresno St, and Hawaii. The Big West sees an opportunity and asks San Jose St and Fresno St to rejoin and also extends an offer to Hawaii. Having a chance to return to a stable conference home with reasonable travel they become part of the Big West. Big West football has 12 members and two divisions-Hawaii, Pacific, San Jose St, Fresno St, Long Beach St, Cal St Fullerton are in the West, Idaho, Boise St, Nevada, Utah St, New Mexico St, and North Texas are in the East. Meanwhile, the WAC block of UTEP, Tulsa, SMU, TCU, and Rice are in search of conference mates. The logical group to approach are the football playing members of C-USA, which formed in 1996--Cincinnati, Louisville, Memphis, Tulane, Southern Miss, UAB,and Houston. Basketball powers Cincy, L'ville, and Memphis are reluctant to leave but are swayed to go. They agree to play under the name WAC. Arkansas St, UL Lafayette, and LA Tech finally get their wish of a football playing conference by building a league with UL Monroe, Middle Tennessee, Central Florida, South Florida, and ECU banding together orphan programs and FBS newcomers.