- I'll have to suggest the Pac 10/ Idaho schools marriage is more fancy than reality. Even if they were good schools, there's not enough market pull to make this work. IMO, anyway. Which means more high profile candidates like your BYU, Utah, CSU and Hawaii would more likely be drafted than Boise St.
I was thinking Nevada schools or a Boise/UNLV combo going there. I was basically just trying to get that magic number of twelve, so I took Idaho out. We can always have another 14-to-15-team conference...
This was just an arbitrary setup, I had other scenarios in mind as well. The point is there are so many interconference connections, that it would be good from a traditional rivalriy standpoint to merge. Right now they seem to exist separately as two factions of the same conference.
And yes, UTEP should be in this group (being right on top of NMSU almost), but I thought it would be weird to snatch them right back from C-USA. They'll come back eventually I bet.
Why would having extra teams lose money? Don't forget that the WAC team can beef up the overall income of the conference, as well as giving it more appeal. Hawaii, Fresno, and Boise have done well recently. Plus they have bowl games to boot. Having all those traditional rivalries as conference
games helps out as well. It seems to me that they are yin and yang separated into two.
-- SEC and WAC/MWC comparison --
Let's put this in SEC terms. Let's say there were two conferences, Dixie (don't know if that's a real conference in lower divs), and SEC.
SEC (compare to MWC):
Dixie (compare to WAC):
OK, now this is basically what you have right now if you're the Mountain West or the WAC. Sure, there are better teams in the SEC (not the real one), than the Dixie conference, as well as some
good rivalries in the SEC. But, wouldn't it be better for the fans, the schools, the states, the TV companies, etc. if you only had one big conference to deal with in the region?
A few won't make the cut on the new consolidated conference, but there are still too many split rivalries just to ignore. I'm sure the teams in those conferences would like to save their OOC games for trying their team against a good team in another region, instead of using it against a cross-state rival.
I think part of the reason for the fledging western conferences is that they won't unify into one. This would really spark some interest into the overall regional fanbase. Can anyone argue that unification in the SEC region is a good thing? Obviously, part of the success of the SEC is the consolidated region it plays in. It can be similar for the western schools if they group up.
Look at the "markets" of the SEC. Big ones are B-han, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Nashville, and Memphis. There are plenty of comparable markets in the western region covered by the MWC/WAC. The people are (and by growth rates, will be) there, it's just a matter of getting their interest in a stable traditional product.
Before you go off on how much more interest there is in the South than the West in football, I must tell I live in the heart of it all. But I'll also tell you that there would be no support of the SEC if none of the teams ever did anything and the conferences were set up like swiss cheese in the South. If you think football is the only thing to do here, you need to visit sometime. The SEC support is big because there is something to root for in a unified setup, and provided a good impetus for growth. Not because, a bunch of local yokels were bored with their cotton planting and decided to check out the local school's football teams.
-- Growth potential --
We need to look at a conference more like a garden than a farmer's market. The plant growth largely depends on the layout of the fields, Obviously you're not going to be very successful if you have a hodge podge grouping of teams. Over the long haul, it's the teams' chemistry that will make the conference successful, not just a bunch of superstud teams that don't fit together.
Teams don't play solo exhibitions, they play against other teams. Having interesting matchups is a key to conference success. More people will rally up to watch and support conference matchups
than individual team's exhibitions
. Recruits, money, rankings, per-capita fan support, etc, etc are byproducts
of a conference's chemistry not vice versa.
You have to give it time to grow.
-- Recruiting --
Recruiting is a byproduct of the success and popularity of schools in the region, not necessarily the cause. Look at New York. It's comparable in state population to Florida and Texas (although not in climate). Is the college game as popular there? No. What if it was? I'd bet you could label it as a recruiting super hotbed then. Being a football prospect these days requires a dedication to the game for a good period of time. Obviously a region with alot of successful teams is going to find more youth motivated to develop into star football prospects, than, say, Alaska.
This is one reason why a disproportionate amount NFL and I-A players come from the south than other areas of the country. What I'm saying, is "If you build it" (the conference) ", they " (recuits) " will come "