If the AQs are gone the MWC need to kill the merger with CUSA, look at the conference...
MWC- Hawaii, Fresno St, UNLV, Nevada, Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado St, & New Mexico
CUSA- UTEP, Tulsa, Rice, Tulane, So Miss, UAB, ECU, & Marshall
The only "good" fb teams left in CUSA are ECU, So Miss, and Marshall/Tulsa every couple of years.
And the only good media markets left are Houston (Rice), New Orleans (Tulane), and Tulsa.
The MWC should just get to work at dominating the west again, since Air Force is likely leaving for the Big East they need an 8th school so grab UTEP from CUSA (who is now an extreme outlier w/o SMU) and the rest of the western WAC, SJSU/Idaho/Utah St/NMSU...
And since their aren't many up and coming programs in the west the MWC would be the place to go. Montana/Montana St could upgrade together and they could just slide Utah St over to the west, and Cal Poly/UC Davis could also come in together later...
West- Hawaii, SJSU, Fresno St, UNLV, Nevada, & Idaho (possibly UC Davis/Cal Poly)(or SD St/Boise St if the BE falls apart)
East -Utah St, Wyoming, Colorado St, New Mexico, NMSU, & UTEP (possibly Montana/Montana St)(or BYU/Air Force)
I agree to a point.
1) I think the departure of Memphis, a strong hoops market, changes the benefits of an all sports merger. The quality of the markets and penetration in the markets is very limited now compared to what the original alliance was: no more Boise St., SDSU, Houston, SMU, UCF, Memphis. So the TV money isn't likely going to be there.
2) From a football standpoint, I think an alliance does help. Alone, the conferences are much weaker and have no room to negotiate with the power conferences. They are not a huge step up from the WAC even. But together, coast to coast, they are some recruiting advantages and the political benefits of representing so many states (federally funded schools). together, they will have a voice. Alone, they will not.
3) I think for all-sports, the dream should be over. For football, being 16 or 17 will help. For basketball, not so much. Nothing wrong with keeping it simple. MWC can bring in Hawaii for all-sports...force them in actually. And if Air Force leaves, bring in Utah St.
Football Alliance (16):
West- Hawaii, Fresno St, UNLV, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado St, New Mexico, Air Force/Utah St (if AF leaves)
East - Marshall, ECU, UAB, USM, Tulane, Tulsa, Rice, UTEP
2 separate non-football conferences:
MWC: Hawaii, Fresno St, UNLV, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado St, New Mexico, Air Force/Utah St (if AF leaves)
CUSA: Marshall, ECU, UAB, USM, Tulane, Tulsa, Rice, UTEP
No need for exapnsion, can keep it simple with a 14 game conference schedule with home and home.
As part of the football alliance, CUSA and MWC could pre-schedule for 4-5 years a rotation of OOC games between schools, not to mention an annual challenge. Can even do something special each year where they schedule 4 OOC games a year to rotate between Las Vegas and New Orleans each year.
Schools in each conference can book, say, 14 conference games and 6 alliance games per year for a locked in 20 game schedule, having to only worry about a handful of their own OOC games to schedule each year against regional or RPI booster foes.