I am seeing signs that the Montana head politics are backing down on trying to get Montana State to go with Montana. I think they want Montana to go to the MWC where that conference can get an auto bid for a BCS bowl game. The MWC would not want Montana State, but they may take Montana who is a powerhouse team.
Utah declines the invite which would make 9.
Now, if the Texas schools formed a new SWC with TCU as their flag ship? You might see a strong SWC in a few years get evaulated for an auto as well.
Now, you might see just these teams.
San Diego State
New Mexico could go with TCU to formed the new SWC with other Texas schools.
Now the teams that could replaced the schools and add more teams to get the conference up to 12. La. Tech could also joined the new SWC from the WAC.
Cal.-Irvine if they add football as well which would bring the Los Angelas market.
San Jose State (I added them because their football team in some years very good, but in others as bad.)
If Utah goes? What would stopped TCU from leaving to formed the new SWC with some C-USA schools, New Mexico and a couple of WAC schools?
David, discussing Utah REJECTING a Pac-10 offer is like saying that UTEP in CUSA would pass on a Big 12 invite. Why would a school that wants to be in the Pac-10, has made it clear they want in the Pac-10, would love to be in a conference with the CA schools and Colorado, now back out to make less money in the MWC? They wouldn't. The Pac-10 is a BCS conference and will always be. The MWC MIGHT be at some point, perhaps soon. But NO school is going to turn down that BCS lock as well as a potential $15 million boost (MWC schools make $1.5 million, Pac-12 expected to near $17 million within 4 years).
And while losing Utah might hurt the MWC, they are still in a better situation with Boise St. joining, a huge boost.
So the idea of current MWC schools like New Mexico leaving for a weaker conference (your blend of CUSA schools) is off base.
And the MWC would have no reason to add FCS schools like Cal Poly and UC Davis...which was D2 not long ago.
There's a great thread called the "Dream Conferences for Fun" thread. Your idea is a very interesting one that is certainly a great addition to that thread. But for realistic MWC scenarios, it's a bit of a stetch. You should report it over on the DCforFun thread as I'm sure it would gain some interest.