If the Mt West chose to expand past 12, which may not be likely due to the Go5 money issue, I would love to see Montana join. I wouldn't hate adding both Montana and Montana St but that's 2 schools from a large state that is a very small market. For Mt West expansion, I'd see UTEP as the 1st option with the 2nd option being open. Montana would be great. North Dakota St would be great as well, but I don't think they're interested. Perhaps Eastern Washington? Does anyone know if they're interested? What about another Texas school along with UTEP like Rice, UTSA, or North Texas? None add a whole lot athletically (neither does UTEP for that matter) but they add large markets (Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, respectively).
Unless something happens with Hawaii, Air Force, or Boise St (only real flight risks). They aren't expanding without BYU.
If they add BYU then UTEP is the obvious #14.
If they hold on until 2025, I assume the rules will change to allow full payouts to conferences of 14 or 16 teams and then we may see the MWC expand again and grab a pair of competitive Texas schools, they'd try for SMU/Houston but likely will end up with UTSA/UTEP (or UNT or Rice).
The only way Montana will be able to move up (IMO) is if they strike up a deal with Idaho/NMSU and the Sun Belt conference to take the and MSU for a few years while they reclassify.
Once Montana and Montana St are full FBS members they leave the SBC and the SBC adds another 2 (UC Davis and Cal Poly) then repeat (Eastern Washington and Sac State) until the WAC (or whatever they want to call the new conference) has enough full members to become its own conference.
But this is a long shot at best as it requires the Sun Belt to facilitate this as well in creating a competitor that will compete for the same bowl bids as TV deals, and for Idaho and NMSU to participate as fb independents (possibly with a scheduling alliance) for at least 6 years (at a minimum) and forgo its million dollar payout from the playoffs until the renoegotiation in 2025 where they can petition for inclusion.
Fan of the Big 12 Conference, the Mountain West Conference and...