If PART of the MWC combined with PART of the AAC, and Army with Navy got included in a new conference, then a very slight 'MAYBE' a new order (conference) could be established. But such would take major cooperation and determination, including overcoming resistance from those "left-out" and the resisting for those sought to be included, but have individual agendas.
Networks and bowls with suitcases of cash. That's what it will take. And the bowls shouldn't be discounted, because the new playoff structure makes all but three games completely irrelevant. The minor bowls are going to be clawing for content and, as BYU and Navy have, some of these games want specific programs if it comes down to it. And those programs aren't sharing...unless there's reason for them to.
I don't think there's much programs left behind can do. I mean, you can win and schedule up, which used to be the way one could prove themselves, and it's still meaningless now. Get on the wrong side of a program or two, and you're wandering aimlessly in the desert.
Why would Air Force downgrade to the AAC from the MWC. I mean, in the past that word "downgrade" might have been debatable as the Big East had a BCS bid. But now? Is Petersen leaving Boise St. really that much of an issue...to think that Air Force would be better in an east coast/southern conference that is losing Louisville and Rutgers to other conferences and replacing them with the likes of Tulane??
I don't think it was debatable when AQ was on the table, but now, yeah, it's a downgrade. It doesn't help when UConn and Cincy are trying to leave and aren't really refuting any of it. I have a feeling if someone big does leave, the TV contract is altered, and Navy is as good as gone (like an auto-eject clause similar to what Notre Dame had in the Big East).
It's weird, though, because I think the AAC has the better, bigger athletic programs, but collectively, its value is pretty much just a couple of schools. Lose them, and it's over. In the Mountain West, the programs are smaller, and it would still survive were a few of them to leave. Heck, it could lose a school or two, and I bet it could be picky about replacements (and it might even get those quirky Cougs from Provo back in).