The biggest constraint is the 6/5 rule for automatic bids to the NCAA basketball tournament-the Big 12 could split in half and still be in compliance; the WAC cannot.
For the sake of discussion, say the Big 10 finally adds a 12th school, and taps Rutgers. The Big East replaces them with Central Florida. Conference USA replaces Central Florida with Louisiana Tech (WAC down to 8 members).
The PAC 10 also decides to go to 12 members, and taps Utah (Mountain West) and Colorado (Big 12). The Big 12 replaces Colorado with Colorado State (Mountain West).
At this point the Mountain West is down to 7 members and jeopardizing their status as a Bowl Subdivision conference; the WAC is only doing slightly better at 8 members. If the WAC takes two Mountain West members, or the Mountain West takes two members, it's lights out for one of the two in both football and basketball. For the sake of discussion, let's say the Mountain West invites San Jose State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Boise State, and Nevada. The WAC dissolves with New Mexico State, Utah State, and Idaho joining the Big Sky in all sports except football and playing football as Bowl Subdivision Independents.
Big Sky (*football independent)
Eastern Washington, Portland State, Sacramento State, Northern Arizona, Utah State*, Weber State
Idaho*, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, Northern Colorado, New Mexico State*
UTEP, Tulsa, Louisiana Tech, Rice, Houston, SMU
Tulane, Southern Mississippi, UAB, Central Florida, Marshall, East Carolina
Hawaii, San Diego State, San Jose State, Fresno State, Nevada, Boise State
UNLV, BYU, New Mexico, Air Force, Wyoming, Texas Christian
Unless if the Big 12 or Conference USA splits in two, we're more likely to lose a conference than add one. Texas State will need to complete at least two years of its transition to the Bowl Subdivision as an independent (see Western Kentucky) before joining a conference.
For example, C-USA West (new Southwest Conference) and C-USA East part ways, and the Southwest Conference adds Louisiana Tech (WAC) and Texas State (upgrade), which allows everyone to stay afloat (WAC at 8, SWC at 8). The only real wildcard would be if the Conference USA remnant raids the Sun Belt or MAC.
Southwest (8) - Tulane, Tulsa, SMU, Rice, Houston, UTEP, LTU, Texas State
Conference USA (8) - UAB, USM, Memphis, UCF, East Carolina, Marshall, ???, ???
WAC (8) - Hawaii, SJSU, Fresno State, Nevada, Boise State, Idaho, NMSU, Utah State
Last edited by wbyeager on Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.