I really think everyone is over thinking UTEP to the MWC. I think the MWC and CUSA plans are fairly simple. Maybe this post will clarify my comments on the 28th.
1. The MWC and CUSA are still working together on the merger. The merger is still on.
2. Both leagues are working together on expansion.
3. The leagues still have hope that Boise and SDSU will change their mind about going to the Big East.
4. The new merged league will not officially happen until all exit fees have been collected from the departing schools.
5. If either Boise or SDSU join the Big East, then UTEP will join the MWC division of the new league. If both join a 12th team will
need to be found for the MWC division which I predict to be UTSA. That gives both sides access to Texas.
UTEP and UTSA to the MWC side and Rice and North Texas to the CUSA side.
6. CUSA’s division then replaces UTEP and/or UTSA with Charlotte and some one else from the east. My guess is Georgia State.
I see Middle Tennessee and Arkansas State are other possibilities.
7. Divisions are based on time zones. Yes, I realize some of the time zones may overlap but you get the basic idea that the
conference wants to sell to the networks.
Plan with Boise and SDSU
CUSA East- UA-Birmingham, East Carolina, FIU, Marshall, Southern Miss, Tulane
CUSA Central- Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, UTEP, UTSA, Tulsa
MWC Pacific- Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, UNLV, San Jose State (San Diego State?)
MWC Mtn- Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State, Wyoming (BoiseState?)
Plan without Boise and SDSU
CUSA East- UA-Birmingham, East Carolina, FIU, Marshall, (Charlotte, Georgia State)
CUSA Central- Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Tulsa (Southern Miss, Tulane)
MWC Pacific- Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, UNLV, San Jose State (Utah State)
MWC Mtn- Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, Wyoming (UTEP, UTSA)
8. If for some reason the merge does not take place then UTEP and UTSA stay in CUSA since they are current members of that
conference. UTEP and/or UTSA never joins the MWC, they simply are placed in the new league’s division with current MWC
The reason I believe there will be 24 members in the new merged league and not 11/11 is because I believe when the original news of the merger occurred I remember them mentioning having a conference with their own semifinals. Also, unless it gets changed, the NCAA requires 12 teams for a conference championship game. Worse case scenario for the potential new league is the NCAA doesn’t allow for their conference semifinal concept, in which case, the MWC and CUSA can have their championship games and as long as 1 of their champions is not ranked in the top 4, those 2 can meet in a bowl game. Possible bowl host may include the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, the New Orleans Bowl, and the Las Vegas Bowl.
Another thing that I noticed about the new league besides the markets that they are going to but look at the bowls. Not that they are great bowls and not that the new league will get invited to those bowls, but if local politics get involved, the new league could get some decent exposure. Besides the 3 above, look at the current bowl games played in cities where the proposed new league actually has schools, BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Sun Bowl in El Paso, the Hawaii Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl, not to mention the Poinsetta Bowl in San Diego, the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. It would be great for the merged league if they could get 7 to 9 invites a year.