I see a benefit in bringing Houston and SMU in with Boise St. and expected SDSU to go to 14. Because Houston and SMU will likely help the TV contract based on those markets. Yes, they prefer to be east versus west...but money is money.
What I'm not sold on is Tulsa and UTEP. I just don't see that pair doing much to help what is already a 12 school conference (when SDSU returns).
I'm trying to think about the economics of say Houston, SMU, UTEP and Tulsa for a 16 school conference. I'm still not sold but I do see a potential benefit in having 3 Texas schools together to get a strong chunk of the markets with Tulsa as the 4th market. But still...16 schools...I don't think that will generate the "more" money that it would take to get SMU and Houston to leave for the MWC in the first place.
While on a dollars and cents level it might not make sense to go to 16 and include Tulsa and UTEP but for the MWC officials involved in the decision making this option is probably on the table if having geographically friendly rivals and travel schedules for SMU and Houston is what it takes to land the two programs and strike another blow to the Big East. In the end it becomes a financial win because it weakens a rival conference and boosts the MWC's claim to being the #6 conference.
On another note I think that instead of potentially leaving San Diego St in the Big West for Olympic sports as a punishment for flirting with the Big East the MWC should let them back in as full members and either A) giving Hawaii full membership again or perhaps an even better move B ) invite Gonzaga to be an all-sports member. Gonzaga would be a great contributor in basketball, they could be paired for travel with Boise St, and it would be a huge loss for a rival conference the WCC, which happens to be BYU's conference of convenience.
Its also very conceivable for the MWC to operate as a 15 member all sports conference with 16 for football by arranging teams in 3 pods for scheduling:
Pod A--San Diego St, Fresno St, San Jose St, Nevada, UNLV
Pod B--Boise St, Utah St, Wyoming, Colorado St, Air Force
Pod C--New Mexico, UTEP, Tulsa, SMU, Houston
In a sport like basketball with an 18-game conference schedule you'd play each of your pod mates twice and everyone else once. The MWC could even award trophies to the winners of each pod to give athletes and coaches an additional goal to strive for.