Ah, the continuing saga that is college football realignment has reared its ugly head again with the Mountain West Conference - who seems to be right in the middle of most moves that have transpired - by adding two more schools in 2013. The Utah State Aggies and San Jose State Spartans will leave the sinking ship that is the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and join the Mountain West after this coming school year.
This may be the last addition to the Mountain West for awhile pending the future merger with Conference USA; plus, they'll be waiting to see if Boise State and San Diego State go through with their move to the Big East Conference. There has been some behind the scenes talk that either or both of them are hedging their bets as to whether they will join the Big East or not. Television money from a new contract will be a deciding factor.
The incredibly shrinking WAC
The WAC is quickly shrinking what with Boise State having left a year ago and Hawaii, Fresno State and Nevada having moved over to the Mountain West this year. It's also reported that Conference USA will be adding Louisiana Tech and UT San Antonio from the WAC in 2013. And you might be saying UT San Antonio? Who the heck are they? Well, the Roadrunners had their first year of football last season and were just admitted into the WAC a year ago for this coming season (source - Statesman).
So some of the old WAC and some of the new WAC will make up the Mountain West and the University of Hawaii Warriors will be right in the middle of it - even if they are 2,500 miles from the mainland. And the move the Warriors made at the end of 2010 looks brilliant at this point.
You might also be wondering what will happen to the WAC. I'll give you one guess - it will be history. With four teams having left in the last two years and four more leaving after next season, there's just not much left - in fact, when you calculate in North Texas leaving (also, just admitted like UT San Antonio to Conference USA), the WAC will have only two football members to compete in 2013. I believe when all the dust settles that New Mexico State and Idaho will be the leftovers.
Half of it makes sense
In the meantime, it looks like Utah State and San Jose State will escape the WAC and join the Mountain West which seems on steady ground - at least for now. Personally, I can understand Utah State because they geographically match up well with the Mountain West and have a football program that should be able to hold their own. But I'm not certain where the advantage is in adding San Jose State.
The Spartans haven't had a decent football program in quite some time and while Hawaii has much more travel issues, San Jose State isn't exactly in the backyard of the Mountain West. Being from the area, I know San Jose State has archaic facilities and because their aligned with the California state school system means dollars are not readily available. So how does the Spartan athletic department make this work? Surely the Mountain West must have had demands for improvements by San Jose State to their facilities.
Regardless, it seems to be set that the Aggies and Spartans will be moving into the Mountain West in 2013 to join Hawaii and the rest of the moving renegades that make up the conference. It might be another week or so before it's official, but for all intents and purposes, the Mountain West will be a minimum ten-team conference in 2013.
Sources - CBS Sports, Mountain West Conference
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of Hawaii since visiting there 40 years ago and dozens of times since. Go 'Bows!