Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson got everyone excited Thursday when he told "Idaho Sports Talk with Caves and Prater" that the league is discussing expansion.
Here's the more complete story: Some presidents and/or athletic directors in the league have mentioned expansion in informal conversations with other presidents/athletic directors. It has not gone any further than that. Expansion is not on the agenda, in any official way, of the Mountain West Conference.
So, yes, it's true that for the first time since adding TCU, some people in the Mountain West are talking about expansion. But don't read too much into it — at least at this point. I would not get too excited about the possibility of Boise State making the jump from the WAC to the Mountain West anytime soon.
Over-expansion in the WAC is what led to the formation of the Mountain West. I don't expect the league to rush into a possible repeat of that mistake.
Do I think adding Boise State makes sense for the Mountain West?
Yes, especially if the Broncos post another top 10 or top 12 finish in the Bowl Championship Standings. It is my understanding that conferences get credit for the teams currently in their leagues when it comes time to crunch numbers for automatic invites into the BCS. The MWC can basically get credit for Boise State's WAC past if the league invites the Broncos.
Are there complications to inviting Boise State?
Yes, especially with the football schedule — the league would have to adopt a Pac-10 like scheduling format with an unbalanced home/road split in order to play nine league games. It's doable. And the league would have to go to 18 basketball games to get home-and-away series in with every team. Another obstacle that is manageable.
Then there is some concern about the Broncos' other programs. Yes, Boise State would compete in football and women's basketball. But how would the men's basketball program stack up and the Olympic sports? And the MWC is a pretty good baseball league. Would BSU have to add baseball as part of the move?
Then there is the biggest elephant in the room. Would Boise State be willing to give up its exposure on ESPN to move to the Mountain West, which has its own television network. TCU's victory against BYU on Thursday night was on Versus. Yes, that's a channel.
Boise State, however, plays Hawaii on ESPN tonight. Quite a difference in reach and attention. Here's what I think is going to happen at Bronco Stadium.