By Brian Murphy
Highlights from Thompson's press conference
• Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said the league's athletic directors will meet, possibly as soon as Monday, to discuss divisional alignment.
• San Diego State's television rights in all sports will be part of the Mountain West package unlike Boise State's home football rights which will be sold separately by the league and Boise State.
The Mountain West will be able to renegotiate its contract with CBS now that San Diego State has been added. "We gave CBS 10 San Diego State football games and 16-18 Top 25 basketball games. There's good solid value in that," he said.
• San Diego State will receive its full share of conference revenue distribution this year. The Aztecs will not receive any additional money from the conference to help pay its exit fee to the Big West. San Diego State will not owe an exit fee to the Big East.
• Thompson said the conference will have 12 football-playing members for the 2013 season. He said the league is not interested in adding an additional basketball school. The Mountain West has 11 basketball-playing schools. Thompson said the "general consensus" is that 20 conference games in basketball are too many.
• Thompson said the intention is to play a football championship game at the site of the higher-ranked team, but it has not been decided as of yet. CBS would own the TV rights to that game, but the league would be able to negotiate a rights fee.
• Thompson said football teams will play four home conference games and four road conference games in 2013.
• Thompson said he was "elated" at the state of his league. "There was a time period of a little bit more vulnerability than we would have liked," Thompson admitted. "I'm elated on Jan. 16 with where we are today, with a 12-team league. We got the band back together."
• Thompson said San Diego State received "well beyond" the three-quarters vote necessary to be reinstated into the Mountain West. All 11 members got to vote on the Aztecs.
• CBS paid the Mountain West $8 million this year for all of its television rights. Thompson said there is "renewed interest" in the Mountain West's secondary television packages. He said the Mountain West was concentrating on four main entities — ABC/ESPN, CBS, NBC and Fox — for its national package.
• Thompson said it may be late April before the complete football schedule is released.
San Diego State to remain in Mountain Wsst
San Diego State and the Mountain West made it official Wednesday: The Aztecs are returning to the league.
San Diego State joins Boise State in returning to the league after announcing their intention to join the Big East (in football) and the Big West (in most other sports) in July.
"San Diego State University is pleased to be continuing as a full member of the Mountain West Conference," SDSU President Dr. Elliot Hirshman said in a statement released by the league. "We are excited about the opportunities our partnership provides for the development of the Conference and San Diego State University's athletic programs."
"As a charter member of the Mountain West, San Diego State has decades of history and tremendous competitive rivalries with our member institutions," Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said. "With today's announcement, SDSU's membership continues uninterrupted and helps the Mountain West maintain a solid foundation going forward. The Aztecs remain a perfect fit geographically and provide the Conference with a highly-competitive athletics program that includes a Top 25 men's basketball team, a 2012 MW tri-champion in football and several other league championship programs."
Said Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco: "On behalf of the Big East Conference Presidents and Directors of Athletics, I want to wish San Diego State the best," We have enjoyed working with President Elliot Hirshman and Director of Athletics Jim Sterk and our membership has the highest regard for them and for their institution."
With the Aztecs returning, the Mountain West will have 12 teams for the 2013 football season. Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson told the Idaho Statesman that the league would divide into two divisions and hold a championship game if that is the case.
The league will play eight conference games (five in division, three vs. teams in the other division) and four non-conference games. Teams that play at Hawaii would be allowed to schedule a 13th regular-season game.
The league could opt for an East-West (Mountain/Pacific) alignment.
East (Mountain): Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State, Wyoming
West (Pacific): Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, San Jose State, San Diego State, UNLV.
That divisional alignment is not that attractive for Boise State, which would much prefer to play the teams in the West (Pacific).
A North-South split would be much more difficult and would likely mean dividing natural rivals like Nevada-UNLV or Fresno State-San Jose State.
Among the other questions the Mountain West would need to address is how many basketball games teams would play in conference. With 11 teams (remember Hawaii is a football-only member), a 20-game round-robin basketball schedule may be too many games.
Chip Kelly to the Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles have hired Chip Kelly after he originally chose to stay at Oregon.
The 49-year-old Kelly becomes the 21st coach in team history and replaces Andy Reid, who was fired on Dec. 31 after a 4-12 season.
Kelly, who was 46-7 in four years at Oregon, interviewed with the Eagles, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills after leading the fast-flying Ducks to a victory over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. But he opted to remain at Oregon before changing his mind.
The Eagles are known to have interviewed 11 candidates, including two meetings with Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Philadelphia has won just 12 games the last two seasons, after winning the NFC East in 2010.
"Chip Kelly will be an outstanding head coach for the Eagles," owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. "He has a brilliant football mind. He motivates his team with his actions as well as his words. He will be a great leader for us and will bring a fresh energetic approach to our team."
— The Associated Press