By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
The Boise State football team will play in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West beginning this year — a division that doesn’t include any of the league’s teams in the Pacific Time Zone.
Boise State will be joined by Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming in the Mountain Division.
The West Division includes Nevada, Fresno State, UNLV, Hawaii, San Diego State and San Jose State.
The inaugural Mountain West championship game will be played Saturday, Dec. 7, at the home of the qualifier ranked highest in the BCS standings (further tiebreakers, if necessary, are TBD).
Boise State Athletic Director Mark Coyle said he spoke to President Bob Kustra and football coach Chris Petersen before the meetings and they were supportive of the Mountain/West split despite losing annual rivalry games with Nevada and Fresno State.
“We’re still going to have an opportunity to play those teams,” said Coyle, who attended the Mountain West athletic director meetings Monday and Tuesday.
The Mountain/West split was the only idea presented to the athletic directors, he said.
“People liked the geography of it,” he said. “For fans, it gives them an opportunity to get to away games. That’s a priority for us and something I looked at. We’ll still have that opportunity to get into California, which is obviously a heavy recruiting area for us.”
Football teams will play each of the five teams in their division and three teams from the other division each season. The rotations will be determined through computer scheduling models, the league said.
The athletic directors wanted to play every team in the conference in a two-year span, but scheduling issues likely will force the league to go with a two years on, two years off format, a league official said. That means, for example, Boise State could play Nevada, San Diego State and UNLV in 2013-14 and Fresno State, San Jose State and Hawaii in 2015-16 (to be clear, that’s strictly an example and not an indication of which teams will land in each group).
The addition of a championship game was important to Boise State, which had the league’s intent to stage one included in its agreement to stay in the Mountain West.
“If you’re the highest-rated divisional champion, you’re going to host that game,” Coyle said. “Hosting that game on your campus, that’s going to be a huge advantage and hopefully that propels you to an access bowl (in the new postseason format).”
Basketball will not have divisions (there are 11 members). The men’s and women’s basketball teams will play 18-game conference schedules — two games against eight teams and one against two, determined by computer scheduling models.
The athletic directors didn’t want to go to 20 games and a full round robin.
“We all agreed our RPI is so high as a conference because we’ve gone out and played people,” Coyle said.
The MW hasn’t decided on a field for the basketball tournaments. Coyle prefers to allow all members to participate.
Here’s how Boise State has fared against the teams in each of the Mountain West’s divisions:
Air Force: 1-0
Colorado State: 2-0
New Mexico: 4-0
Utah State: 13-4 (last loss, 1997)
Total: 27-4 (87.1 percent)
Fresno State: 11-4 (last loss, 2005)
Hawaii: 10-3 (2007)
Nevada: 26-13 (2010)
San Diego State: 1-1 (2012)
San Jose State: 11-0
UNLV: 5-3 (1976)
Total: 64-24 (72.7 percent)