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August 28, 2014

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Five observations now that the MWC/WAC dust has (sort of) settled

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OK, so have you caught your wind yet from the Mountain West/WAC tornado that hit and shook up everyone's Wednesday afternoon and evening?

I sort of have.

Now that 24 hours have passed, here are five observations that I have leftover from the whole deal.

Feel free to share yours in the comments section below. Lets get some discussion going, eh?

(Oh, and sorry for not touching base here in The Greene Room for, oh, a few months. My bad. Hope to change that here in the upcoming season.)

1) Poor, poor Karl Benson

During what was a four-hour — yeah, four hours — teleconference on Thursday morning, WAC commissioner Karl Benson made a couple of comments that made him sound like a bitter ex. Lets just call it like it is.

Look, the guy has every right to be upset. His league is now down to six future members and very likely facing extinction.

He said that Nevada-Reno and Fresno State performed "selfish acts" and caused the conference's stability to disintegrate.

Come on. Really? He was fine with poaching BYU just two days ago, then trying to lure Boise State back and essentially destroy the Mountain West. But when it happens to him, it's considered selfish.

In the end, Benson came across a bit like Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert did back in July. Not that bad, but in the same ballpark, right?

Moral of the story: Get over it, man. Trying to hold UNR and Fresno State hostage in the WAC through 2011 won't change the past. Just sayin'.

2) The ball is in your court, BYU

First off, either way, the Mountain West will be fine here, no matter what BYU decides.

If BYU stays put, the MWC obviously chases a 12th team very soon and, you would have to imagine, gets itself in prime position for BCS automatic qualifier status.

If BYU leaves, the MWC stays put at 10 teams for at least a little while, and has probably a stronger football profile than it did before any of this happened. A top-half of the league featuring Boise State, TCU, Fresno State, UNR and Air Force probably doesn't get commissioner Craig Thomspon the BCS AQ status he craves so badly, but it sets the table for that to happen potentially in the future with a couple more aggressive moves. It keeps the league beyond respectable for the time being.

3) Basketball, again, is forgotten

There was a group of national media back in June, when the conference expansion talks around the country were at their most heated point, pointing out that football was driving the bus, while basketball was simply along for the ride.

It's understandable, as the football TV revenue stream is endless if you're in the right situation, while college basketball revenues are, for the most part, maxed out at this point.

It's sort of sad that this had to happen just as the Mountain West was coming into its own as a real player on the national basketball scene. In hoops, the league would greatly benefit from BYU staying put. Then, the MWC keeps its core top-four programs together and adds a very strong mid-major program in UNR.

4) If BYU stays, grab Houston — Quickly

Does this really need much explanation? Great football program, a second school in Texas and the nation's No. 10 TV market.

Gotta be proactive here if BYU decides to come back home.

5) Say what you will about Craig Thompson, but he saved face

The one thing that bothered me during Thompson's Wednesday evening teleconference was that, multiple times, he refused to admit that the moves to add Fresno State and UNR were made in response to the BYU situation.

I, for one, don't believe that this was just some consequence.

But, still, the man won the biggest tug-of-war in Mountain West history, pulled the league back from the edge of the cliff and onto solid ground for the long haul.

That gets a fist bump from me.

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