What the Mountain West does next- superconference, maybe?
The Mountain West got to hang on to Boise St. and San Diego St. in the past few weeks. They'll get to stay at 12 teams and have a conference championship. But they may be able to do more.
We know that three states stand out from all the rest as the best for recruiting- California, Texas, and Florida. Everyone wants to fly their flag in two of those three states. The Pac-12 tried, but it didn't quite work out. The SEC tried and did it- and Johnny Heisman worked out quite well, I might say. The Big 12 flirted with getting into Florida, but that wasn't too serious- at least not yet. Conference-USA is constantly in and out of there, and the Sun Belt does the same thing, as long as they're able to hang on to teams. And now the Big East is poised to be in Florida (two schools) and in Texas (another two schools). Plus they were trying to get into California, marking the first attempt at a trifecta. But now they're trying to get by with two out of three. Provided that Houston and SMU don't have other ideas.
So what if the Mountain West gets those two schools to decommit from the Big East and use it as a stepping-stone to the Mountain West? That would give them three teams in California (with the addition of SJSU) and two in Texas. While Texas is a tiny bit outside the conference footprint, Texas to California is the only conference footprint that makes any sense for a western conference. So say I, at least.
There could be further expansion from there- BYU is a serious possibility for coming back, and they need someone to dance with. That could be Tulsa if (and probably when) they accept a BE invite. And then maybe back out to be BYU's dance partner instead. And that might not be very far down the road.
Who knows- maybe 16 teams could work this time around. The geography makes a little more sense this time, stopping at Texas and staying out of Louisiana. There's a new way of sharing dollars that depends on how many times you're on TV nationally. Plus Hawaii is football-only, so that put the burden of travel on a different conference for Olympic sports- this is mostly out of mind, but it ain't nothing. The whole attitude toward larger conferences has changed nationwide, and everyone's thinking about increasing the number of conference games while decreasing OOC participation. Plus, with four division championships at stake, it substantially increases the percentage of teams in a conference that are participating in meaningful games all throughout a season- and it also means there's that many more reasons to televise regular season games.
And if they try it and it doesn't work out- assuming any of this speculation is accurate whatsoever- maybe eight or ten teams from a 16-team MWC will pack up, start a new conference, leave the weak programs behind, and do the same exact thing that was done in forming the conference in the first place. It took less than 15 years for the MWC to start looking more like the pre-exit WAC than the post-exit MWC. Give it another 5 and maybe they'll try to tweak the original plan with more success.
Please tell me what parts of this rampant speculation are crazy and which are realistic. Will/should/can the MWC expand beyond 12 teams? And if they do- are they more likely to make a 16-team superconference work, or make history repeat itself all over again like when eight teams left the WAC to form the MWC in the first place?