It seems that all roads lead to Rome, if Rome is in the Mountain West Conference (MWC).
As Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley (Cal) abandoned the Pac-12 on Sept. 1, it leaves Washington State University (WSU) and Oregon State University (OSU) left with the aching questions of what to do and where to go.
After a month of drama in the Pac-12, it looks like WSU and OSU are all but destined for the MWC.
Cal and Stanford maintain their status as Power Five schools, but Washington State and Oregon State remain in no man’s land, leaving everyone wondering what they’ll do.
On one hand, the two universities could stay in the Pac-12 and attempt a rigorous rebuild, which the Washington State president, Kirk H. Schulz, has expressed interest in doing.
This was the case before Stanford and Cal made the move to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) today.
Leading up to this point, Washington State and Oregon State were prospective schools for both the MWC and American Athletic Conference (AAC), until AAC commissioner, Mike Aresco, released a public statement on the AAC website on Sept. 1.
“We have known that today’s move was a possibility, which has allowed us time to investigate a number of options, including consideration of the larger group of institutions in the Pacific time zone. We have concluded, however, that the best way to proceed for our outstanding student-athletes is to not look westward,” Aresco said. “Instead, we plan to focus any expansion efforts on schools that allow for sensible and sustainable competition and student-athlete well-being within our strong geographic footprint. We look forward to continued success as a leading FBS conference.”
With this decision finalized, OSU and WSU have two options: stay in the PAC… 2, or move to the MWC.
The wheels are already in motion for a jump to the Mountain West.
Last week Mountain West commissioner Gloria Nevarez, and University of New Mexico President Garnett Stokes, chair of the Mountain West board of directors, met in person with Washington State athletics to explore the reasons why the MWC is a natural fit.
No matter how you look at it, this impacts Boise State.
If college football playoffs interest Boise State athletics, this is just about the best case scenario.
Boise State has always had aspirations to play with the big dogs in the Pac-12, but it seems to always be out of the university’s grasp for one reason or another.
“Academics will be a negative with Boise State with Pac-12 and their standards,” sportscaster Dan Patrick said on The Dan Patrick Show. “And they don’t have great sports teams in other sports, they had the novelty fun part of Boise State, the blue field, but my source said ‘they are also looking at do you have a good basketball team… Do you have other sports that you can contribute to the Pac-12.’”
Which leads many to wonder, what can the Pac-12 contribute to Boise State? How about its last two schools?
In a way, the recent events that have unfolded may increase the chances of the BSU making a playoff run.
Having the opportunity to play and beat two former Power Five Schools in Washington State and No. 16 Oregon State would look great on Boise State’s resume
Adding two former power five schools to the Mountain West would increase competition in the conference, and could justify a more direct path for a MWC champion to what will be a 12 team playoff in 2024.
This begs the question, would a Mountain West Conference that includes Washington State and Oregon State be considered Power Five, a group of five or somewhere in the middle?