Jun 152010
Authors: Matt L. Stephens

The biggest conference shake up since the creation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996, when the Big 8 expanded, gaining Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor, has been rocking the college football headlines for the past two weeks, and the train doesn’t look to be stopping anytime soon.

With CU-Boulder making the first official move on June 10, electing to leave the Big 12 for the Pacific 10 Conference, Nebraska and Boise State have since followed the example set by the Buffaloes, joining the Big Ten and Mountain West Conference, respectively.

With money being the largest factor driving conference expansion, one of the issues still on the table is the BCS, which gives automatic bids to the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Big East, Pac-10 and Southeastern Conference winners every season.

The MWC is one of five NCAA FBS conferences that does not receive an automatic bid to the BCS, but will be entering the third season of a four-year trial period with the BCS in 2010.

With TCU and Utah reaching BCS games the past two seasons, a shrinking MWC could ultimately affect the trial period, according to CSU Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk.

“I think it could affect it, especially with the equity in it with the two years so far out of the four,” Kowalczyk said Tuesday. “It could be a negative depending on who left –– if anyone is to leave at all.”

Though no teams have left, UteZone.com, a member of the Rivals.com network, reported Tuesday that Utah has given notice to the MWC that they plan to join the Pac-10 and an official announcement could come as early as today.

When the Collegian contacted the MWC, Associate Commissioner Javan Hedlund said he had no knowledge of Utah leaving for the Pac-10.

“So far, we don’t know of any institutions leaving the Mountain West Conference, and until the University of Utah or another member of the Mountain West contact (Commissioner Craig Thompson), we cannot report on speculation,” Hedlund said.

With the MWC now sitting at 10 member institutions, Hedlund said the conference’s decision to expand further is in the hands of its Board of Directors, which is made up of the universities’ presidents.

With all conference moves that have been made and potential switches upcoming, none will take effect for the upcoming 2010 football season.

Boise State and Nebraska won’t start playing in their new conferences until 2011 and Colorado won’t play a Pac-10 schedule until 2012.

Sports Editor Matt L. Stephens can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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