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Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
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solohawks Offline
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Post: #1
Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression the MWC was formed with the Airport 5 taking the best 2 markets, San Diego and Las Vegas and then New Mexico to be there #8.

If the MWC's #8 had been Fresno instead of New Mexico I think the breakup wouldn't have been nearly as brutal.

A post breakup WAC with New Mexico instead of Fresno St gives the SW contingent 6 of the 8 schools and a 75% super majority. These 6 could have ignored Hawaii and SJSU and invited Indy's LA Tech and Louisiana-Lafeyette along with Big West members Ark State and North Texas.

Seeing the writing on the wall, SJSU and Hawaii's best option would have been to go all in with the Big West and reuniting in all sports with Boise, Idaho, Utah St, NMSU, Nevada, and the non football California schools.

That would have left the WAC as a Southwestern focused conference with 10 all sports members with a resonable footprint from New Mexico to Louisiana.

The Big West would have been at 7 all sports football members and 13 overall with the California schools. They would have needed 1 more all sports member that played 1A football. I think they could have found that.
06-02-2021 05:10 PM
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Wedge Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
Don't know that your hypothetical southwestern WAC would have added so many new members at once. Other than La Tech, the other area schools were not good at all in football at the time of the MWC split-off. They might have added La Tech and only one other school.

The Hawaii/SJSU to the Big West idea means Big West football would have survived longer than it did. But probably not much longer. In this alternate universe, in 2001 or so there are 8 members in the MWC, 8 in the WAC, and 6 Big West members playing football along with 2 fb-only teams.

At some point, if the football history was similar to the real world, Boise State would be winning enough football games that either they would approach the MWC, or the MWC would approach them. And maybe TCU moves to CUSA in 2001 as they did in the real world and the MWC after that. The end result would be something like what you initially suggested, the WAC minus TCU would just need numbers regardless of football success and would look at North Texas, Arkansas State, La-Lafayette, La-Monroe, and add some of those schools.

Even then, unless your alternate universe has changed everything else, CUSA still wants more members after they lose a few to the Big East effective in fall 2005… which means the WAC loses a few more and has to go looking again.

End result might not be much different than the real world. Maybe the Sun Belt never has football, maybe New Mexico is in CUSA today rather than MWC. Who knows.
(This post was last modified: 06-02-2021 11:24 PM by Wedge.)
06-02-2021 11:22 PM
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solohawks Offline
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RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
(06-02-2021 11:22 PM)Wedge Wrote:  Don't know that your hypothetical southwestern WAC would have added so many new members at once. Other than La Tech, the other area schools were not good at all in football at the time of the MWC split-off. They might have added La Tech and only one other school.

The Hawaii/SJSU to the Big West idea means Big West football would have survived longer than it did. But probably not much longer. In this alternate universe, in 2001 or so there are 8 members in the MWC, 8 in the WAC, and 6 Big West members playing football along with 2 fb-only teams.

At some point, if the football history was similar to the real world, Boise State would be winning enough football games that either they would approach the MWC, or the MWC would approach them. And maybe TCU moves to CUSA in 2001 as they did in the real world and the MWC after that. The end result would be something like what you initially suggested, the WAC minus TCU would just need numbers regardless of football success and would look at North Texas, Arkansas State, La-Lafayette, La-Monroe, and add some of those schools.

Even then, unless your alternate universe has changed everything else, CUSA still wants more members after they lose a few to the Big East effective in fall 2005… which means the WAC loses a few more and has to go looking again.

End result might not be much different than the real world. Maybe the Sun Belt never has football, maybe New Mexico is in CUSA today rather than MWC. Who knows.

Who this hypothetical WAC would add post split would be interesting. They could go 8 or 10. Either way SJSU and Hawaii likely end up in the Big West and stabilize Big West Football.

If the WAC is stable with a Southwestern footprint, does TCU still try and leave? When the Big East raids CUSA, does Houston try to jump ship too?

Post Big East Raid you could be looking at a 12 team WAC
New Mexico, UTEP, SMU, TCU, NTSU, Tulsa
Tulane, La Tech, Louisiana Lafayette, Ark State, Houston, Rice
06-02-2021 11:39 PM
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Wedge Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
TCU left the WAC for CUSA to put football in a conference perceived to be better in football, and then left CUSA for the MWC for the same reason. They would do the same in this alternate universe.

And, WAC teams in Texas left for CUSA in 2005 and would do the same in the alternate universe, again because CUSA was perceived to have more status. The slightly different WAC membership wouldn’t change that. Status and being with schools they preferred to be with was, IMO, more important to them than the geography.
06-03-2021 12:49 AM
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Fighting Muskie Online
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RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
I still think this WAC in the SWC footprint would suffer a C-USA problem in 2001 (TCU) and 2005 (others).

I’m also a little unsure how former SWC members Rice, SMU, and TCU would feel about sharing a conference, even if it’s just from 1999-2004 with programs like UNT, Ark St, ULL, and/or LA Tech. Rather than hold their nose and accept nearby programs of perceived lower quality, the block of 6 you described might have preferred to bolster the Western wing with adds from the Big West and move to a divisional format. I’m actually quite surprised the real 1999-2004 WAC didn’t go down this avenue:

West: Hawaii, San Jose St, Fresno St, Nevada, Boise St, Utah
East: UTEP, SMU, Tulsa, Rice, LA Tech, Ark St (we’re still presuming TCU leaves in 2001)

This move would also likely killed Sunbelt football in its crib, or at least delayed its start by 4 years.
06-03-2021 07:44 AM
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solohawks Offline
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RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
(06-03-2021 07:44 AM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  I still think this WAC in the SWC footprint would suffer a C-USA problem in 2001 (TCU) and 2005 (others).

I’m also a little unsure how former SWC members Rice, SMU, and TCU would feel about sharing a conference, even if it’s just from 1999-2004 with programs like UNT, Ark St, ULL, and/or LA Tech. Rather than hold their nose and accept nearby programs of perceived lower quality, the block of 6 you described might have preferred to bolster the Western wing with adds from the Big West and move to a divisional format. I’m actually quite surprised the real 1999-2004 WAC didn’t go down this avenue:

West: Hawaii, San Jose St, Fresno St, Nevada, Boise St, Utah
East: UTEP, SMU, Tulsa, Rice, LA Tech, Ark St (we’re still presuming TCU leaves in 2001)

This move would also likely killed Sunbelt football in its crib, or at least delayed its start by 4 years.

I too am surprised the WAC post split never established a Southwest division and a Pacific division.
06-03-2021 08:30 AM
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Fighting Muskie Online
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Post: #7
RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
(06-03-2021 08:30 AM)solohawks Wrote:  
(06-03-2021 07:44 AM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  I still think this WAC in the SWC footprint would suffer a C-USA problem in 2001 (TCU) and 2005 (others).

I’m also a little unsure how former SWC members Rice, SMU, and TCU would feel about sharing a conference, even if it’s just from 1999-2004 with programs like UNT, Ark St, ULL, and/or LA Tech. Rather than hold their nose and accept nearby programs of perceived lower quality, the block of 6 you described might have preferred to bolster the Western wing with adds from the Big West and move to a divisional format. I’m actually quite surprised the real 1999-2004 WAC didn’t go down this avenue:

West: Hawaii, San Jose St, Fresno St, Nevada, Boise St, Utah
East: UTEP, SMU, Tulsa, Rice, LA Tech, Ark St (we’re still presuming TCU leaves in 2001)

This move would also likely killed Sunbelt football in its crib, or at least delayed its start by 4 years.

I too am surprised the WAC post split never established a Southwest division and a Pacific division.

My guess is that it was a quality and perception issue. Utah St and Ark St/ULL weren’t considered up to snuff.
06-03-2021 09:41 AM
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solohawks Offline
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RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
(06-03-2021 09:41 AM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  
(06-03-2021 08:30 AM)solohawks Wrote:  
(06-03-2021 07:44 AM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  I still think this WAC in the SWC footprint would suffer a C-USA problem in 2001 (TCU) and 2005 (others).

I’m also a little unsure how former SWC members Rice, SMU, and TCU would feel about sharing a conference, even if it’s just from 1999-2004 with programs like UNT, Ark St, ULL, and/or LA Tech. Rather than hold their nose and accept nearby programs of perceived lower quality, the block of 6 you described might have preferred to bolster the Western wing with adds from the Big West and move to a divisional format. I’m actually quite surprised the real 1999-2004 WAC didn’t go down this avenue:

West: Hawaii, San Jose St, Fresno St, Nevada, Boise St, Utah
East: UTEP, SMU, Tulsa, Rice, LA Tech, Ark St (we’re still presuming TCU leaves in 2001)

This move would also likely killed Sunbelt football in its crib, or at least delayed its start by 4 years.

I too am surprised the WAC post split never established a Southwest division and a Pacific division.

My guess is that it was a quality and perception issue. Utah St and Ark St/ULL weren’t considered up to snuff.

Agreed. Pride and pecking order placement were a very big deal. After playing BYU and Utah, it is a tough sell to get Fresno State and Hawaii to settle for Utah State and 1AA upgrades Nevada and Boise. Plus Utah State had many struggles back then. There was probably the fear of overexpansion too after the WAC 16 crashed and burned.

There probably wasnt much that could be done to save the WAC post split as a CUSA with Houston would always be very attractive then being paired with Pacific schools in a strict divisional alignment.
06-03-2021 10:07 AM
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UTEPDallas Offline
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RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
The Airport 5 schools didn’t want anything to do with Fresno State since Tark was coaching at Fresno at the time.

From what I remember back then, New Mexico knew about the airport meeting but didn’t attend; UNLV and SDSU were told they had to make a decision right away or UTEP and Hawaii were going to be called next. Don’t know how accurate those rumors were.
06-03-2021 11:45 AM
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Wedge Offline
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RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
This article says that UNM, UNLV, and SDSU were told they had to respond asap, but not that they were threatened about others being invited in their place.

https://www.coloradoan.com/story/sports/...457199002/
Quote:Who would they ask to join them?

New Mexico — which like BYU, Utah and Wyoming had been a charter member of the WAC when it formed in 1962 — was an obvious choice. They needed two more. After much discussion, the group settled on San Diego State and UNLV.

They knew they had to work quickly, [Wyoming president] Dubois remembers, before anyone found out what they were up to and foiled the plan.

“We all felt it had to be done in a clandestine way,” Dubois said. “There was concern if political entities got involved, like the California General Assembly, that we wouldn’t be able to do it. We really did want a coup d’etat.

“… We ended up calling Steve Weber at San Diego State and Carol Harter at UNLV and Bill (Gordon) at New Mexico and inviting them in,” Dubois said. “It was kind of, ‘We need to hear from you by the end of the week or see you.’ ”

Another item from this article is that the 8 university presidents did this themselves without keeping their own athletic directors in the loop.

Quote:[CSU football coach] Lubick didn’t have any say in the decision. Even his athletic director, Tim Weiser, was caught by surprise over what the presidents had secretly done.

“I had no idea,” said Gary Ozzello, CSU’s long-time sports information director and now the school’s director of community outreach and engagement. “We got a call in May, Tim Weiser and me, and we were called to the president’s office. Dr. Yates said, ‘Here you go. Here’s the news release. We’re forming a new conference.’ ”
06-03-2021 12:25 PM
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Nerdlinger Offline
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RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
(06-03-2021 12:25 PM)Wedge Wrote:  This article says that UNM, UNLV, and SDSU were told they had to respond asap, but not that they were threatened about others being invited in their place.

https://www.coloradoan.com/story/sports/...457199002/
Quote:Who would they ask to join them?

New Mexico — which like BYU, Utah and Wyoming had been a charter member of the WAC when it formed in 1962 — was an obvious choice. They needed two more. After much discussion, the group settled on San Diego State and UNLV.

They knew they had to work quickly, [Wyoming president] Dubois remembers, before anyone found out what they were up to and foiled the plan.

“We all felt it had to be done in a clandestine way,” Dubois said. “There was concern if political entities got involved, like the California General Assembly, that we wouldn’t be able to do it. We really did want a coup d’etat.

“… We ended up calling Steve Weber at San Diego State and Carol Harter at UNLV and Bill (Gordon) at New Mexico and inviting them in,” Dubois said. “It was kind of, ‘We need to hear from you by the end of the week or see you.’

Another item from this article is that the 8 university presidents did this themselves without keeping their own athletic directors in the loop.

Quote:[CSU football coach] Lubick didn’t have any say in the decision. Even his athletic director, Tim Weiser, was caught by surprise over what the presidents had secretly done.

“I had no idea,” said Gary Ozzello, CSU’s long-time sports information director and now the school’s director of community outreach and engagement. “We got a call in May, Tim Weiser and me, and we were called to the president’s office. Dr. Yates said, ‘Here you go. Here’s the news release. We’re forming a new conference.’ ”

Re: the bold, the implication that they'd invite someone else if they didn't respond quickly was certainly there.
06-03-2021 02:18 PM
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Fighting Muskie Online
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Post: #12
RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
What if they had realigned the WAC so the permanent divisions were:

A: UNLV, Utah, BYU, Wyoming, Colorado St, AFA, New Mexico, UTEP

B: Hawaii, San Jose St, Fresno St, San Diego St, Tulsa, SMU, TCU, Rice

travel for division B sucks but if it’s travel a bunch versus lose half your conference I think the schools on the geographic periphery take that deal in 1999.

It would have been a short term arrangement in the long haul. I’d speculate that the Central Time Zone teams end up in a C-USA that looks like this in 2005:

West: Tulsa, TCU, SMU, Rice, Houston, Tulane
East: Memphis, USM, UAB, ECU, UCF, Marshall

Leaving the WAC like this:

West (B): Hawaii, San Diego St, Fresno St, San Jose St, UNLV, UTEP
East (A): BYU, Utah, Wyoming, AFA, Colorado St, New Mexico
06-03-2021 03:30 PM
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solohawks Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
(06-03-2021 03:30 PM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  What if they had realigned the WAC so the permanent divisions were:

A: UNLV, Utah, BYU, Wyoming, Colorado St, AFA, New Mexico, UTEP

B: Hawaii, San Jose St, Fresno St, San Diego St, Tulsa, SMU, TCU, Rice

travel for division B sucks but if it’s travel a bunch versus lose half your conference I think the schools on the geographic periphery take that deal in 1999.

It would have been a short term arrangement in the long haul. I’d speculate that the Central Time Zone teams end up in a C-USA that looks like this in 2005:

West: Tulsa, TCU, SMU, Rice, Houston, Tulane
East: Memphis, USM, UAB, ECU, UCF, Marshall

Leaving the WAC like this:

West (B): Hawaii, San Diego St, Fresno St, San Jose St, UNLV, UTEP
East (A): BYU, Utah, Wyoming, AFA, Colorado St, New Mexico

No way that passes politically.

There was no good way to have a 16 team WAC for the Airport 5 with Texas/Central schools
06-03-2021 03:38 PM
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RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
(06-03-2021 11:45 AM)UTEPDallas Wrote:  The Airport 5 schools didn’t want anything to do with Fresno State since Tark was coaching at Fresno at the time.

From what I remember back then, New Mexico knew about the airport meeting but didn’t attend; UNLV and SDSU were told they had to make a decision right away or UTEP and Hawaii were going to be called next. Don’t know how accurate those rumors were.

From what I've heard that it was mainly the Borg (BYU) admins that hated Tark so much that they banned FSU, and so FSU was blocked out of the conversation. It took years to even schedule BYU in any sports because of their resentment.
06-09-2021 12:07 AM
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templefootballfan Offline
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Post: #15
RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
The original WAC 16 split because Colo St, AF, Wym were not in same division as BYU, and losing out on their traveling fan base.

Pacific coast schools wanted expand to even out division with Nevada.
Tex schools said no, 2 days latter, they changed their mind.
Fresno, Hawaii, SJST threated to join Big West and form 9 FB and 15 BB conf.
( Nev,l Boise, Utah St, Idaho, NMST, No Tex )
06-09-2021 06:21 AM
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Fighting Muskie Online
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RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
(06-09-2021 06:21 AM)templefootballfan Wrote:  The original WAC 16 split because Colo St, AF, Wym were not in same division as BYU, and losing out on their traveling fan base.

Pacific coast schools wanted expand to even out division with Nevada.
Tex schools said no, 2 days latter, they changed their mind.
Fresno, Hawaii, SJST threated to join Big West and form 9 FB and 15 BB conf.
( Nev,l Boise, Utah St, Idaho, NMST, No Tex )

This is the first I’ve read of the 3 west coast schools threatening to move to the Big West. It might have made things smoother in the end.

The question though is this, what do UTEP, Tulsa, SMU, TCU, and Rice do if they are left by themselves in the WAC in 1999? Do the MWC or C-USA poach any of them?

If they aren’t able to recruit anyone OUT of C-USA, I guess they are left with Ark St, ULL, and LA Tech. (Or maybe UCF affiliates with them)

15 teams in the Big West would have been wild. For an 18 game schedule, you could do 3 pods of 5–play pod mates twice and everyone else once:

Pod 1: Idaho, Boise St, Utah St, NMSU, UNT
Pod 2: Nevada, San Jose St, Pacific, Fresno St, Cal Poly
Pod 3: UC Irvine, UCSB, Long Beach St, Cal St Fullerton, Hawaii
(This post was last modified: 06-09-2021 06:59 AM by Fighting Muskie.)
06-09-2021 06:46 AM
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solohawks Offline
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RE: Had the MWC added Fresno St instead of New Mexico
(06-09-2021 06:46 AM)Fighting Muskie Wrote:  
(06-09-2021 06:21 AM)templefootballfan Wrote:  The original WAC 16 split because Colo St, AF, Wym were not in same division as BYU, and losing out on their traveling fan base.

Pacific coast schools wanted expand to even out division with Nevada.
Tex schools said no, 2 days latter, they changed their mind.
Fresno, Hawaii, SJST threated to join Big West and form 9 FB and 15 BB conf.
( Nev,l Boise, Utah St, Idaho, NMST, No Tex )

This is the first I’ve read of the 3 west coast schools threatening to move to the Big West. It might have made things smoother in the end.

The question though is this, what do UTEP, Tulsa, SMU, TCU, and Rice do if they are left by themselves in the WAC in 1999? Do the MWC or C-USA poach any of them?

If they aren’t able to recruit anyone OUT of C-USA, I guess they are left with Ark St, ULL, and LA Tech. (Or maybe UCF affiliates with them)

15 teams in the Big West would have been wild. For an 18 game schedule, you could do 3 pods of 5–play pod mates twice and everyone else once:

Pod 1: Idaho, Boise St, Utah St, NMSU, UNT
Pod 2: Nevada, San Jose St, Pacific, Fresno St, Cal Poly
Pod 3: UC Irvine, UCSB, Long Beach St, Cal St Fullerton, Hawaii

The Texas schools should have told them not to let the door hit them on the way out.
06-09-2021 08:39 AM
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