As silly as it might have seemed for Boise State to join an "eastern" conference, the fact is that they were supposed to be the new Big East's marquee football program. Not only does their defection further dilute the Big East brand, but it also paves the way for San Diego State, which had also agreed to join the conference, to back out as well.
With Boise State remaining in the Mountain West, the Aztecs' Big East contract allows them to withdraw from the Big East without paying an exit fee if there is no other Big East member located west of the Rocky Mountains.Assuming that Cincinnati and UConn bolt as well, the Big East that the Cougars are set to join in a few months will be nothing more than Conference USA plus Temple and South Florida. That's hardly a step up. Which begs the question: what if Houston were to look to the west, rather than the east, for its new home?
A Mountain West conference source with knowledge of the situation said San Diego State wants back in the Mountain West, but the league is holding up the process as it decides whether there is a better fit than the Aztecs and if there is a school that can deliver more value.
Besides the possibility of losing San Diego State, sources told ESPN that Houston and SMU, scheduled to join the Big East next season, are among four possible teams the Mountain West may target, along with Tulsa and UTEP. The Mountain West will look to add a 12th member by 2014, sources said.The Mountain West is clearly a stronger conference than the rapidly-collapsing Big East right now, but questions regarding travel costs and television contracts need to be answered before the Coogs decide to switch conferences. One thing's for certain, though: the jobs of UH Athletics Director Mack Rhoades and President Renu Khator just got a bit more complicated.