By Mac Engel McClatchy Newspapers
FORT WORTH, Texas — Mountain West Conference sources confirmed that the league is sending out feelers to Big 12 members that may be left out in any continued conference shakeup, most notably Kansas and Missouri.
Kansas State would be another option. Baylor, however, would not be.
On the same day the MWC officially added Boise State, sources said TCU will lobby the MWC against Baylor’s inclusion should the Big 12 school be left out of the impending conference realignment.
The league is leaving the door open to pluck other schools to boost their resume to earn an automatic BCS bid. There are two more years remaining on a four-year evaluation period to get the automatic BCS bid.
With the addition of Boise State, the MWC hopes it can get a temporary BCS automatic qualifier status in 2012 and 2013.
Adding a couple more Big 12 schools would only help. And it looks as if more will be available. Colorado will join the Pac-10 and Nebraska the Big Ten, leaving the remaining schools of the Big 12 in limbo.
All signs point to Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State departing the Big 12. That would leave a few available schools, most notably Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri to potentially join the MWC.
Despite success in nearly every sport but football, Baylor may not be so welcome in another MWC expansion. Some TCU officials and powerful alums remain irked over the way Baylor was included in the Big 12 after the breakup of the Southwest Conference. The Frogs were left out.
The MWC will consist of 10 members when the Broncos begin play in the conference in the 2011-12 academic year.
There have been discussions and scenarios involving 12, 14 or 16 schools in the MWC, conference championship games and more. It all depends on whether teams such as Missouri, Kansas and the others can’t find a conference they like better.
Adding Kansas or Missouri would only further enhance the MWC’s attempt to earn an automatic BCS bid.
“The Mountain West wants to be a national player and continue to grow in that realm.” MWC commissioner Craig Thompson said. “We are extremely interested in BCS automatic qualification. We are simply trying to get to the level where each and every year a Mountain West team is playing in a BCS bowl game.”
With the Broncos, the MWC features three teams that have earned at-large BCS berths: Boise State (2) and one each for Utah and TCU. Boise State is 26-1 in the past two seasons as a member of the Western Athletic Conference and defeated TCU 17-10 in the Fiesta Bowl in January.
“I think when you look at all the stuff that is happening you have to make sure you take care of your own. That’s what’s happening,” TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said.