Posted January 22, 2013

Mountain West mounts up for 2013 and beyond

Conference Realignment, Mountain West
Air Force will play football in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West next season, giving us a fantastic excuse to post this photo.

Air Force will play football in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West next season, giving us a fantastic excuse to post this photo. (AP)

Today in Not Doing It Wrong: The Mountain West has just announced divisions for its new 12-team Voltron form, and it announced the names for those divisions, and it did so in a way that makes it sorta almost impossible for anybody to make fun of the league. This is bad for us, and great for the Mountain West. Pertinent details, per the conference’s release:

“The new football alignments will feature Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming in the Mountain Division and Fresno State, Hawai’i, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State and UNLV in the West Division. Each team will play five divisional games and three cross-divisional contests annually. The actual rotational sequence and matchups will be developed via computer scheduling models.

“The inaugural Mountain West Football Championship game will be played December 7, 2013 at the home stadium of the team with the highest BCS ranking.”

Getting to say “Mountain West Mountain Division Champs” appears to be the ceiling for goofiness here. Well played, Mountain West. (Control your envious sneering, Big Ten.) The sporting internet, of course, had further division name suggestions should the conference ever embark on a rebranding spree. Helpful Twitter suggestions after the jump:

“Mountain West Water Division” does have a certain flair of cadence to it, although it could also summon images of public utility workers battling over a trophy.


Still waiting for a conference to put the two best conference teams in the championship game regardless of division. If the national championship game is not restricted to conference champs, why should a conference championship be restricted to division champs. It makes total sense. If the PAC 12 did this, we would have seen an Oregon-Stanford rematch this past year instead of a Stanford-UCLA rematch.

James C
James C

 @mkonyak The answer is simple. The NCAA actually has rules regarding who may play in championship games, as part of the rules allowing them in the first place. 


What many people don't know is that the origin of the conference championship game rule has nothing to do with any current D1 conference. The origin of the rule actually dates back to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, which was a college division (now DII) conference. They wanted a conference championship game and got the NCAA to pass a rule allowing conference championship games. This occurred for the 1960 season when the PSAC decided to have a championship game (The State Game). What is ironic is that the rule was set at 12 schools despite the PSAC being a 14 school conference.


The "State Game" continued until 1987 when it was discontinued due to a desire to participate more in the DII playoffs. 


Many other conferences have had championship games, however some of those are official championship games, and some of those simply count as regular season games. 


The PSAC has returned to a conference championship game, but it is not an extra game under current rules. It is simply the final week of the regular season when the division champions play each other. 


The CIAA, another DII conference plays 10 regular season games with week 11 being a championship game (only division champs play that weekend)






 @James C  @mkonyak  Thanks, James. I wasn't aware of that rule. It looks to me like its time to apply for a waiver, if not a rule change. There are conferences that would be better served by being able to play a CCG within a division-free alignment. These conferences would then be free to follow a rotating annual schedule that is not constrained by divisional alignments while they try to retain long-standing annual rivalries. At the end of the season, the two best teams play in the CCG.