After reading this article wherein the author suggests the WAC and Mountain West should combine to form a super (big) conference I was a little confused. What the author fails to realize, is that this already happened. From 1996-1998, the WAC featured 16 teams and a Championship Game. In 1999, 8 teams left and formed the Mountain West. And the rest as they say, is history. However, the article did give me an idea for creating a 7th BCS conference. It's fairly obvious the cream of the Mountain West and WAC can compete with most teams in the nation. The top of the SEC and Big 12 and the very top of the Pac-10 and Big 10 are clearly better, but the top of both the Mountain West and WAC are as good as those top teams in the ACC and Big East. What brings the conferences down is the soft underbelly. Idaho and Utah State are horrible in the WAC and New Mexico State is not much better. Meanwhile, in the Mountain West, Wyoming and San Diego State have 2 IA wins between. So the smart thing for those presidents at schools like TCU and Boise State to do is cut the dead weight. Make some back room deals with schools like BYU and Utah and form a new western league--the Alpine West-- and then lobby for your own automatic BCS bid. So who's in?
TCU--The Horned Frogs have played in 9 bowl games over the past 10 seasons and have won 11 games 5 times in that span. Plus they have notched several wins over BCS-conference schools over the last 5 years (Baylor, Stanford, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Northwestern).
Utah--Over the past 15 seasons, the Utes have posted a winning record 13 times. They have played in 5 straight bowl games and were the first non-BCS team to play in a BCS bowl game.
BYU--3 straight bowl trips after a brief dip at the beginning of this century. Arguably the best history of any non-BCS conference team, complete with a Hall of Fame coach and national title.
New Mexico--5 bowl games in the past 6 seasons. Get the nod over Air Force because, while the Falcons are clearly a very good team now, the margin of error for a service academy is very thin. When/if Troy Calhoun leaves, the Falcons could level off.
UNLV--Location. Location. Location. The Rebels don't have any real football history to offer, but Vegas attracts its fair share of visitors.
Boise State--10 straight winning seasons, 7 seasons of at least 10 wins in the past 9, and a BCS bowl appearance. The Broncos are the 'name brand' mid-major program.
Fresno State--A little overrated, but the Bulldogs have played in 8 bowl games in the past 9 seasons. The Bulldogs have a well-deserved rep for taking on all comers, and occasionally they win those games. Another 'name brand' mid-major despite not appearing in a BCS bowl game.
Nevada--3 straight bowl games and an active Hall of Fame coach. Also are a good natural rival for UNLV. Get the nod over Hawaii to allow the conference to save on travel.
This gives you an 8 team conference that is at worst, on par with the Big East. Also, since each member plays only 7 conference games, there is more opportunity for marquee non-conference matchups. Of course, if these teams merge, there will probably be some pissed off university presisdents in San Jose, Las Cruces, Moscow, Logan, Honolulu, Ruston, Colorado Springs, San Diego, Fort Collins, and Laramie. What would become of those teams? Good question. And that is the proverbial fly in the ointment, likely preventing this partial merger from happening. But of course, you just never know.