Less than two weeks ago, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported that the American Athletic Conference was trying to court four Mountain West Conference schools as potential replacements for the three AAC schools that left for the Big 12 Conference at the beginning of the month.
Now, multiple reports indicate that two of those schools are indeed well on their way to joining the AAC.
On Tuesday, Action Network’s Brett McMurphy first reported that Colorado State and Air Force could move to the AAC as early as next week, and Dodd’s CBS colleague Matt Norlander later confirmed that the two schools are in fact “heavily involved” in talks to leave the MWC for the AAC, although it’s “not across the line yet.”
Norlander also indicated that the AAC likely wants to add even more schools than just those two.
Can confirm @Brett_McMurphy reporting in that Colorado St + Air Force are heavily involved in talks to leave the MW, join the AAC. Brett reporting it's "likely next week."— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) September 28, 2021
Source tells CBS: "Getting closer, not across the line yet." Clear desire for the AAC to add more than two.
San Diego State and Boise State are the other two schools Dodd had reported the AAC was targeting from the MWC (plus UAB from Conference USA), but Norlander reported that they both “balked.”
Norlander reported that Boise State did so because “Boise is waiting and hoping for an eventual invite from the Big 12.”
Norlander reported that there’s a level of uncertainty within the MWC about its future, largely because of its leader. He quoted a “Mountain West source” as saying, “The biggest problem right now is no one has any faith in Craig Thompson as commissioner and there is growing concern about the league.”
Mountain West source to CBS: "The biggest problem right now is no one has any faith in Craig Thompson as commissioner and there is growing concern about the league."— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) September 28, 2021
Losing Air Force and Colorado State would not seemingly be catastrophic for the MWC, although losing Boise State would be if it indeed gets a Big 12 invite. Losing SDSU to another conference would also not be good either were it to happen.
Thompson has been the MWC’s lone commissioner since it was created in 1998 with Utah, BYU, Air Force, Colorado State, San Diego State, New Mexico, UNLV and Wyoming as its charter members.
Currently, the conference’s football members are as follows:
- Air Force
- Boise State
- Colorado State
- Fresno State
- New Mexico
- San Diego State
- San Jose State
- Utah State