The Mountain West Conference has announced, via their official conference website, that it will hold a conference championship game in 2013. The game will take place on December 7 and will be hosted by the MWC division champion that has the highest ranking in the BCS.
To do this, the MWC had to also set its official divisions. The conference leadership came up with a "West" Division and a "Mountain" Division. Not extremely creative, but very effective in placing teams geographically, making it much easier to remember which team belongs to which division.
In the West Division of the Mountain West it will be Hawaii, San Jose State, San Diego State, UNLV, Fresno State and Nevada. This will be a very competitive division, at least for the near future, and is a very nice geographical fit.
The Mountain Division will also be a decent geographical configuration, but the overall competition will be a step below the West. It will include Boise State, Air Force, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah State and Colorado State.
If you are a Bronco fan you probably realize that the Mountain Division is currently the least competitive of the two divisions. Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman broke down the winning percentage for Boise State versus both divisions.
The Broncos have won 72.7 percent of their games against West Division opponents as opposed to 87.1 percent against Mountain Division teams. That includes a 13-4 record against Utah State, and as Cripe points out, the Broncos' last loss to the Aggies was in 1997.
However, Utah State is a much-improved team and should be competitive even with the recent departure of its excellent coach Gary Andersen, who took the Wisconsin job in December. Look for Utah State to give Boise State a great game in 2013.
Boise State head coach Chris Petersen is probably not real happy to see Air Force in the same division as the Broncos. The triple-option is not a favorite for any coach to defend. Petersen and his team realized that when they played the Falcons in 2011 and New Mexico in 2012.
Both of those teams will be bringing their old-fashioned, simplified, difficult-to-defend run-based offense to the Mountain Division, and with it, the sale of antacid will certainly go up in the Boise area.
The MWC also noted that each team would play three crossover games each season, but that they would be generated by a computer. The official announcement states:
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.
This will be important for Boise State, as much of its recruiting is based in the state of California. One or two games per season in the Golden State helps the Broncos maintain that presence, and it gives them another item to offer recruits and their families.
The divisional models and conference championship game should bring some intrigue and interest to the MWC. However, they could also produce another hurdle for the Broncos or any other team in the conference vying for a BCS spot.
The University of Houston learned that lesson the hard way when it lost to Southern Miss in the 2011 Conference USA title game. It cost the Cougars a spot in the BCS and C-USA millions in revenue.
Still, it should be an exciting season in the Mountain West, and with the new format, it will certainly be interesting to see how it all shakes out.
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