Jan. 22, 2013
DENVER, Colo. - The Mountain West Conference today made several announcements prompted by the new 12-team football alignment and 11-institution configuration in all other sports beginning with the 2013-14 academic year. The league's directors of athletics formed two football divisions based upon common geographic regions and traditional rivalries, while also creating the first Mountain West football championship game. The group also established schedule models for men's and women's basketball and received an update on the implementation of the recently announced Mountain West Digital Network.
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 Dec. 7, 2013 at the home stadium of the team with the highest BCS ranking.
There will not be divisions for Mountain West men's and women's basketball. The teams will play an 18-game Conference schedule that will include home and home games with eight opponents and single-play games against a rotation of two remaining teams in the Conference.
The group also discussed various format options for the postseason men's and women's basketball championships and scheduling formats for 2013 and beyond in all other sports. The Olympic sports scheduling formats are currently being reviewed by the respective coaches groups, who will then provide recommendations via the Mountain West governance structure.
Below is a statement from Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter on Tuesday's announcement by the Mountain West on its 12-team football alignment and the creation of a championship football game.
"I love the direction that we are going," DeRuyter said. "To have a conference championship game is extremely exciting and I think we are well positioned to be the premier league in the Group of Five going forward.".
The "Group of Five" DeRuyter is referring to is the five conferences (Big East, MAC, Mountain West, Conference USA and Sun Belt) that will have one automatic berth in the rotation of six bowls for the semifinals of the upcoming college football playoff system. The national semifinals will rotate through the six bowl games, setting up two playoff games and four major bowl games each season.
"I think it makes sense geographically and things go in cycles and right now I think it is very, very strong," DeRuyter said of the Bulldogs being in the West division of the conference. "We like the competition and if you want to go on to the BCS and the playoff format as we move forward, you need a high strength of schedule and playing against the good teams in the west is certainly going to help that."
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