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The Mountain West could poach a Texas-based team if Colorado State leaves for Big XII

The game of musical chairs could involve CUSA and the Sun Belt if Colorado State is invited to the P5 party.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

In a previous piece regarding the potential impact of Big XII EXPANDAPALOOZA, I conjectured that Colorado State moving to the Big 12 could result in a major change to Conference USA.

Let's run with that for a second. There's a bit of logic to such a move; the Mountain West Conference would drop to 11 programs and would likely attempt to poach another program to get back to an even 12.

While my personal opinion would be to add soon-to-be independent New Mexico State in order to make the transition less of a hassle, I do not see that happening.

Another potential option could be the addition of an FCS team, such as a potentially resurrected Wichita State. Admittedly, that 's wishful thinking; the Shockers are nowhere near ready for a program at the moment, and even if they were, the program would be in the baby stages of development. No one wants to start from behind in a league seen as one of the best in the G5.

So, if Colorado State did leave the MWC, who would take their place? If the commissioner plans well enough in advance, they'd know all they have to do is look at the Republic of Texas.

Let's take a look at the G5 candidates from Texas; four are from the CUSA and one from the Sun Belt:.

UTSA Roadrunners:

  • Head Coach: Frank Wilson (0-0, first year)
  • Record Since 2000: 26-32 (2 winning seasons)
  • Bowl Berths: None
  • FBS Conference Championships: None
  • Five Year Attendance: 28,909
  • US News Academic Ranking: #538 Best Global University
  • TV Market: #37 (San Antonio)
  • Record versus MWC members: 1-4
  • Distance to nearest MWC member: 710 miles by car, 615 direct miles (New Mexico)

UTSA has to do some work to fit the MWC's profile. They have a limited history, with only 58 games played as a program. They easily have the best facility of the five candidates, with the Alamodome as a backdrop for all their homegames. The university is a solid academic institution and in a top 50 TV market. Due to their location, the Roadrunners have the ability to dominate the TV market.

Distance could be an issue as they are in east Texas, over 600 direct miles from any MWC program.

Rice Owls:

  • Head Coach: David Bailiff (53-60, tenth year)
  • Record Since 2000: 84-110 (6 winning seasons)
  • Bowl Berths: 12
  • FBS Conference Championships: Eight
  • Five Year Attendance: 18,868
  • US News Academic Ranking: #84 Best Global University (#18 Best National University)
  • TV Market: #10 (Houston)
  • Record versus MWC members: 19-21
  • Distance to nearest MWC member: 881 miles by car, 752 direct miles (New Mexico)

The Owls have the most storied history of any team on this list after spending a significant amount of time in the Southwest Conference. Since then, it has been a long slide down for Rice. Even so, the Owls have the best record since 2000 out of our group of candidates.

The TV market number is a bit tricky as several other programs share the Houston market and Rice is nowhere near the top of the list. Rice is also a haul of over 750 direct miles from their closest MWC rival. The biggest positive Rice brings to the plate is one of the best academic institutions in the nation, ranked #17 in the country and #84 globally.

North Texas Mean Green:

  • Head Coach: Seth Littrell (0-0, first year)
  • Record Since 2000: 68-125 (4 winning seasons)
  • Bowl Berths: 7
  • FBS Conference Championships: Four
  • Five Year Attendance: 18,545
  • US News Academic Ranking: #653 Best Global University
  • TV Market: #5 (Dallas)
  • Record versus MWC members: 16-31-1
  • Distance to nearest MWC member: 608 miles by car, 557 direct miles (New Mexico)

After a great start to the 2000s that included four straight bowl berths, the Mean Green have been a bit of a mess this century. They are tied with Rice for the most bowl berths since 2000 (five), but only one has came in the last 10 seasons.

North Texas is another team with a TV market that looks great in theory. The school is approximately 40 miles from Dallas and claims the #5 TV market in the nation, but no one in Dallas really gives the Mean Green a second thought. Attendance is also an issue as they have failed to average even 18,000 over the past five seasons.

UTEP Miners:

  • Head Coach: Sean Kugler (14-23, fourth year)
  • Record Since 2000: 76-118 (4 winning seasons)
  • Bowl Berths: 14
  • FBS Conference Championships: One
  • Five Year Attendance: 27,167
  • US News Academic Ranking: n/a
  • TV Market: #98 (El Paso)
  • Record versus MWC members: 77-172-5
  • Distance to nearest MWC member: 268 miles by car, 230 direct miles (New Mexico)

UTEP is a direct trip north of approximately 250 miles to Albuquerque, making it by far the closest candidate on our list. The Miners have faced off in 254 overall games versus the MWC, and boast the second-highest attendance totals all the candidates.

As impressive as the other categories make UTEP look, the biggest negative is the academic side. They were not even ranked in the US News Global University rankings. The overall football history is not all that impressive either, with only one conference title and a .392 winning percentage since 2000.

Texas State:

  • Head Coach: Everett Withers (0-0, first year)
  • Record Since 2000: 89-98 (5 winning seasons)
  • Bowl Berths: None
  • FBS Conference Championships: None
  • Five Year Attendance: 18,175
  • US News Academic Ranking: #52 Best Regional University (West)
  • TV Market: #37 (San Antonio) and #49 (Austin)
  • Record versus MWC members: 1-6
  • Distance to nearest MWC member: 716 miles by car, 620 direct miles (New Mexico)
A FBS program since the 2012 season, the Texas State program has been abound since 1904. The Bobcats could have easily been a bowl team in 2014 if the Sun Belt had a full number of bowls available. Texas State was the only 7-5 team in 2014 to not go bowling, but suffered the fate of being the only 7-5 team in 2014 to sit out of bowl season.

The university is a good academic institution, ranking #52 among universities in the West. The two of the biggest issues that the Bobcats face in getting an invitation are TV market and location. They are yet another east Texas program that is over 600 direct miles from any MWC program.


With the resumes laid out, which program do you think should get a look from the MWC if Colorado State were to join the Big 12? Did we miss any? Tell us in the comments section below.