|San Diego State is staying put in the Mountain West, and that's a good thing for college basketball. (US Presswire)|
The Mountain West: A zombie conference we can believe in.
It was about a year ago, when conference realignment's wave was just starting to curl into something significant, that the Mountain West appeared to be flirting with irrelevance, if not downright extinction. So many of the conference's programs were either definitely (TCU) or possibly (pretty much all others) leaving the league, and the scramble would be on to save the conference from despair in both football and basketball.
But Wednesday brought news that San Diego State would in fact not be leaving the league in football anymore. And now the Aztecs won't be headed to the Big West in hoops, either. Mark Blaudschun first reported earlier Wednesday that SDSU and the Big East were working on a way to redact so much of the contract that had been arranged to get Aztecs football into the Big East.
That is indeed the case.
That doesn't have any effect on SDSU in hoops though, right? Wrong. Because now the Mountain West will in fact hold on to SDSU, a program coming into its own, one that needs stability in the next few years, as 67-year-old Steve Fisher is expected to coach only a couple of more seasons before retiring and handing over the duties to coach-in-waiting Brian Dutcher.
Then there's this:
More promise in the pragmatic that the Mountain West of the future offers up big-time revenue in TV (via football, mostly) to pay off any bad decisions over the recent years. It's fitting that this is all happening in a year when the Mountain West is having, arguably, its best season ever in men's hoops.
Today doesn't bring news that SDSU is saving the MWC. It's only improving it, enhancing it -- by staying put. Imagine that.
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