Three former Mountain West Conference schools have all entered into discussions with the conference about possibly returning to the league, ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy reported Monday.
Boise State, San Diego State and BYU — which have all taken steps to leave the conference in the past two years — are the teams that have inquired about returning, according to the report.
The inquiries follow a decision last week that awards an automatic major bowl berth to the highest-ranked team of the so-called "Group of Five" conferences — the Big East, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt. That means both the Mountain West and Big East are on an equal playing field for a major bowl berth.
It also follows a hectic day of conference realignment that left the Big East potentially short two of its premier football teams. Rutgers is expected to announce a move to the Big Ten on Tuesday, and UConn could also announce a shift to the ACC on Tuesday.
Because the Big East has now lost six teams in the last year alone, McMurphy reports that Boise State and San Diego State may be reconsidering their options:
With the Big East losing two more schools and having the same playoff access as the Mountain West, Boise State and San Diego State are reconsidering their options. One of the main reasons both schools opted to join the Big East was the draw of more television revenue.The move would be attractive for BYU because the school currently has independent status. Joining the so-called "Group of Five" would make it easier for the school to earn a major bowl berth. However, McMurphy reports that it would need to be exempted from its contract with ESPN, which runs through 2018.