Conference Realignment Update: Utah To PAC

June 18, 2010 by Dave Congrove

As expected, Utah was invited on Wednesday to join the PAC-10 and the Utes expected accepted the invitation on Thursday. The move, which will take place in 2011, evens out the PAC's membership at 12 schools and will allow it to stage a conference championship game after breaking into two divisions.

The move became a common sense next step after the conference's plans to further raid the Big 12 fell apart on Monday as Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Texas A&M were convinced to stay put. Those schools would have joined Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State in a West Division alignment.

Nebraska and Boise State officially switched conference affiliations last Friday, and Colorado announced its switch last Thursday.

Boise State accepted the Mountain West's invitation to move from the WAC effective July 1, 2011, and the Big Ten accepted Nebraska's application for a summer of 2011 transplant.

Colorado's move to the PAC-10 was anticipated to begin with the 2012 football season, but Nebraska's switch could move that date up a year.

The big loser in all of this may wind up being Boise State which joined the Mountain West for the simple reason that it offered a stronger roster of football programs than the WAC. Like Boise State, Utah was 2-0 in BCS bowl games with a Fiesta Bowl win over Pitt (2004 season) and a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama (2008 season). After losing Utah, the Mountain West says it will remain a 9-team league, for now.

Boise State dominated the WAC while earning two BCS bowl bids and winning both of those games. TCU, whom the Broncos defeated in last year's Fiesta Bowl, is another Mountain West football power. Boise State also defeated Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2006 season.