Non-AQ Report: Could TCU be WAC's New 'Project?'
With BYU contemplating independence in football, the WAC offered the Cougars a home for its other sports. It seemed like a win-win until the Mountain West got wind of the news and undercut the deal by inviting Nevada and Fresno State to its conference to go along with Boise State, which had accepted an invitation earlier in the summer. Not only did that scare BYU off, it also left the WAC scrambling for new members to fill the void left by the departures of its three members.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson and the remaining six WAC presidents and athletic directors might have been bruised by the ordeal, but they weren't beaten, and this week a new door may have opened for the WAC to get the last laugh.
On Tuesday, the Big East announced plans to add two more schools for football. The New York Post has reported that TCU is one of the schools contacted, and if the Big East only wants it for football, its 17 other sports will need a home.
Enter the WAC.
Currently, the WAC is looking at Seattle, Denver, Texas-San Antonio, Texas State and Montana as possible replacements. All but Denver would be making the jump from the FCS and Montana has not yet decided whether a move to the WAC is financially feasible. If Montana does come aboard, the WAC could add TCU to make the conference a 12-team basketball and nine-team football conference. If Montana can't make the move, the WAC could still take the Horned Frogs by squeezing Seattle out. Seattle could join the West Coast Conference, where BYU's non-football teams ended up.
WAC officials would not comment on the speculation and the Big East has not set a timetable for its expansion. Still, the move makes sense and would ultimately cripple the Mountain West, which is desperately trying to earn an automatic BCS bid.
San Diego State Bowl Eligible
Brady Hoke has become the college football whisperer.
Two years ago, he rehabilitated Ball State and led it to a 12-2 season, the best in program history, and now, as the second-year coach at San Diego State, he's led the Aztecs to their first bowl-eligible season since 2003 and likely their first bowl berth since 1998.
"I think it's great for our fans and those people who love the Aztecs," Hoke said.
San Diego State, which is currently third in the Mountain West, earned its sixth win with a 48-38 decision over Wyoming. Oddly, that was probably one of the worst games the Aztecs have played all season. San Diego State had three turnovers and a punt blocked. Running back Ronnie Hillman, one of the top backs in the country, managed just 44 yards, 77 below his average.
Still, winning a game with so many mistakes is a sign of how far Hoke's team has come in such a short amount of time. While they probably won't reach their goal of winning a conference title this year, the Aztecs are by far the Mountain West's most improved team.
"I think those seniors last year did an awful good job of setting a foundation," Hoke said. "Our expectations are to win the Mountain West Conference championship. That's a goal and it will be the goal every year. You know, we're starting the month of November and championships are played for in November so I think that's all part of it. I think our guys have done a good job preparing every week and we've just got to keep focused on the task at hand and that's Colorado State."
Houston, UCF Deny Big East Rumors
Houston and Central Florida issued statements Wednesday refuting rumors that they had been contact by the Big East.
Ever since the Big East announced Tuesday that it would add two football schools, speculation has been rampant about which schools might be on the conference's radar.
Both noted in their press releases that they were proud members of Conference USA.
Houston has been the subject of expansion rumors for several months, but most of the talk has centered around the Mountain West Conference. The Mountain West has already lost BYU and Utah and could lose TCU to the Big East. Although the Mountain West added Boise State for 2011 and will add Fresno State and Nevada for 2012, Houston would be another key piece when the conference is reevaluated for a BCS automatic bid after the next four-year evaluation cycle in 2016.
Buckley Returns for Navy
Navy starting kicker Joe Buckley returned to practice Tuesday after missing the past two games with a leg injury.
Buckley suffered the leg injury against SMU on the final extra point of the game. While coach Ken Niumatalolo told the Annapolis Capital that Buckley would not play in this week's game against East Carolina, he was impressed by how quickly he returned and how well he was kicking.
Jon Teague has been kicking in Buckley's stead. He's made all six of his extra point tries and has not attempted a field goal. Buckley will be reevaluated next week to determine whether he can resume starting duties against Central Michigan next weekend.