Oregon State, Washington State exploring Mountain West football scheduling alliance

By Kevin Kelley -

The two remaining members of the Pac-12 Conference, the Oregon State Beavers and Washington State Cougars, are moving forward with plans for a football scheduling alliance with the Mountain West Conference, Ross Dellenger of Yahoo Sports has reported.

As a result of 10 Pac-12 members leaving for other conferences next season, Oregon State and Washington State were left on their own to either rebuild the conference or form a partnership with another conference, such as the Mountain West.

On Tuesday, the two schools secured a victory in court that gives them “…control of Pac-12 governance and assets — an estimated $400 million this year.” However, that decision is stayed until attorneys from the 10 departing Pac-12 schools can file an appeal.

In the meantime, Oregon State and Washington State have resumed discussions with the Mountain West that could result in a football scheduling alliance for at least the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Below are the details from the Yahoo Sports report:

Though there are many scheduling models, the most likely is what’s termed a “7+1” format where Mountain West teams play seven conference games — not eight — plus one game against either Washington State or Oregon State. They would rotate the game against either OSU or WSU home-and-away over the two-year cycle.

Games against OSU and WSU are not expected to count toward the league standings. The two Pac-12 members will not be eligible for the MWC championship and will compete as quasi-independents under the Pac-12 banner.

Those Mountain West schools with previously scheduled non-conference games against one of the two schools will play the other as well during the same season. For instance, San Diego State has games scheduled against Washington State, at home in 2024 and on the road in 2025. In the model, the Aztecs’ would likely play Oregon State both years as well.

Three more schools would play two games against the Pac-12 duo in a single season because they have previously scheduled games, including Boise State (Oregon State, 2024), Fresno State (Oregon State, 2025) and San Jose State (Washington State, 2024).

The Mountain West Conference previously announced its football schedule rotation for the 2023 season through the 2025 season. An alliance with Oregon State and Washington State would obviously alter that format.

Although nothing has been finalized, an agreement between the Pac-12 and the Mountain West appears to be close. An announcement could come later this week or next week.

A complete Mountain West football schedule for the 2024 season will most likely be released in February or March 2024. The schedule for the 2023 season was announced on March 2.

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Comments (17)

Both Oregon State and Washington State should join the Mountain West Conference as full members of the league along with both New Mexico State and UTEP. This move should be easy to make IMO. #rippac12

They can’t join the Mountain West while they are still members of the Pac-12. They aren’t leaving the Pac-12 until the litigation is resolved, at the earliest.

I think the most likely outcome is OSU & WSU operate the Pac-12 as a two-team for the two-year exemption period, fill their schedules primarily through this scheduling alliance, and then the MWC join the Pac-12 for the 2026 football season is what would effectively be a reverse merger.

Why would you want to play 7 conference games? You’re already missing out on so many teams every year and this makes it one more.

I had been reading about a possible scheduling alliance, but I wasn’t sure how it would work due to the MW already having planned its conference schedule in advance. Let’s see how the media designations would work for Oregon State and Washington State home games because the Pac-12 has no media deal for next season.

Hallo All Fans! & especially those on this Page, not Tom & Jeff,
To those who entertain the Alternate Fantasy that the PAC 12-10-8 Brand applied to: OR State, WA State Unis. with MW Teams added is going to be Name associated with Founders/ Spine/ Brain of the Pacific A. Conference Names UCLA-USC-Cal-Stanford-Washington-Oregon-WA State-OR State, with AZ Unis. added in 1978 & UUT in 2011 is uncontrolled laughter causing.

The MW, formed in 1998, for the 1999 Season, kept the profitable Western States football Franchises not in the Trust Five PAC 10-12 Footprint from being destroyed.

Even with UUT, TCU leaving 4 the PAC10 & Big12 in 2011, 2012, BYU 4 Independence in 2011 didn’t destabilize the Mountain West Conference.

They eradicated the Bowl Subdivision W estern A thletic C onference those same years & have survived & advanced through the last 13 Years.

ORSU & WSU joining the MW & keeping the only BS Football Conference headquartered & centered in the Pacific & Mountain Time Zones on a sustainable, viable, growable Trajectory is the Elephant in the room.

The next closest Dependent Conference is HQed in Irving, TX: Conference USA & of Course newly renewed & expanded Trust Five B12 with the 4 Corner Schools rejoining/ joining in 2024.

I realize that most conferences are ditching divisions in favor oh having the 2 teams with the best records (regardless of uneven schedules) play in a championship game, but if you’re going to start reducing the number of conference games, it makes even more sense to have divisions so the conference records actually mean something. You may or may not be the best or second best team in the conference, but one team should be and the other is at least the best team among their 6-team division. (Just look at how the Big 12 might play out this year to see… no divisions makes the tie-breakers more important and potentially less based on anything real).

If they played in divisions, each MWC team would play the 5 teams in their division, 2 teams from the other division, and 1 from OSU/WSU as a built in non-conf game.

I guess this model gives OSU/WSU each 6 MWC games plus 1 game against each other, meaning they’d still be needing 5 other games for however long this model plays out? I think we all assume that, at some point, barring invitation to a bigger conference, either OSU/WSU will invite some-to-all the MWC teams into the Pac-12/2/14 or the MWC will invite OSU/WSU into the MWC (all depending on how court cases and money stuff plays out).

I feel like Wyoming and Nevada going to eventually get left behind. New Mexico and Utah State are probably on the bubble as to whether they ever get a Pac-12 invitation.

With the big money becoming even more concentrated in football’s upper divisions I think some of the MW teams are likely to be looking ahead to a future life in the FCS. Been saying for 10 years the writing is on the wall and the big boys will be taking the FBS pie off the table so they don’t have to share except among 30 or 40 elite programs.

If MWC merges into PAC14, will it be Power 4 and group of 5? I’m guessing yes. Which feels like the FBS is being devalued overall.
What is the Big 12 going to renamed, the Big 16? And Big 10 is now Big 18 (2024)? ACC will have 18 and SEC 16. It doesn’t sound reasonable on the surface. It feels very cynical, like it’s ok to sell out for the big dollars.
With so many teams performing at a higher level, and such good coaching at all conferences, it seems that devaluing is the wrong direction, I’d like to see it go the other way, evening out the playing field at all conferences to increase good competition, reduce injuries from the big boys always playing each other, and trying to make/keep it more regional. NE, SE, Midwest, NW & SW.
I know I’m dreaming, but if we could set greed aside for an afternoon, I wonder if there would be room for an agreement with FBS “blue sky money”? Where all universities with an FBS team get a percentage of the whole pot- say 10% of media money split evenly between all the schools? Maybe each school has to submit plans for their use of the funds, Allowing schools to become more competitive if they need money in that direction, or using it to help ith actual education side if they have a good team already? Yeah, just dreaming.

OSU & WSU should add the MWC then add:

UTEP-NM State-SH State from C-USA

North TX-UTSA-Rice from the AAC

Now you have a 20 team conference that could regulate/delegate into 2 divisions yearly like they do in European soccer and control the WEST from the Pacific to Texas !

Relegate ↓
Promote ↑
If you’re going to use association football terms, use the right ones.
A promotion-relegation model is an interesting concept, but what’s the point of everyone still gets equal $ conference shares? Plus, that means you can’t predict schedules more than a few months ahead of time, which in this era of alumni travel and charter arrangements makes large conferences even more expensive.
A pac1X built around WSU+OSU+MWC makes sense, but open questions remain with what to do with football only Hawaii and whether Air Force would rather end up with Navy and Army in the AAC. Even if they both stay, keep it at or under 16. Adding UTEP and NMSU as a travel pair makes sense, but beyond that keep it in the mountain and Pacific time zones.