Kansas, Missouri in Mountain West?
The Big Twelve's woes could give a lift to the MWC, which is trying to raise its stature.
FORT WORTH, Texas - Mountain West Conference sources confirmed that the league is sending out feelers to Big Twelve members - most notably Kansas and Missouri - that may be left out in any continued conference shakeup.
Kansas State would be another option. Baylor, however, would not be.
Sources said Friday that Texas Christian will lobby the MWC against Baylor's inclusion should the Big Twelve school be left out of the impending conference realignment.
The Mountain West already has added Boise State from the Western Athletic Conference.
"I think when you look at all the stuff that is happening, you have to make sure you take care of your own. That's what's happening," TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said.
The league is leaving the door open to pluck other schools to boost their resumé to earn an automatic Bowl Championship Series bid. Two years remain on a four-year evaluation period to get the automatic BCS bid.
Adding a couple of more Big Twelve schools would only help. And it looks as if more will be available. Colorado is joining the Pacific Ten and Nebraska the Big Ten, leaving the remaining schools of the Big Twelve in limbo.
All signs point to Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State departing the Big Twelve, likely for the Pac-10, though Texas A&M is considered a candidate to join the Southeastern Conference.
That would leave a few available schools, most notably Kansas, Kansas State, and Missouri to potentially join the Mountain West.
Despite success in nearly every sport but football, Baylor may not be so welcome in another MWC expansion. Some TCU officials and powerful alumni remain irked over the way Baylor was included in the Big Twelve after the breakup of the Southwest Conference. The Frogs were left out.
Iowa State, the final Big Twelve school, doesn't appear to have a likely destination.
The Mountain West will consist of 10 members when the Broncos begin play in the conference in the 2011-12 academic year.
"The Mountain West wants to be a national player and continue to grow in that realm," MWC commissioner Craig Thompson said.