Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
At CBS, I go long on the MAC's big close-up, and immunity to the realignment race that has its peers running for cover.
That's certainly not true of any of the other ostensible "Have Not" conferences, whose rosters are in a state of chaos. By 2014, the rest of the Big East lineup will include at least seven schools that have defected from Conference USA since 2004, while retaining a single member that played football in the Big East prior to 2004: Temple, which just returned to the fold this year after being booted in 2005 for all-purpose futility. Conference USA, a relatively young league that has already had to remake itself once, after the last wave of attrition to the Big East nearly a decade ago, has responded to the most recent cull by absorbing no fewer than five schools from the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt, down to just eight future members, is looking to add more just to ensure its own survival.
Out west, the Mountain West lost two its top teams, TCU and Utah, to major conferences, and a third, BYU, to independence; next year, it's scheduled to lose two more when Boise State and San Diego State join the transcontinental Big East. The MWC has made up for the losses by poaching heavily from its progenitor, the WAC, from which fully half of the Mountain West's 2013 membership has defected in the last two years. As for the WAC proper, whose fate was sealed by the failure of its 16-team experiment in the mid-90s, it will stage its last football game Saturday night in San Marcos, Texas, fold up the goal posts and ride into the sunset.
When championships are decided this weekend, it's entirely possible that the Big East (Rutgers and Louisville), Conference USA (Central Florida), the Mountain West (Boise State), the Sun Belt (Middle Tennessee) and the WAC (Utah State) will award top honors to a team bound for a different conference within two years.
The MAC? The MAC is just... the MAC.