The Boise State football team likely will play rivals Fresno State and Nevada twice every four years under the Mountain Wests new format, approved by athletic directors at their meetings Monday and Tuesday.
The now 12-team Mountain West will split into two divisions and play a conference championship game for the first time this fall with Boise State playing in the Mountain Division, which includes Utah State, Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force and New Mexico.
The West Division features Nevada, Fresno State, San Jose State, Hawaii, UNLV and San Diego State a group that includes four of the Broncos former WAC rivals.
The Mountain/West split was the most geographically logical and was the only option presented to the athletic directors, Boise States Mark Coyle said. President Bob Kustra and football coach Chris Petersen supported those divisions, Coyle said.
People liked the geography of it, he said. For fans, it gives them an opportunity to get to away games. Thats a priority for us and something I looked at. Well still have that opportunity to get into California, which is obviously a heavy recruiting area for us.
Football teams will play each of the five teams in their division and three teams from the other division each season. The rotations will be determined through computer scheduling models, league officials said.
The athletic directors wanted to play every team in the conference in a two-year span, but that isnt expected to work, Mountain West Deputy Commissioner Bret Gilliland said. A two-years-on, two-years-off format is more likely. That means, for example, Boise State could play Nevada, San Diego State and UNLV in 2013-14 and Fresno State, San Jose State and Hawaii in 2015-16.
So in a four-year span, the Broncos would play every team in the West Division once at home and once on the road.
The full football schedule likely will be released in mid- to late April.
Boise State has much more history with the West Division (88 games) than the Mountain (31), but Coyle said he isnt concerned by how the divisions fell.
Were still going to have an opportunity to play those (West) teams, he said.
The division champions will meet Saturday, Dec. 7, in the inaugural Mountain West Championship Game. The participant with the highest BCS ranking will be the host. Further tiebreakers, if neither team is ranked, have not been determined.
The revenue from the championship game will be distributed through a standalone formula separate from all other revenue that is collected by the conference, Coyle said. CBS Sports Network gets the first chance to purchase the TV rights.
Hosting that game on your campus, thats going to be a huge advantage and hopefully that propels you to an access bowl (the big-money option in the new postseason format), Coyle said.
Basketball will not have divisions (there are 11 members; Hawaii is football only). The mens and womens basketball teams will play 18-game conference schedules two games against eight teams and one against two, determined by computer scheduling models.
The athletic directors didnt want to go to 20 games and a full round robin.
We all agreed our RPI is so high as a conference because weve gone out and played people, Coyle said.
The Mountain West hasnt decided on a field for the basketball tournaments. Coyle prefers to allow all members to participate.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat
BOISE STATE VS.MW DIVISIONS
Heres how the Boise State football team has fared all-time against teams in each of the Mountain West divisions:
Air Force: 1-0
Colorado State: 2-0
New Mexico: 4-0
Utah State: 13-4 (last loss, 1997)
Total: 27-4 (87.1 percent)
Fresno State: 11-4 (last loss, 2005)
Hawaii: 10-3 (2007)
Nevada: 26-13 (2010)
San Diego State: 1-1 (2012)
San Jose State: 11-0
UNLV: 5-3 (1976)
Total: 64-24 (72.7 percent)