RAMSEY: Air Force, Calhoun will end season with win

Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun Photo by THE GAZETTE FILE

Count Air Force coach Troy Calhoun among those who believe significant changes to college football’s landscape are on the horizon.

Speculation has been rampant about major conferences – specifically the Big Ten and Pac-10 – adding members. And the ripple effect of their potential expansion could reach the Mountain West Conference, of which Air Force is a member.

“I do think there’s going to be a pretty good shake-up across college sports,” Calhoun said last week. “I think we’re going to see that there are going to be some leagues that certainly swell. I think it’s something that probably will happen within the next 24 months and probably those decisions are going to be made in the next 90 days or so.”

The Big Ten’s coaches and administrators will wrap up three days of meetings in Chicago on Wednesday. And while formal decisions on expansion likely will not be made at least until June 6-8, when Big Ten presidents meet, expansion has been a major discussion topic at the meetings, according to reports from the Windy City.

MWC presidents also will meet June 6-8. And they will discuss contingency plans, including pre-emptive expansion, in case current teams are poached by other leagues.

“You’d better have a Plan B,” MWC commissioner Craig Thompson told the Deseret Morning News. “There’s not a sheet of paper with Plan A or Plan B. But theoretically, and philosophically, there are various scenarios we’re ready to implement.”

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Most expect The Big Ten, which currently has 11 members, to expand so that it can add new television markets to its lucrative network’s footprint and perhaps hold a championship football game. The bigger question seems to be whether the league will add one, three or five teams.

If The Big Ten grabs multiple teams from other conferences, those leagues – or leagues that want to expand in reaction to Big Ten expansion – might look to grab top squads from the MWC. If the Big Ten lures Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12 (one rumor) the Big 12 could come after TCU and BYU. And Utah reportedly has been targeted by the Pac-10.

Several sources indicated if the MWC lost one team, it could go after Boise State of the Western Athletic Conference and not really miss a beat. Losing multiple top-tier teams, however, could deal a significant blow to a league that just recently has gained national attention – and that with two more good seasons could become an automatic-qualifying BCS league.

Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh and superintendent Lt. Gen. Michael C. Gould declined to comment for this story. However, UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he supports extending an invite to Boise State to join the conference. So does New Mexico president David Schmidly, who told the Albuquerque Journal he’d rather the conference to be aggressive than reactionary.

At this point, Calhoun said he doesn’t worry about what could happen because “you can get where you’re way too into speculation.”

“I think everybody’s sitting and waiting to see what happens with the Big Ten,” Calhoun said.