"They've been great members. Two storied programs. Two outstanding programs," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "We'll miss those programs but this will be a great league and other teams coming in are terrific and we'll move forward and we wish Utah and BYU great success in the leagues they're going to, and we know the league as it goes forward the Mountain West Conference will be very, very tough."
Boise State, which lost to Utah State in the Western Athletic Conference championship game Saturday night, will replace BYU and Utah next year in the Mountain West.
The musical chairs aren't over with: TCU leaves the league after next year, and Fresno State and Nevada come on board in 2011-12.
San Diego State coach Steve Fisher insists the league will be just fine through the next two years of change.
"Well, Vegas is going to be in it, New Mexico is going to be in it, we're going to be in it, and they're adding other teams, so we'll have a league that we believe will be very formidable," he said. "How good remains to be seen. We're losing two very good programs with some history about them, and yet we're gaining some teams that are also proud. I think we'll continue to have a really good league."
Alford knows there will be some growing pains.
"Losing two institutions and just gaining one, I think we've got a year of transition next year that we've got to be extremely careful about," he said. "And then the next year adding two I think quality institutions will really help from that standpoint. Next year we're in a year of transition. It's going to be an interesting year."
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