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ESPN.com interviews MWC commissioner Craig Thompson

By Mike Whitelock

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Jan. 30 2011 5:35 p.m. MST

With Utah and BYU leaving the MWC conference in 2011 and TCU in 2012, MWC commissioner Craig Thompson has had his hands full. With three of its best teams departing the MWC has added Boise St. in 2011 and Nevada, Fresno St. and Hawaii (football only) are set to join in 2012.

There was speculation that more expansion could be on the way. Although at the conclusion of its annual January meeting, the MWC Board of Directors decided to postpone any future expansion for now. The news was disappointing for Utah St. fans.

Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com just concluded a recent interview with MWC commissioner Craig Thompson. In the interview she asks him about expansion, a potential championship game with Conference USA and can the MWC become a BCS automatic qualifier.

One question Adelson asked was, Is this league stronger as a 10-team league than it is with TCU, Utah and BYU as members?

Craig Thompson replied, "Time will tell. We were six years into the league before people even knew we played football. Now people know the name Mountain West, but until Utah was undefeated and won the Fiesta Bowl with Alex Smith in 2005, Utah football wasn’t truly on the map nationally. I like the makeup. Air Force won nine games, San Diego State won nine games, Boise State was a field goal away from possibly playing in a BCS game and Hawaii has played at that level before. There’s a lot of positives to look forward to. Parity’s creeping in. It’s harder and harder to go undefeated. That’s the ultimate goal, to get to a BCS game without having to be 12-0."

Read the rest of the interview at ESPN.com. Part 1 and part 2.

Mike Whitelock is an author and sports writer.

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