Associated Press
MWC commissioner Craig Thompson said the conference is done expanding and will stay at nine when Boise State is added and Utah leaves.

LAS VEGAS — MAACO Bowl Las Vegas has put Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson in an interesting situation. He'll be saying goodbye to Pac-12 bound Utah and hello to WAC transfer and incoming Boise State.

"It's kind of an odd little mix. But it is what it is," Thompson said before predicting a tight battle at Sam Boyd Stadium. "It'll be a very competitive football game with two big programs."

Having the Utes and Broncos meet in a finale before next season's conference affiliation switches has made for an intriguing setting.

"They've done the same thing for their university and their conference that Utah's done for the Mountain West," Thompson said while crediting the Utes for putting the MWC on the map with their successful Bowl Championship Series busting appearance in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl.

Bidding Utah farewell and welcoming Boise State to the mix, he acknowledged, has made him a bit nostalgic

"It does a little bit because certainly we are very proud of what we accomplished in 12 years. A lot of people have been talking about maybes and what-ifs, but you don't get that opportunity in life and we have what we have," Thompson said. "We're going to go forward. We are going to continue to build the league. We've got a lot of things in place to have a very successful Mountain West Conference football league in the future."