Washington State wide receiver Lincoln Victor (5) is tackled by Washington cornerback Dominique Hampton, left, and linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio, right, during the Apple Cup on Nov. 25 in Seattle. Washington and Washington State will continue to play each other in football for at least another five years, but the Apple Cup will no longer be a conference game. (Lindsey Wasson/The Associated Press)

Washington State wide receiver Lincoln Victor (5) is tackled by Washington cornerback Dominique Hampton, left, and linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio, right, during the Apple Cup on Nov. 25 in Seattle. Washington and Washington State will continue to play each other in football for at least another five years, but the Apple Cup will no longer be a conference game. (Lindsey Wasson/The Associated Press)

PIERRE LaBOSSIERE COLUMN: Plenty of options for WSU, OSU

Now that Washington State and Oregon State apparently have finally won their litigation to maintain control of the Pac-12, the two schools can work together to plan out the future of the conference.

And I am adding the caveat “apparently,” because I’m not an attorney and don’t pretend to play one on the Internet, so who knows what other legal maneuvers might be coming from Washington, Oregon and others?

For the following year, WSU and OSU have agreed to schedule a bunch of games in various sports with Mountain West teams. So the schools have a year to work on what will most likely end up as a merger with Mountain West schools.

I’ve sort of been banging around a dream of creating a really interesting super-conference, relying heavily, but not solely, on the Mountain West. I’ve seen other people propose this, so I’m not alone. I really hope something like this comes to fruition, though I have no idea all the issues that might crop up.

If I were WSU and OSU, I would look way, way beyond the Mountain West. The Pac-12 is probably done being a power conference on the same level as the SEC or Big 10, but they can still make themselves profitable, interesting and fairly strong from both an athletic and academic standpoint.

As far as keeping the conference high-profile, the schools are going to have to look at market size, and in my proposal, that means some of those Mountain West schools would be left behind, even if some of them are fairly strong in athletics.

Wyoming? Based in Laramie, Wyo., population 35,000. Utah State? Based in Logan, Utah, way out in the middle of nowhere and a population of 52,000. Both of these schools are pretty competitive in the major sports, but their markets are tiny. They might be better off moving to the WAC.

New Mexico? It’s located in a big city, Albuquerque, but the Lobos are almost always dreadful in football and their basketball program has been plagued with scandals in recent years. New Mexico State is in a decent-sized market in Las Cruces, but that school has had even uglier scandals lately.

San Jose State is located in a huge city, but the Spartans have never been particularly strong athletically, and trust me, some of that school’s sports facilities are really small and old.

Here’s the idea I like: From the Mountain West, Fresno State (Fresno/Clovis, 900,000 people in the metro area), Boise State (450,000), UNLV (2 million), Nevada (Reno, Nev.-450,000), Colorado State (Fort Collins, Colo., 350,000 and one hour from Denver), San Diego State (2 million) and Air Force (Colorado Springs, 700,000).

Those are some big markets, good for television revenues. Fresno State and Boise State likewise have fanatical fan bases.

That creates a decent eight-team conference. Not the old Pac-12, but not bad. But, there’s also several other schools out there, some of them in major markets that are very unhappy with their conferences.

These include Tulane, based in New Orleans, and Memphis. They both have expressed some unhappiness with the AAC and have grumbled about moving. Another AAC school is Texas-San Antonio, located in a huge market and very competitive in some major sports.

Personally, I would love to see an 11-team conference with all of these schools. It would be pretty strong in both basketball and football, at least. And would include some big, big markets.

There’s also Florida State, which is grumbling about the ACC. Would they actually join a conference with WSU, OSU and some Mountain West teams? Probably a long shot, but Cal and Stanford are in the ACC, so apparently, geography no longer matters. There’s other possibilities out there such as Rice (Houston), Tulsa, Wichita State, UTEP, etc.

You could even invite Gonzaga for basketball and other non-football sports. Wow, what a basketball conference that would be with schools like Memphis, Nevada and San Diego State.

Anyway, that’s my idea for a super-conference, for what it’s worth.

I really think WSU and OSU have a lot of options to look at and I hope they take a look at them. They have all the time in the world to decide their athletic futures.

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