- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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During my two months away, the Adelson mailbag overflowed with plenty of queries. For those wondering, no, I could never forget about the "little sisters of the poor." I was just trying to ward off sleep deprivation while taking care of a newborn and 2-year-old. I had middling success. Hopefully, I will fare much better in this edition of the mailbag. Since I got so much mail, stay tuned for several mailbag posts this week.
Kevin Clifton of Hattiesburg, Miss., writes: How long does the WAC have? Is it on life support? How long before the MWC poaches Utah State away? Then what? I see Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio going to Conference USA after Houston and Central Florida leave for greener pastures in the Big East. Then UTEP goes to the MWC, New Mexico State and Texas State go to the Sun Belt. All you would have left is Idaho and San Jose State. San Jose State is thinking of dropping their status as a FBS school and Idaho, who needs them? If you have Boise State, you have the Boise market. I also see Army keeping its home television rights and joining the MAC and I see Navy doing the same and joining Conference-USA.
Andrea Adelson writes: Kevin is the grand Nostradamus of college football expansion! This plan sounds good, but there are a few problems. First, the WAC might actually survive, depending on what happens with everyone else. That does seem hard to believe, but let us say it implodes. The Sun Belt really wants to keep its geographic footprint and I do not see the league going into New Mexico. It does the Sun Belt no good. A recent report in the Miami Herald explained as much, and also theorizes that Louisiana Tech could find a landing spot here. Of course, a lot of that is dependent of what happens with the Big East, which could choose Memphis or East Carolina ahead of Houston. Much of that depends on whether the league wants a travel partner for TCU. If Houston is not chosen, it would have to decide whether it wants to stay in C-USA or maybe even go to the Mountain West should that league want to expand to 12. Utah State is not a part of those expansion plans right now. Even though it would theoretically bring the Salt Lake City market, the school really does not have a fan base as big as BYU or Utah to meaningfully replace that market. Army was in a league before and that did not work so well for the service academy so I would bet on the Black Knights staying independent.
Brad in Dallas writes: What do you think TCU's record will be this upcoming season? What are your thoughts on the TCU-Boise St. match up? Do you think TCU has a chance to win on the blue turf?
Adelson writes: Never too early for way too early predictions, right? My best-case scenario has TCU at 10-2 this season, with losses to Baylor and Boise State. I have Baylor down as a loss right now for a few reasons. First, Casey Pachall will be making his first start at quarterback and it is on the road. It is very tough for first-year starters to win on the road, especially right out of the gate. Second, first games are usually tough because you do not have the identity of your team yet, and there are generally a lot of mistakes. I also have the game at Boise State as a loss. The Broncos get the edge because of Kellen Moore, and because of the blue turf. But TCU definitely has a chance -- especially if its defensive line is going to be as good as Gary Patterson anticipates. That is the key to slowing down Boise State, being able to put adequate pressure on Moore to force him to make mistakes and hurry throws. I reserve the right to change my mind between now and the start of the season, so stay tuned!
Joe Mimnaugh in Las Vegas writes: With both Boise and TCU in a semi-rebuilding year and TCU leaving, do you think that TCU might tank a few games to 1, get revenge on the MWC for their schedule and 2, to make sure that any chance the MWC of becoming a BCS conference is not realized? Do you think that the MWC will be better in a few years after the changes are done, or would the WAC in 2011 be better than a MWC in 2014?
Adelson writes: No shot that TCU tanks anything. If anything, the Horned Frogs want to stick it to the Mountain West for moving the Boise State game to Boise. You will not find a competitor out there who would rather tank games than win championships. TCU will do everything it can to leave the Mountain West with yet another conference title. As for the future of the MWC, the league has dim prospects of becoming an automatic qualifier even if the Horned Frogs go 12-0 again. I think it would have to take winning an appeal to the Presidential Oversight Committee to become AQ. As for the WAC in 2011 vs. the Mountain West in 2014, the essential difference is Boise State -- and that would make the Mountain West stronger.