MWC to have eight teams in 2011-12

Frenso State and Nevada won’t join the Mountain West Conference until the 2012-13 sports season. That was announced recently, and here is more on that story.

What that means for Wyoming next season, at least in football, is it needs an extra game. The Cowboys will play seven conference games, and has non-conference games with Weber State and Nebraska at home and Utah State and Bowling Green on the road.

UW wants a home game because there is a chance it will only have three conference home games. But that won’t be easy to get. Athletics director Tom Burman said recently he has tried to schedule a home-and-home with a FBS school, with the first game in Laramie, and has struck out thus far. If UW schedules another FCS school — like Weber State — it likely will cost between $250,000 to as much as $400,000 to get them to come to Laramie. And if that’s the case, UW would have to win seven games instead of six to become bowl eligible with two FCS teams.

If UW gets four conference home games in 2011 it will have six home games. It might be easier to get a home-and-home to start on the road then, but it still would be nice to have seven home games if at all possible. Burman said he could know as early as Friday on how the conference schedule will work in football next season.

What about basketball?

Well, with each team playing 14 conference games in 2011-12 compared to 16 in past years and some could be looking forĀ as many as four extra games if they assumed Fresno State and Nevada were coming on board next season. Basketball scheduling isn’t cheap, but not as expensive as football. Still, teams aren’t begging to come to UW to play, so both the men’s and women’s teams will play more on the road in the non-conference season. Other possibilities include trying to scheduleĀ  more home-and-homes on the road, going to neutral sites where it can get a couple of games over a couple of days or possibly scheduling home-and-homes with teams in the same season.

One thing that it could create with an even number of teams is travel partners. I know UW men’s basketball coach Heath Schroyer is a proponent of this, as is other coaches in the league. Television may squelch this, but it would be nice for fans to possibly plan to watch two games over a three or four-day stretch during a week instead of the one game at home, one away format the MWC currently has.

We can talk about this more on my live chat at 3 p.m. today. Here is the link: