At this moment the SMU Mustanga are part of Conference USA, but that could change early next week since the Mustangs are on the short list of joining the Big East. However in the mean time they are part of an alliance between the Mountain West and Conference USA for football only. The announcement was made tonight and Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky are very excited about this:
"The role of a conference is to provide its members with the best possible environment in which to conduct their intercollegiate athletics programs," said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. "Rather than await changes in membership due to realignment, it became clear the best way to serve our institutions was to pursue an original concept. The Mountain West and C-USA share a number of similarities, and the creative merger of our football assets firmly positions our respective members for the future."
"The potential of this association is very exciting," Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky said. "By taking an innovative approach, we feel we can offer tremendous opportunities for exposure and stability without breaking up the regional rivalries that truly make up the college football tradition."
The idea of the alliance is to have a title game between each leagues champion, increase television revenue and earn a BCS bid for the alliance winner. However, none of those have been set up as of yet. In Friday evening's teleconference those three items have not been made official.
Also, this alliance is expected to start in 2013, but it could possibly begin in 2012 if things can be worked out within the next 90 days. At least during the first two years the leagues will compete as two separate conferences, but after the initial years the idea is to create divisions and then have a playoff format to determine the conference champion with a semi-final matchup.
Also, one key point to consider is that SMU and the other named schools to be rumored to join the Big East all voted and approved this move.
For more on this alliance head over to Mountain West Connection.