Could the Mountain West Conference's next step be adding Boise State?
League commissioner Craig Thompson didn't sound eager Tuesday to invite the Broncos, but he said an agreement appears in reach with the Boise-based Humanitarian Bowl.
The Mountain West could send a team to that game this season if the Atlantic Coast Conference fails to qualify an eighth bowl team, but a deal would be for a guaranteed spot in 2009 for the No. 5 MWC team. The league's other four bowl contracts expire then, and the Humanitarian could negotiate to move up and take a higher-finishing Mountain West team.
Thompson didn't deny Boise State might use the bowl as a means to gain admission into the Mountain West.
"It's two different deals, but they probably will," Thompson said. "I think we will get the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl done with or without Boise State's influence."
A Mountain West representative would face a team from the Western Athletic Conference, which includes Boise State. The Broncos played the past two seasons in the Hawaii and Fiesta bowls.
"I'm making a major presumption here, which is dangerous, but I've heard that Boise State doesn't always like to play in the Boise bowl," Thompson said. "If they're having a Mountain West opponent, they'll probably say, 'Sign me up!' "
• TRYING TO KEEP THE AZTECS -- The uncertainty over whether the NFL's Chargers will remain in San Diego County has created tension about San Diego State's football future.
Even if the Chargers vacate Qualcomm Stadium in January, Thompson said the Aztecs probably would be allowed to stay there for an undetermined amount of time until a permanent solution is found.
Thompson didn't rule out the Mountain West helping the Aztecs pay rent to stay at Qualcomm.
"We need San Diego State," he said. "We need them to have a football team."
• TRUE NATIONAL TV -- One of the reasons for the Mountain West's move away from ESPN two years ago was to play conference games at more reasonable times. But CBS is a different level, and now the league is willing to allow some games to be played at 9 a.m. Pacific if they are placed on CBS.
That time slot, Thompson hopes, would allow CBS to meet its requirement for the amount of children's programming on Saturdays while also not interfering with any Southeastern Conference kickoffs.
• AMONG THE GREATS -- To celebrate its 10th year of operation, the Mountain West released its all-time football team, which included former UNLV defenders Beau Bell and Jamaal Brimmer.
Contact reporter Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914.