Mountain West Conference

Mountain West Conference

The Mountain West Conference is an NCAA athletic conference that represents athletic dominance across the western US. Continuing football rivalries was a major reason for creating the Mountain West out of former WAC teams. Today, the expanded Mountain West competes across two divisions in football, with the winners of each division playing in a conference championship game.


History of The Mountain West Conference

The Mountain West Conference was founded in January 1999 by a group of schools that had, with the exception of one, previously competed in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). The WAC had expanded to 16 schools in 1996 and implemented a complicated division structure that drew many critics. After a failed proposal by BYU and Utah in 1998 for a reformed division structure, Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, Utah, and Wyoming collectively agreed to break away from the WAC and form a new conference. These founding members also invited New Mexico, San Diego State, and UNLV to join, combining into the new Mountain West Conference. Texas Christian University joined in 2005, and Boise State was added in 2010. BYU left in 2010, and TCU left in 2012. Fresno State and Nevada joined full-time in 2012, along with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa as a football-only school. The most recent additions to the Mountain West are San Jose State and Utah State, both of which joined in 2013.

What schools are in the Mountain West Conference?

schools of the mountain west conference

The Mountain West Conference includes 11 member schools across the western United States. Schools from Colorado, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Hawai'i are represented in the conference. The Rocky Mountain range is home to five member schools (Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, and Utah State), as well as the affiliate Colorado College. The mountainous location of these schools contributes to the Mountain West having the highest average elevation of sports stadiums in a Division I conference by a wide margin.

Six schools that currently reside in the Mountain West Conference are founding members. These schools are the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado State University, the University of Wyoming, the University of New Mexico, San Diego State University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Boise State University, California State University, Fresno, University of Nevada, Reno, San Jose State University, and Utah State University are the remaining all-sports members, all of which joined the conference in the early 2010s.

In 2013, the number of football-playing schools in the Mountain West increased to 12 with the addition of San Jose State and Utah State. At this time, the conference was divided into two divisions in order to organize football competitions. These two divisions are the Mountain Division and the West Division. The schools in the Mountain Division are Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State, and Wyoming. The West Division Schools are Fresno State, Hawai'i, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State, UNLV. Prior to 2013, the conference champion was determined by regular-season record. Following the division realignment, the teams with the best conference records in each division play each other in a yearly championship football game.

List of Mountain West Teams By Division

Mountain Division Members:

  • United States Air Force Academy (Air Force Falcons)
  • Boise State University (Boise State Broncos)
  • Colorado State University (Colorado State Rams)
  • University of New Mexico (New Mexico Lobos)
  • Utah State University (Utah State Aggies)
  • University of Wyoming (Wyoming Cowboys and Cowgirls)

West Division Members:

  • California State University, Fresno (Fresno State Bulldogs)
  • University of Nevada, Reno (Nevada Wolf Pack)
  • San Diego State University (San Diego State Aztecs)
  • San Jose State University (San Jose State Spartans)
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV Rebels)
  • University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (Hawaiʻi Rainbow Warriors - football-only affiliate)

Affiliate Members:

  • Colorado College (Colorado College Tigers - women's soccer)
  • University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (Hawaiʻi Rainbow Warriors - West Division football)

FAQ

What is the Mountain West Conference?

The Mountain West Conference is a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Division I athletic conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The Mountain West is known for football, and it was founded in 1999 by several former football rivals from the Western Athletic Conference. The conference has 11 all-sports members from seven western US states: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State, Wyoming, Fresno State, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State, and UNLV, as well as Hawai'i as a football-only affiliate. For football, the conference is divided into the Mountain Division and the West Division.

How many teams are in the Mountain West?

There are 11 schools in the Mountain West Conference as full-time members. There are also two affiliate member schools. The full-time programs are Air Force, Boise State, Fresno State, Colorado State, Nevada, UNLV, New Mexico, San Diego State, San Jose State, Utah State, and Wyoming. Colorado College is an affiliate member for women's soccer, while the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is a football-only affiliate member. The Mountain West hosts competitions in ten women's sports and eight men's sports, but not every full-time program fields a team in each sport. Across all of the men's and women's sports, there are 179 teams in the Mountain West Conference.

What does MWC stand for?

MWC stands for the Mountain West Conference. All of the member schools are located in states in the western US, including Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Idaho, Hawai'i, Colorado, and California. Six of the Mountain West schools are located in the Rocky Mountains: Utah State, New Mexico, Colorado State, Boise State, Air Force, and Colorado College. Additionally, seven of the eight founding member schools previously competed in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). A more commonly used abbreviation for the Mountain West Conference is MW.