The Mountain West Conference announced Tuesday it will have two separate divisions and host a conference championship game in football, beginning with the 2013 season.
The conference alignment will feature Fresno State in the West Division, along with Hawaii, UNLV, Nevada and in-state rivals San Diego State and San Jose State.
Air Force, Colorado State, Boise State, Utah State, Wyoming and New Mexico will compete in the Mountain Division.
The alignment, formed by the conference’s directors of athletics, was based on common geographic regions and established rivalries. Each team will play against its five divisional opponents and three games against cross-divisional competition, annually, with the non-division rotation to be determined by computer.
San Jose State and Utah State, still in the Western Athletic Conference, will join the Mountain West in the 2013-14 season. Boise State and San Diego State, both of which were slated to leave the league for the Big East Conference after this season, recently announced their decisions to remain in the Mountain West.
The revamped 12-team league in football will host its inaugural Mountain West championship game in football between the two division winners at the home stadium of the team with the highest Bowl Championship Series ranking. The game will be played on Dec. 7, 2013.
“I think it makes sense geographically and things go in cycles and right now I think it is very, very strong,” Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said in a statement released by the athletics department.
“We like the competition, and if you want to go on to the BCS and the playoff format as we move forward, you need a high strength of schedule and playing against the good teams in the West is certainly going to help that.”
Fresno State, a co-Mountain West champion this season, went 7-1 in conference play and finished 9-4 overall.