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Mountain West approaches Pac-12 about West Coast partnership

PASADENA, Calif. -- Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said his conference has approached the Pac-12 about what he calls a "best practices" connection -- sort of a West Coast alliance for nonconference scheduling, sharing of officials, and bowl matchups.

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Thompson said there's nothing official but thinks the Pac-12 is receptive to the idea. The 24 teams in the Mountain West and Pac-12 comprise most of the West Coast college football landscape. Idaho and New Mexico State are Sun Belt-bound. BYU is an independent.

The power conferences usually stick together, but this could be a way for both leagues to cut travel costs. The Mountain West and Pac-12 currently share New Mexico and Las Vegas Bowl tie-ins. The ACC and Big 12 also are exploring an alliance.

The Mountain West feels solidified after renegotiating television rights with CBS and corraling Boise State and San Diego State back to the league.

"They were writing the obituary" a year ago, Thompson said at the BCS meetings in Pasadena.

Jeremy Fowler is a national college football insider with CBSSports.com. Fowler joined CBS in 2012 after covering the Minnesota Vikings for the St. Paul Pioneer Press for two seasons and covering the Florida Gators for the Orlando Sentinel for two years. Fowler is also a contributor to the CBS Sports Network.
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