But then I started seeing a lot of chatter about how the Big 12 was looking at Air Force and BYU if it needed to replace a couple members. BYU won't happen in the Pac X. But could Air Force be a heretofore unpublicized possibility? Here is the basic case for Air Force. (Tons of plagiarism in this one from Wiki and AFA web sites.) First, it aligns with the traditional structure of the Pac 8 and Pac 10 since it would be an in-state rival for the University of Colorado. That's been a key component of what made the Pac X different and special. However, the problem with that model became apparent with television negotiations. Basically, the structure that had been so great for fan excitement and rivalries caused the conference to, in effect, have only 1 media market for every 2 teams. At first glance, Air Force coming along with CU seems to have the same problem if not worse. Its home city of Colorado Springs-Pueblo is only the country's #92 media market. Currently the smallest home market in the conference is Washington State's #75 Spokane market, and that has about 25% more viewers (420k to 335k). But since AFA is a service academy, it enjoys a special position as a media partner. It has national and international appeal to every person associated with the US Air Force. That's over 300,000 active enlisted, another 150,000+ in the Reserves and Air National Guard, another 150,000+ civilians employed by the Air Force, and over 50,000 employed in the Civil Air Patrol. More importantly, there are dozens of Air Force bases stretching across the country and around the globe (Link to AF bases). Finally, there are also literally millions of Air Force veterans (at one point in WW2 there were over 2 million active members). Air Force brings media well in excess of its small home base market that it shares with CU. Another consideration is the academic standing of Air Force. On a positive note: The Air Force Academy is among the most selective colleges in the United States. Many publications such as U.S. News and World Report do not rank the Academy directly against other colleges because of service academies' special mission. However, a few do; Forbes Magazine recently ranked the Academy the #2 public college in the United States and the #7 college overall in its "America's Best Colleges 2009" publication. On the negative side, graduate research is very important to the Pac. Air Force has some partnerships with public universities, but does not offer graduate programs at the Academy. However, there is the Air Force Institute of Technology (located in Ohio) that offers graduate programs through three resident schools: Graduate School of Engineering and Management, the School of Systems and Logistics, and the Civil Engineer and Services School. The lack of research partnering opportunities could be a major drawback for the Pac when considering Air Force. Finally, Air Force athletics, facilities and gameday experience need to be taken into consideration. The 17 Men's teams compete in football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, cross-country, fencing, golf, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track, lacrosse, rifle, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, water polo and wrestling. The 10 Women's teams include basketball, cross-country, fencing, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track, swimming and diving, soccer, tennis and volleyball. In addition, the Academy also sponsors two non-NCAA programs: cheerleading and boxing. Air Force teams have had great athletic success. The boxing team has won 18 national championships and has never finished lower than second in the nation. The Academy's men's and women's rugby teams have each won multiple national championships and the women's side recently had two players selected for the United States national team. The football team has played in 20 bowl games and won the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy over Navy and Army in 16 out of 34 years. The men's basketball team has had strong showings in the last several years, qualifying for the NCAA tournament and, most recently, making the final four of the 2007 NIT Tournament. The men's ice hockey team won the last two Atlantic Hockey conference tournaments, made the first ever appearance by a service academy in the NCAA hockey tournament in 2007, and made a repeat appearance in 2008. Air Force plays football in Falcons Stadium, a 52,000+ seat stadium set on the front range of the Rocky Mountains near Pike's Peak. Pre-game activities include flyovers by USAF aircraft, including the F-15 and B-2. Also part of the gameday experience is the Falcon live mascot, one of the top in all of college athletics (maybe 2nd to CU's Ralphie). Other facilities are also top notch, including Eisenhower Golf Course. One exception may be Clune Arena (basketball, wrestling and volleyball). While a nice facility with modern upgrades, it is on the small side and can seat up to 6,500 fans. Here's a photo of Falcon Stadium: And one of the campus: Thoughts?