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UPDATE: Conference USA & Mountain West Merger Rumors Gaining Steam

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MAJOR UPDATE (11:35 pm MST):  The Fort Worth Star Telegram's Gil Lebreton has some updates.  Lebreton sees the possibility of a "merged title game" a distinct possibility.

Late Thursday night, a source close to the situation said that representatives from the Mountain West and another league -- believed to be Conference USA -- met in Colorado to discuss a plan to match the two conferences' champions in a title game, with the winner gaining an automatic BCS berth.

"You're on the right track," said the source. "The lawyers have told them [the BCS] that it's time to give someone else a chance."

WOW.  As always, more updates as they become available...  

The Orlando Sentinel's Iliana Limon, is reporting that Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference are in fact discussing several scenarios related to a potential merger or alliance between the two conferences.  Obviously, as we learned from the Big 12/Pac 10 conference talks in June, getting a deal of this size done is very difficult.

Two sources with knowledge of the discussions told the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday one of the scenarios being discussed includes a possible merger of 20 teams from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA, with the champion claiming an automatic BCS bowl bid. However, the sources stated such an agreement is complex, could easily fall apart and is far from being completed.

On Twitter, the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Dan Wolken noted:

There is no question the merger is being talked about at high levels. Making it happen requires a lot of moving parts.

Well, with Thursday winding down, I think we all know what we'll be talking about tomorrow.  There are about a million questions I could get into right now, most obviously:

1)   Why is 20 the Magic Number?

2)  What schools are on the chopping block?

3)  Is ESPN pushing this?  Will a BCS spot be guaranteed for the league champion?

Before we jump back fully into the deep end, it's probably better to hang back and see what the news looks like tomorrow.  There's no denying now, though, that there isn't at least some merit to the alliance/merger speculation.