The obvious winners in the decisions by Boise State and San Diego State to remain in the (1) Mountain West are the schools themselves. Yet the conference benefits as well from having the Broncos powerhouse football program remain in the league. The Aztecs football program is not yet where Boise State's is, but as defending conference tri-champs, they're certainly an important component to the quest for "elite" conference status. With these "non-subtractions" the league can now potentially hold a conference championship game.
This is a win for conference newcomer (3) Nevada - which can now continue its heated rivalry with the Broncos AND grow its annual battle with UNLV. Part of the reason (4) Fresno State, (5) Utah State and (6) Hawai‘i agreed to move to the MW was a chance to test themselves against the powerhouse program Boise State has become. Now they get to do just that.
There are big winners away from the football field as well. Start with (7) Steve Fisher and his SDSU basketball program - one of the best in the nation. It would have been a major step backward for Fisher's program to be left to compete in the not-all-that-Big West Conference. The path to March Madness is much smoother when you compete in a power conference like the MW. Add in (8) Dave Rice and UNLV and (9) Steve Alford and New Mexico. That threesome represents one of the very best groupings in college basketball. Thankfully, it won't be broken up.
Non-revenue sports also reap a benefit. For instance, SDSU with (10) Tony Gwynn at the helm is working to become one of the Conference's best baseball programs. It already plays a stout California-based non-conference schedule, so staying in a better league is a benefit to its postseason goals as well. And after having lost his nemesis in TCU to the Big 12, New Mexico baseball coach (11) Ray Birmingham certainly didn't want to see Gwynn's Aztecs leave the league too. Ray wants to play the best and SDSU represents that. Plus, no Lobo baseball season would be the same without that loooooong bus ride to The Mesa every spring.
Finally, (12) fans in the region will get to continue to see a geographically-based, super competitive conference that has nothing but upside moving forward. Better bowl game partnerships, the potential for a conference football title game, more and more teams in March Madness - and it won't be long until an MW school is back in the College World Series. It's all good.
Like I said a "win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win-win" situation for everyone.