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What ever happened to the Mountain West’s BCS exemption?

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On Dec. 12, the Mountain West Conference submitted a request for an exemption from the Bowl Championship Series for the next two seasons, four months later, the conference is still waiting for a response.

The Mountain West met the performance standards to request the waiver that would allow their champion to have an automatic berth in a BCS bowl for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. The BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, which is comprised of 12 members - one president or chancellor from each of the 11 conferences and the Notre Dame president, would ultimately make the decision.

Originally there was no timetable set for the waiver to be approved, but BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said in a December Idaho Statesman article the committee would try to get together in January.

They never did.

Meanwhile, expansion and playoff talk grabbed the spotlight. Even the Mountain West's possible merger with Conference USA distracted from the conference's original plan to get an automatic BCS bid, something the Mountain West has been petitioning for since Utah played in the Sugar Bowl in 2008.

Even though the 2012 season is just four months away, Hancock said there's still no urgency.

"Don't really have any news; no decision has been made," Hancock said in an email. He noted the Presidential Oversight Committee would make the final decision, but that there's, "no rush."

Obviously, changes in the BCS system are at the forefront of everyone's minds right now, but those changes won't take effect until 2014. Similarly, the Mountain West is going to look dramatically different in 2013 after it loses several members to the Big East.

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(Otto Kitsinger III/Getty)

But what about this year?

Boise State, which has been a staple in the BCS standings for the past five years, is still in the Mountain West. It's won at least 10 games every year since 2006, including two undefeated seasons, and has been to just two BCS bowls. In each of the past four years, it had a strong case to play in a BCS bowl, but was rewarded just once because of polls, a late loss or another non-AQ team ranked ahead of it. But that doesn't mean the Broncos have been any less deserving of a spot in those past years than a team from a BCS conference.

Of course, the chances of the Mountain West actually being granted a waiver are slim because most of the teams that helped meet the exemption standards have moved on to other conferences. Utah, which is in the Pac-12, accounted for one of the Mountain West's BCS bowls while TCU, which will be in the Big 12 this year, accounted for two. Boise State went to the Fiesta Bowl as a member of the WAC, but the game counts toward the Mountain West's numbers.

None of the Mountain West's other members really bring much to the table, which is probably why there's no urgency to get this done. But if that's the case, why not just tell the Mountain West "No" and be done with it? With the system changing in a couple years and the drastic changes to the Mountain West's membership, I don't think too many would cry foul at that decision.

However, to ignore the decision completely is an injustice. To me, it shows a lack of respect toward the Mountain West, its teams and its fans. I understand this doesn't need to be done today, but to accommodate a seventh team into the BCS the rules have to change. The MWC would likely take an at-large spot, which would create an uproar among the BCS conferences.

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson wouldn't comment on the ordeal except to say, "We are awaiting action on the request by the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee." It's not exactly an impassioned plea, but the Mountain West is also fighting for its survival as teams continue to move out of the conference and access to major games becomes limited.

So maybe this will just fade into the ether. Perhas the 2012 season will come and it will just be understood that the Mountain West won't have a seat at the BCS table.

Hopefully, someone will tell them before that happens.

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