Wed Mar 04 05:01pm EST
Most readers may not know much about the Mountain West, and except for some warm underdog love for Utah's improbable perfection, probably don't care much. But you have to give the MWC this: It's taking all its swings. With the Utes' success and TCU and BYU also landing in the final top-25, the league's profile and potential bargaining power will never be higher. That still may not amount to much compared to the "big six" conferences, but if ever there was a time to push for an automatic bid to the BCS, this is the year. Even if it's only a crack, the window to lobby for Congressional intervention may be about as open as it's going to get.
Given its whiffs on those two points -- the BCS honchos easily swatted the MWC away last month, and Congress, believe it or not, has more important matters swinging for the fences at the most un-hittable target known to modern sporting man:
The Mountain West Conference has proposed a new plan for the Bowl Championship Series that includes an eight-team playoff to determine a national championship for college football and eliminates the current BCS standings based on computer rankings and human polls.
Under the new plan that would start in 2010, the standings that decide the 10 teams playing in the five BCS games would be determined by a 12-member committee consisting of one representative from the 11 Division I-A (FBS) conference and one from Notre Dame.
The Mountain West plan is essentially a standard eight-team, three-round format (the ninth and tenth-ranked teams would play each other and apparently not advance into the tournament) that retains current tie-ins for first round games, i.e. the Pac-10 and Big Ten champions would meet in the Rose Bowl, the SEC champ would go to the Sugar Bowl, etc., and on to a semifinal and championship game from there. It's a sensible, enticing plan that will be instantly, emphatically crushed by BCS tanks, lest the other serfs get ideas. As long as Jim Delany breathes, counterrevolutions must not be tolerated.
The MWC's push will fail, probably in spectacular, one-sided fashion. Since November, though, this puts the official pro-playoff count at more than a half-dozen of the nation's most prominent coaches, at least as many grandstanding Congressmen, two bills in the House of Representatives, one high-minded attorney general, the university president of the defending national champion and the president of the United States. So some day, the heroes of the Mountain West will see that wall fall.