January 26, 2009
Off the biggest season in its short history -- three teams in the final top-25, two in the top-10, a 5-1 record against the Pac-10 and a quasi-legal campaign for Utah as mythical champion -- the Mountain West is throwing caution to the wind and asking the BCS for a promotion. The league's commissioner and presidents will meet sometime in the next couple weeks with ACC commish/acting BCS coordinator John Swofford to discuss adding an automatic bid for the MWC champion and the accompanying annual payout for the rest of the league.
To be very clear, this is not going to happen:
"The argument I will hear back (from the BCS) is, 'Craig, here it is. It's done. It's been agreed to. It's signed,' " [MWC commissioner Craig] Thompson says. "That doesn't mean you can't put it on the table.
He adds, "I would not be optimistic. As I explained to them (the Mountain West presidents), it's a series of legal contracts among 11 conferences, four bowls, two TV partners with yet another TV partner coming in. I would not see much of a relaxation."
But they're going for it, anyway, and now is probably the right time -- the MWC may not have a better argument that it has right now, with Utah peaking, BYU in resurgence and a significant bump against the BCS conferences since TCU came aboard in 2005:
I wouldn't take that as sacrosanct -- the new-look Big East is 7-2 against the SEC since 2005, for example -- but for some comparison, the MWC's .475 mark over the last four years is better than the Big Ten's (.439) and the ACC's (.464) over the same span. They're holding their own; another four or five years of incremental improvements and semi-regular gate-crashing, and they might actually have a shot.