Tuck: BCS’ Worst Nightmare – The Mountain West

By Mike Tuck
Host, Tuck & O'Neill

The Mountain West Conference will ask for an automatic bid to the Bowl Championship Series for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

What?  How?  I am kidding, right?  This is some kind of joke.  No.  No, it is not.

The MWC announced Monday night that its board of directors approved making the request.

The BCS rules allow a league without automatic qualifying status to request an exemption for the next two seasons if its teams met certain performance standards from 2008-2011.

The MMC met those standards, with the help of TCU earning bids in 2009 and  again in 2010. The MWC was also aided by Boise State and TCU’s performances this season, even though neither made a BCS Bowl, both finished in the top 20 of the BCS standings.

So what is next?  I, myself, am not sure.  I do know that this news is fun and exciting.  Not because I am a Mountain West fan or a fan of any of the teams in the Mountain West, but because I am anti-BCS and this is terrible news for the BCS.

The BCS (originally the Bowl Alliance) was created to make a #1 vs. #2 match-up.  In 1997 Michigan (won the Rose Bowl) and Nebraska (won the Orange Bowl) were “clearly” the top two teams in the country that season.  They’d split a national title, but the bickering previous, leading up to, and then following led to the creation of a new system that could pit the top teams against each other, as opposed to them play in their designated bowl game based on their conference.

The BCS has evolved to be more about money and power than that 1-2 game it set out to create.  Along the way, the BCS only further instilled a sense of pride and superiority in the conferences we now commonly refer to as the BCS conferences (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12, and Big East).  That money and power trip, on top of the obvious failures to produce a true champion (because not every year are we satisfied that we have two “clearly” top teams to play in the title game) has led many people to hate a system that was once applauded for helping to define a college football champion.

Because of pressure of lawsuits and congress, the BCS adapted its rules to provide easier access to the big money games to non-BCS schools.  Also introduced was a measuring system that if certain standards were met (MWC) or not met (potentially the Big East in the future) then that automatic BCS bid could be given or stripped.

The Mountain West Conference has apparently met the standards set forth.  Which to me means they should be given AQ-status for the next two years as stated.  I am not sure how the BCS could deny them, but if it did, then it would open up a whole new can of worms to deal with in the courtrooms.  If the MWC is allowed in then it would strip money away from the power conferences and spur on change to the failing system in 2014 when it’s current contract expires.

Of course, the MWC isn’t going to be what it has been, meaning the representative as league champion could not be up to the standards they’ve produced over the successful run between 2008-2011.  Utah beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in 2008, but has left for the Pac-12.  TCU went to back-2-back BCS bowls the next two seasons, but will leave for the Big XII next season.  And Boise State just joined, but will be leaving in 2013 for the Big East.  BYU has had success as a program, but they left before this past season.

Fresno State and Nevada will join the MWC next season and Hawaii is scheduled to enter in 2013, but conference’s heavyweights will be gone.

If you’ve thought the Big East has forwarded some “bad” champions, the Mountain West may top that.  That will make people want change, but the current big six will push for change primarily because of the money the MWC could be taking out of their pockets.  More drama on the way.

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