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Time For the Annual Expansion Talk … This Time We Mean It

Each year around this time expansion gets talked about by adding Boise State and others to form a stronger league for BCS consideration.   This topic goes back a few years and really became interesting last November when Paul J. Schneider reported on KTIK that says Boise State has received a letter indicating that the Mountain West will invite the school to the conference next spring.

We all know that did not happen, and in my opinion for very good reason, because the four year cycle for BCS evaluation began last year.  By not inviting Boise this year to join next year possibly could hamper Boise’s record may not be as stellar if they stay in the WAC.

So, for example if Boise State were to move to the MWC next season in 2010 which would be year three of the cycle their firs to years in the WAC would count.  2008 Boise State finished the regular season in the top 10 — we use the regular season because that is in the BCS rules — and this year they most likely they will be in the top 20 at worst.  Those years would count toward the Mountain West conference evaluation even though they would still be in the WAC.

My opinion is that the call will come next June for at least Boise State to join the Mountain West and begin play in the 2011 season.  There is no concrete evidence with the exception of that mystery letter last November.

My reasoning is that historically Boise State has been ranked in the top 20, and the most important factor is that during the first three years they would have done their typical WAC dominance and then have one year in the Mountain West.  That first year in the MWC may not result in a 11 win season, but they would be on par with BYU, Utah, and TCU.

While in my opinion this would be a good news for the MWC to add Boise State and that would prop the conference to be included for the BCS and possibly even ahead of the Big East and ACC.

However Dirk Harmon from the Deseret News disagrees that expansion will ever happen, and his reasoning is not because that Boise State is not a great program but it is money.

That reasoning is weak, because Harmon says that the school presidents have done in-depth research and feel that splitting the television contract another way is not worth it.  Also, Harmon must not know his very recent history from last year and writes this in his column:

“No non-BCS conference champion has ever gone to a BCS bowl with a loss. And probably never will.”

What he does not realize that TCU was ranked high enough to qualify with one less, it just happened that Utah and Boise State were ranked higher.

The money situation may be valid in the short term, however when a new deal is reached there will be more money because there are better teams.  Plus with the extra team there would be more games to be broadcasts.

There is also an outside shot of CBS running noon eastern games for the MWC when their next deal comes up.  The MWC is all ready partners with CBS College Sports, so that could help the league move a few games to CBS.

If the league gets included to the BCS the eventually money would be enough to supplement of adding a 10th team to the Mountain West, and it would there would be an additional bowl game.

The money argument is weak because each BCS bowl pays out approximately $18 millions and they do not have to share with the other leagues, as it is currently stated when a non-BCS school gets invited.  Over time that  money would offset the extra split of the pie, plus that extra money could yeild UNLV, SDSU, and the others who have been at the bottom of the league could make a jump like Cincinatti.

The other factor is if the league wants to go to a nine game conference schedule –similar to the Pac-10– with three non-conference games.  The league should not adopt that because that would guarantee more loses within the league and limit the bowl teams.  That is something the Pac-10 is learning the hard way.

Also, Air Force would object because they all ready play Navy and Army each year and that would give them only one non-conference game.  The other objection could be similar to the Big 10 where the league does not play each other and on a certain year a lesser team could be 8-0 league play without having to play top teams.

That is not too hard to fix, because if Boise State makes the move there would be four very good teams and it would be hard for a team to sneak by because on an off year they would face three of those teams.  The Big 10 is different because they miss two teams instead of one.

Again, my prediction is bold but Boise State will be invited to the Mountain West next year, and start play in the 2011 season.  That happens to be the last year of the four year BCS evaluation and Boise State’s previos three years will count and that could possibly move the MWC to an automatic qualifier in the BCS.

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11 Responses

  1. Jeremy,

    I hope you’re right. With the way this ‘four year window’ is supposed to work – assuming the cartel don’t secretly rewrite the rules if the MWC qualified – could the conference get a guarantee of AQ status on the condition of adding Boise’s wins before expanding?

    Also, got to get rid of that turf. Seriously.

  2. The rules are very vague with who can be considered an AQ league. I would say there is now way that the MWC would get any guarantee of being a BCS league before adding Boise.

    I say go for it because with better teams the league can demand more money and get better bowl matchups.

  3. This is not a bad analysis, as I think you are spot on that it won’t happen before then, and it would be good timing.

    However, I am not sure that adding Boise State to the MWC will bring enough to the conference to push it ahead in the BCS standings. I would also anticipate a moves by other conferences to secure their place in the sun, effectively keeping MWC out of the BCS, and if It doesn’t help secure an automatic bid, then what is the point?

    So as much as i like the idea of Utah, BYU, TCU and Boise beating the crap out of each other every year, I am not holding my breath.

    • It could all be for naught. I just wish the rules for inclusion were not as vauge as they are. Good point about other leagues expanding and if that would affect the MWC for an auto bid. The only way it could is if teams from the current MWC get snatched up to other leagues.

      • Who do you see as prime targets? Utah/ BYU or Boise are talked about moving to the PAC 10 (I don’t see it) and then I see TCU being taken as well. Do you see any others with a possibility of being added to a BCS Conference?

  4. That is what I have been advocating all along. There is no reason to bring Boise in just yet. Let them keep getting top-15 rankings, and bring them in for the last year of the evaluation period. In that way all their success in the WAC counts for us.

    As for expansion. IF we choose to move to 12 teams the two teams I would definitely add are Boise and Nevada. The 12th is sketchier. If we take another non-BCS team, I think I would recommend SMU. I know they currently suck, but they have a lot of history, are in Dallas (like TCU) and would provide a GREAT rivalry. Other NBCS I think would be good are Houston, Fresno State, or even Montana. I don’t like the idea of adding Tulsa, like many advocate. They are the smallest school in I-A football, I don’t see much upside there.

    The other option is to add Boise and Nevada, and earn a BCS designation. At which point we lobby hard to get Colorado. That would be awesome. Colorado belongs in the Mountain West!

    • Agree and that is why the move should come next summer. IF the league goes to 12 in the future, I could see Nevada because they are a solid football program and hoops.

      But I think the league should go for Fresno partly for a bigger market then Reno and recruiting in Northern California, and then I would take either Tulsa or Houston.

      The reason for those two is because they are above average in both major sports and they would be good for travel partners with TCU especially with the smaller sports. I would choose Houston because then The Mtn. would get on the basic package with DirecTv and the cable company plus the Houston area has about 3 million plus people.

    • We’re in Fort Worth. Dallas sucks.

  5. The NCAA by-laws require 8 football schools to be a football conference. I can’t see the MWC taking 3 WAC teams, leaving them with 6 football schools. Imagine the lawsuits.

    If the MWC wanted 12 (big if), I believe the odds favor Boise + two C-USA West schools (Houston and Tulsa have been relatively strong in both major sports recently. SMU could come on with June Jones. UTEP is an old WAC rival with good attendance).

  6. Swint,

    I was one of those people who thought that Tulsa could be a good fit for the MWC and noticed a good following during the Armed Forces Bowl a couple years back. Then I visited the campus when on business last month. It is not a good fit at all. I have seen DII schools with more to offer. Stay away MWC… nay run… run away from there as fast as you can and don’t look back. Please forgive me for ever having that thought in my mind.

  7. I think Nevada makes sense in the MWC and so does Boise.

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