February , 2009

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MWC wants in BCS

Posted by Administrator On February - 21 - 2009

The Mountain West has gone rogue. The league plans to formally ask its Bowl Championship Series peers for more access to the lucrative postseason system, the league’s commissioner said Friday.

Craig Thompson said his league would be sending “a proposal for change” to the BCS commissioners in the next two weeks. The Mountain West is one of five “non-qualifiying” conferences in the BCS. Automatic bowl berths go to the champions of the six power conferences — Pac-10, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC and Big East.

Thompson was not specific but it is assumed that the 10-year-old Mountain West believes its performance on the field merits some kind of automatic berth. In two of the past four years, it has produced an undefeated league champion (Utah) that has won its BCS bowl. But the Mountain West proposal might ask for one automatic berth encompassing all of the 54 schools in the non-qualifying leagues — Conference USA, Sun Belt, WAC, MAC and Mountain West.

Mountain West administrators have discussed that possibility in the past, as well as a one-game playoff among the two best teams in the 54. The winner would go to a BCS bowl. However, that was all in-house. Nothing formal was presented to the BCS. This week, though, the Mountain West changed its perception from one of a quiet, overachieving conference to radical.

“It’s been building to this point,” Thompson said. “Our presidents feel that our performance in the past four, five or six years warrants inclusion at a different level than it currently allows. They’re saying, ‘What do we have to do on the field, we’re beating people, we’re playing people.’”

Thompson was in Washington, D.C., talking to senior staffers tied to legislators critical of the BCS. Before that, three Mountain West presidents met with BCS commissioners at a meeting this week in South Florida. The league also has hired a D.C. lobbying firm.

“I don’t know if we’re ultimately looking for government intervention,” Thompson said, “we’re looking for public awareness.”

In a stunning announcement, Thompson also said his league had not signed the next BCS television deal with ESPN that runs from 2010-13. A formal agreement with the other leagues was reached in November. A source said the other 10 leagues have either signed the agreement or will sign it.

Currently, a non-BCS team must finish in the top 12 to get an automatic BCS bowl berth. Either that or it must be ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and be higher than a champion from an automatic qualifying conference.


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