7/10 Roundtable - The Mountain West & The BCS

7/10 Roundtable - Did the Mountain West give in too easily when it came to agreeing to the BCS system? What should the league do to get what it wants in 2014? It's the Friday topic in the CFN Daily Roundtable Discussion.

CFN Daily Roundtables

July 10

Did the Mountain West give in too easily when it came to agreeing to the BCS system? What should the league do to get what it wants in 2014?

Over the next several weeks, as part of the CFN 2009 Preview, we'll examine some of the key questions going into the year with a daily discussion of the big topics.

Past Roundtables
7/10 M-West & the BCS
7/9 Guilty Pleasures
7/8 OU or OSU - Biggest BCS Bust
7/7 5th BCS Game
7/4 Should the SEC get a BCS break?
7/3 There should be a playoff
7/2 There shouldn't be a playoff
7/1 The unbreakable record
6/30 BCS on ESPN
6/29 Best non-BCS program
6/26 Rule changes
6/25 Why does the Big 10 stink?
6/24 Top 3 non-conference games
6/23 Coach on the hot seat
6/22 The No. 5 team is ...
6/19 Most underrated teams
6/18 Most overrated teams
6/17 BCS title sleeper
6/16 Do 40 times matter?
6/15 Is a Rooney Rule needed?
6/12 Should Bama vacate wins?
6/11 Should players be paid?
6/10 Recruiting hype
6/9 Your No. 1 draft pick
6/8 Where would you coach?
6/5 Who does the least with the most?
6/4 Who does the most with the least?
6/3 Sept. star players
6/2 Who'll generate early buzz?
6/1 The one coach you'd want
5/29 Tebow, McCoy, or Bradford?
5/28 Should the Big Ten expand?
5/27 Should the Pac 10 expand?
5/26 Chizik, Kiffin, or Mullen?
5/24 Heisman sleepers
5/22 Most interesting teams
5/21 Is Tebow the best ever?
5/20 When should polls come out?
5/19 The M-West & the BCS, Part 1
5/18 BCS or bust for Weis

Pete Fiutak, CFN

Yes, I'm part of the problem. You can check me out at twitter.com/CFN_Fiu and find out future roundtable topics and other random musings.

Q: Did the Mountain West give in too easily when it came to agreeing to the BCS system? What should the league do to get what it wants in 2014?

It's not like it had a choice.

Here's how it would've gone if the Mountain West didn't agree to the system and chose to still fight.

Mountain West: "The BCS system is unfair, discriminatory, and it needs to be changed. We refuse to be a part of it until all the conferences are counted equally."

The six BCS leagues and 86% of the college football world: "Uh, okay. Whatever. Good luck with that, Sport."

Does the Mountain West have a legitimate beef? Sort of. There shouldn't be any automatic BCS tie-ins. The top ten teams according to the final BCS rankings should be in no matter what conference the teams are in. This system, in this way, actually helps the little guy otherwise there would be several teams from the SEC or Big 12 in the BCS every year.

But for all the whining and screaming (most of it deserved) done by the Mountain West, what gets lost in the shuffle is that if the conference wants in the BCS, then make sure it fields great teams.

With ten BCS slots and the rule that only two teams from one conference can be in, then every year there will almost certainly be an open slot that needs filling by a non-BCS league. Make sure you have a conference champion that's good enough to finish in the top 12 of the BCS and you'll almost certainly have a team in the big show. Yeah, it's not an automatic bid, but if you don't have a team that's good enough to finish in the top 12, and ahead of the best team in the WAC, then you don't deserve a spot in the BCS anyway.

And then there's the national championship. Mountain West and Utah, if you had finished in the top two, you'd be playing for the national title. According to the BCS Media Guide.

"The top two teams in the final BCS standings shall play in the National Championship Game."

It's hard to get one of those top two slots for anyone; it's not just a Mountain West thing. Ask USC, US-freakin'-C, how tough it is to get in the top two. It has only gotten into the national title game twice. Yes, it stinks that the Mountain West doesn't get an automatic invite when the ACC and Big East get the nod every year, but the league isn't has hosed as it wants to make you believe.

If it wants an automatic invite by the time 2014 rolls around, it needs to keep winning. If there's a BCS team every year, and the league has another season like it did last year against the Pac 10, then public opinion should finally come around.

Richard Cirminiello, CFN

Q: Did the Mountain West give in too easily when it came to agreeing to the BCS system? What should the league do to get what it wants in 2014?

I think everyone would have liked to see the Mountain West put up the good fight for a little longer, but at the end of the day, Craig Thompson and the conference realized there wasn’t much more to gain in the short-term by continuing the battle. Yeah, you could have scored some moral victories along the way, but you know the BCS was going to win in the end. There’s just too much money and too many intangibles involved to poke the BCS with a stick for too long.

Just because the Mountain West signed the agreement with ESPN that runs through 2013 does not mean the conference has given up. It’s got about four years to foster some kind of change in the system. These three steps might help its cause:

1. Keep winning. It’s the simplest solution to keep the pressure on. As long as Utah, TCU, BYU, and the rest of the league are winning non-conference games in September, December, and January, it’ll be impossible not to pay attention.
2. Go get Boise State. While I realize it’s not a simple process, if you can lure the Broncos, and maybe even Fresno State, out of the WAC, it’s a blowout for both sides. Boise State would bring even more national notoriety to the conference, making it next to impossible to deny it a seat at the adult table.
3. Hire a professional. If it hasn’t already, the Mountain West would be wise to employ the services of a slick public relations firm, which can keep this topic on the minds of the public when it’s otherwise engaged in something else. Americans have a short attention span, and will forget this subject as quickly as it leaves the headlines. The league needs to hire someone capable of making sure that does not happen in the next four years.

Matthew Zemek, CFN

Did the Mountain West give in too easily when it came to agreeing to the BCS system? What should the league do to get what it wants in 2014?

A: What to do for the MWC? Go back to something I wrote in January of this year:

3) The head honchos of the Pac-10, Mountain West, and the WAC need to find ways to promote football in the Pacific and Mountain time zones. They should create an event called the “Western Football Classic.” Credit for this idea goes to CFN reader Kelly Velayas, but I’m tweaking it. With the woefully ineffective Tom Hansen departing as Pac-10 commissioner, football fans in California and Oregon need to make their voices heard in Walnut Creek (the California town where the Pac-10’s offices are located), as a new boss prepares to run the league.

Mr. Velayas proposed that on the first weekend of December, the Mountain West Conference champion should play the Western Athletic Conference champion on a neutral field, with the winner going to the Rose Bowl against the Pac-10 champion. When the Rose Bowl’s TV contract with ABC expires, that idea might have legs, but the longstanding tie with the Big Ten could very definitely stand in the way of such a plan.

My recommended solution? Make the Western Football Classic a two-game event on the first weekend of December involving four seeded teams with a provision for no rematches of regular-season games. Have the champions of all three leagues—the Pac, the MWC, and the WAC—participate. Then invite the best second-place team in the three leagues (based on a certain set of criteria and/or rankings) as a wild-card entry. Play one game in Denver every year—for the Mountain time zone fans—and one game in a rotation of suburban Phoenix (Glendale or Tempe), Los Angeles and San Francisco for Pacific time zone fans. If the Western Football Classic had made its hypothetical debut this season, what would the landscape have looked like on the first weekend of December?

Game 1, Phoenix, Friday, 8 p.m. Eastern: No. 1 seed USC (Pac-10 champion) vs. No. 4 seed TCU (at-large).

Game 2, Denver, Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Eastern: No. 3 seed Boise State vs. No. 2 seed Utah.

ABC, CBS, Fox Sports Net, and ESPN would have all loved to broadcast one or both of those games. Tell me that kind of event wouldn’t match the Big 12 and SEC title games in terms of popularity… It makes too much sense. Pick up the phone and dash off a fax or e-mail, and see what might happen five years down the line.

Hunter Ansley, Publisher, DraftZoo.com

Did the Mountain West give in too easily when it came to agreeing to the BCS system? What should the league do to get what it wants in 2014?

A: Absolutely not.  In fact, I think about 99% of college football fans would be willing to pat the Mountain West on the back for being the only conference ballsy enough to take a real stab at this.  Of course, I guess you could substitute the word “poor” for ballsy, but I’m still a fan of what they tried to do.

What else were they supposed heave at the BCS?  They fought with the small arsenal they had, and they came up short this time.  That’s bound to happen when you go head-to-head with all that dough.  But they shouldn’t overlook what they’ve accomplished.  They’ve got senators, presidents, fans, writers, and even a coach or two stepping onto soapboxes across the country to proclaim the good news:  we want a playoff!  Sure, there were already plenty of pundits peddling a playoff (try saying that three times in a row), but this seems to be the first time the BCS was unable to squash a proposal before it reached such national proportions.

What is funny, however, is the irony of the whole situation.  Without the BCS system, the MWC would have never been afforded the national stage on which they slammed Pittsburgh and Alabama, and thus wouldn’t have had the volume needed to make a dent in the status quo.  So, before they try this bracket business again, and I hope to God they do, they should probably thank the Bowl Championship Series for giving them the voice needed to dismantle it.


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