This has been a hot topic over the past couple of days with articles ranging from Yahoo's Dan Wetzel writing an article where Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson says "I don’t think it’s inconceivable that a 12-0 Mountain West team could arguably play for the national championship." That might a bit over zealous, but I understand it is his job to sell the league
An ESPN article rates the Mountain West above the ACC and the Big East conferences at this point.
Just to be clear upfront, but my bias may show here, but every attempt will be made to not over value the Mountain West. As of now the Mountain West has a legitimate argument to be ranked anywhere from 3rd to 5th overall. Do no laugh some facts will be presented below.
Obviously the SEC and the Big XII are better then the rest of the 11 division 1-A conferences. Then there is the Big East and ACC which in my opinion are ranked either sixth or seventh. Below arguments will be made for and against the respected rankings, and I will start with number three.
3. Big 10 - This does pain me to put this league here, but with 4 teams ranked in the top 25, and 3 in the top 15, so they get the nod. Their overall record is impressive and some of the schools did schedule some good non conference opponents such as, USC, Utah, Cal, Missouri, Fresno State, and Oregon. However the Big 10 is known for playing local directional schools or I-AA schools.
Overall record: 25-6 .806
BCS Bowl Record: 8-8
4. Mountain West- Pac-10, ACC, and Big East do not get your pants in a bunch this conference is legit, with their top three teams that could win the Big East or ACC this year and compete for a top 3 spot year in and year out. In the Pac-10 the league would not beat USC this year, and may be able to beat Oregon for a second place finish. Every other year the MWC could have a team finish in the top 3 of the MWC. The Mountain West has a 5-2 record against BCS schools, with a few left to play, and a current 5-0 record against the Pac-10. The MWC is looking to have its second straight year with five teams with 8 wins or more. The depth has been an issue with UNLV and San Diego State the bottom of the league, but that changed when UNLV upset then #15 Arizona State on the road. Currently BYU and Utah are the only ranked teams in the top 25, but look for TCU to join next week and the league should have three teams in the top 25 by years end. One convinving fact is that since last season to now the MWC has a 8-5 record against the Pac-10. Also, it looks as if the MWC winner either BYU, Utah, or TCU has a tougher time winning their league then USC of the Pac-10
Overal Record: 18-8 .692
BCS Bowl Record: 1-0, 2004 Utah over Pitt
5. Pac-10 - Everyone knows that this past weekeind the Pac-10 wnt 2-8, and 0-4 against the Mountain West this past weekend. That record could easily have been 1-9 if not for the Purdue kicker who could not make a field goal. USC is far and away the best team in the league, and now with Oregon losing thier starting Quarterback for at least the next four weeks, it is basically smooth sailing for USC. The only concern is in the polls will be if the voters will realize the weakness of the Pac-10 this year or will they vote based on brand name rather then the talent level. That is the only way, in my opinioin, that USC will not make the title game. The bottom of the Pac-10 in Washington and Washington State are putrid and if San Diego State were to play those teams they would give them a chance. If you were to compare the bottom five from the MWC and Pac-10 it is very close, but the difference in the league is the top half where the Mountain West has an edge with 3 teams in or near the rankings, while the Pac-10 has two, but Oregon is quetionable with the loss of their quarterback for at least a month.
Overal Record: 14-14 .500
BCS Bowl Record: 7-6
6. ACC - The season started off bad with Clemson showing its true colors as a fraud when they were soundly defeated by Alabama on a neutral field, and then there was Virginia Tech losing at home to East Carolina. Their overall record is solid, but 11 of wins came against I-AA opponents. The ACC typically has one or two teams that are very good at the top, but this looks to be one of the worst years in a while. This was to be a league after adding Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Miami would contend for national titles each year. A fun fact is that the ACC has never had more then one team in a BCS bowl game.
Overal Record: 20-11 .645
BCS Bowl Record: 1-9
7. Big East The Big East again has shown that they are not that good, their best team who has a new coach was beaten at h ome, by East Carolina. South Florida looks to be the class of the league, after only having a football program for about a decade. West Virgina should rebound because of the athletes they have, but those look to be the only two above average teams in the league. Connecticut is a fraud and will fall at the end of the season. The bottom is even worse with Rutgers falling of the face of the planet in just one year, and Syracuse who is as bad as any team in the country.
Overal Record: 10-9 .526
BCS Bowl Record: 4-6
Now while the auto bids will not change until the 2010, if they do because that is when the current BCS contract expires. Right now there is a forumal that is every four years that can determine who gets in and who is out. A more fun solution would be to use the European soccer model where there is regulation, which means conferences must have teams with a certain amount of wins or rankings to be in the automatic BCS qualifiers, and this could take place every year.