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 real concrete evidence the only thing close is a mystery letter last November, which Boise State had supposedly received and it indicated that the Mountain West will invite the school to the conference in the spring of 2009 That did not happen, but look for the call to come in the spring or summer of 2010.
My reasoning for that is historically Boise State has usually been ranked in the top 20 at the end of the season. Then there is the most important factor that during the first three years of this new BCS evaluation cycle Boise should still continue their typical WAC dominance and then have one year in the Mountain West. Those wins during their time in the WAC would all count toward the Mountain West even though they would have been in the league for just one year. That first year in the MWC may not result in a 11 win season for the Broncos, 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 because of 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 loss, 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 yield UNLV, SDSU, and the others who have been at the bottom of the league could make a jump like Cincinnati.
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 previous three years will count and that could possibly move the MWC to an automatic qualifier in the BCS.