The MWC Expansion Checkup will happen every Friday and will feature topics of MWC Expansion.
Off the bat, let's go over how Boise State would get into the Mountain West Conference. With the BCS Evaluation period ending in 2011, we are going to need them in the conference during that season. According to the BCS, if we have them in the conference during the 2011 season, we get all their stats for the BCS Evaluation Period. In order for Boise St. to be able to be in the conference during the 2011 season, they have to have accepted an invite from the MWC by July 1, 2010 according to WAC rules (Boise St. is currently in the WAC). WAC rules state that in order to leave for another conference, they have to give at least one years notice. Also according to the WAC, the deadline for notice is July 1st. For Boise St., it would be a no-brainer to go to the MWC, better competition, better recruiting markets, less travel and possibly getting BCS Money. The only thing that everyone is waiting on is for the MWC to extend the invite.
A few weeks back the BCS released its criteria to become an automatic qualifying conference. According to the criteria, the Mountain West Conference is currently third in category one, seventh in category two, and third in category three. In order to become the seventh BCS automatic qualifying conference you either have to be at least sixth in every category, or if you are at least third in two categories and seventh in the remaining one, you can make a petition for an exemption. We are currently in position for a petition to be on the safe side we should try to get category two to at least sixth, and can anyone really trust the BCS to anything remotely fair. In order to do that we have to jump either the Pac-10 or Big 10 in category two to make it into the top six.
Category two is the final regular season rankings of all conference teams in the computer rankings used by the BCS each year. The way they compile this is with each year's final regular season computer rankings for each team and is then averaged together. The MWC is currently at 58.61, the Big 10 is currently at 50.91, and the Pac-10 is currently at 49.85. If the Mountain West is to jump either of those conferences, they are going to have to make major strides in the computer rankings, and the only real way to do that without expansion is through major non-conference success (so in-otherwords root for any MWC team during a non-conference game), and the bottom teams like San Diego State, UNLV, and New Mexico need to play much better.
Although expansion would majorly help because the BCS states that whatever conference a team is a member of in 2011, that conference gets all their statistics. Therefore if Boise St. starts playing in the MWC in 2011, the MWC also gets all of Boise St.'s stats in 2008, 2009 and 2010. With Boise St. having done great in 2008 and 2009, the MWC would love to get their stats, in fact Boise St. has done so well the past 2 years that if they join the MWC the MWC's numbers for category two rise to 53.46.
The Pac-10 is expected to have a down year this season and that means they probably will drop their category two rating down to around 51. Boise St. is expected to start the season in the rankings anywhere from 3 to 8, and that will help very much because if they go undefeated again, they could end up #1 in the rankings at the end of the season. It is a lot more possible for them to go undefeated this season than it is for next season just because next season, many starters are graduating in 2011, the competition of still being in the WAC will be much worse, considering what the competition is in the MWC.
Another main factor that would help a lot is expanding to 12 instead of 10 and adding Houston and Fresno St. Houston was in the top 40 of the final BCS Rankings, and I believe Fresno St. was somewhere between 50 and 60. Adding those two along with Boise St. would definitely improve the bottom of the MWC.
The thing that would really send us over the top is if we added Boise St., Fresno St., and Houston, and all the bottom feeders at the bottom of the league went at least 4-8. If that happens, we should jump both the Big 10 and Pac-10 because that season will dramatically increase our rating.
Lastly, this has nothing to do with BCS Automatic Qualification, Boise St. helps money-wise, even if that doesn't mean a BCS Automatic Qualification. If Boise St. joins the Mountain West Conference, that means that instead of 3 marquee conference games a season, there are 6. By doubling the amount of marquee conference games, that brings in a lot more cash. The only real thing that Boise St. doesn't bring is a big recruiting or media market, but Boise St. is quickly gaining a national following. If you don't believe me, see how many people are following OBNUG's (One Bronco Nation Under God is the SBNation Boise St. blog) facebook and twitter pages.
So how much does Boise St. help? They bring in cash, whether that means BCS Money or just more marquee games. They don't give us that AQ without petition, but they do get us much closer than what we would have to do on our own without them.
Next week, I will look at how much Fresno St. and Houston help the Mountain West Conference.