The Mountain West Conference is in an odd situation when regarding the BCS. The league is ahead of the other non-BCS schools, but THEY are not quite on par with the six BCS leagues. The Mountain West is stuck in the middle and does not really belong to one or the other group when looking at how the teams perform on the field.
The league is a non-BCS league, but they also have sent a team to the BCS four times with a record of 3-1 and is going to be considered for the BCS through a petition at the end of the upcoming college football season. Even with that success, the Mountain West still only receives a tiny morsel of revenue compared to the other BCS leagues.
Just last year UConn won the Big East at 8-4 and were unranked, yet they still received $21 million compared to the $12 million the Mountain West received last year when they had TCU in the Rose Bowl and who finished ranked second in the country.
The Mountain West wants to change the system and Craig Thompson proposed a playoff and the league considered walking away from signing the BCS television agreement. None of that has worked and neither has any government pressure against the BCS, well at least not yet.
Now, the Mountain West is back trying to gain the support of the other non-BCS leagues with this question: "Are you comfortable with the current system, or do you want to be engaged in a change system?"
Thompson himself wants to create a playoff push once the BCS contract expires after the 2014 season:
Thompson said he, along with league presidents and athletic directors, will informally engage their counterparts in other non-power conferences to see if there's enough support to put forth a postseason proposal different from the current, controversial Bowl Championship Series.
The BCS's contract runs through 2014. Thompson said this initiative would have to take place in the next six to eight months, in time to possibly present a BCS alternative, such as a playoff, when new television rights contract talks are expected to pick up steam concerning college football's postseason after 2014.
"What we're doing is projecting and positioning," Thompson said. "If there is going to be a change, that change has to be introduced. We introduced a playoff in '09, and we were the only ones who liked it. ... We need to be prepared to say, 'Are we going to put another proposal together like '09? Is there an alternative?' Or are we going to say, 'Let's sign on for another four years (of the BCS).'"
Ganging up in numbers is a way to cause some pressure, however the Mountain West is still working on becoming a BCS league and is playing both sides. If somehow the Mountain West is to become a BCS league the word 'playoff' would disappear from Craig Thompson's vocabulary -- at least for the two years the Mountain West would be allowed to be part of the BCS -- and he would join forces with the likes of Big 10 commissioner Jim Delany.
The last playoff proposal that Craig Thompson presented in 2009 was declined, so what has changed in two years that would convince the BCS league commissioners, school presidents and athletic directors to change their mind and go along with a playoff that would shell out a more equal share to all of the conferences.
Hat tip: Smoove V