The whole college football post season is changing with bowl system reverting back to its old ways as well as the new four-team college football playoff. The playoff is getting all the noise, but the bowl system is back on the open market and the Mountain West needs to do something.
Yes, the league is not the same with the recent loses and the odds of them landing in the new four-team playoff are slim, and making it to the other four major bowls will be a tough task.
The reports vary on access for the other four bowls, and with the Orange Bowl signed a 12-year deal with the ACC plus saying that if their league champion is in the playoffs the next ACC team slides in. Then there is a report that says the selection to other major bowls will be mostly based on merit.
With the selection process still unknown the Mountain West needs to make a move and get into a better bowl game.
The best way to do this is possibly try to sneak into one of the Big 12 spots. Here is the lineup for the Big 12 for the next two seasons:
No. 1 Fiesta Bowl
No. 2 The Cotton Bowl Classic
No. 3 The Alamo Bowl
No. 4 The Insight Bowl
No. 5 The Holiday Bowl
No. 6 The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
No. 7 The New Era Pinstripe Bowl
However, once the playoffs come around the top spot goes to the Champions Bowl against the SEC, but in reality the league champion will more than likely be in the four-team playoffs. So, based on that here is what the Big 12 lineup may look like for the 2014 season:
No. 1 Playoffs
No. 2 Champions Bowl
No. 3 Fiesta Bowl
No. 4 The Cotton Bowl Classic
No. 5 The Alamo Bowl
No. 6 The Insight Bowl
No. 7 The Holiday Bowl
No. 8 The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
No. 9 The New Era Pinstripe Bowl
The odds that the Big 12 keeps all of those bowl bids while having only 10 teams is not going to happen. There is only one bowle that make sense for the Mountain West to try to get into. The Fiesta Bowl, because first they have one open at-large spot, and second it is pushed down the pecking order for the Big 12 by now being where the third place team goes and maybe the fourth if the Big 12 gets two teams in the playoff on occasion.
The Fiesta Bowl can either be an at-large bowl for both spots while being one of the six major bowl games and pick who they wish, make a side deal with Notre Dame which could easily happen or perhaps partner with the only other Western league out there. History has shown that the Mountain West champion is deserving of a seat at the table, but I also realize that was with teams now heading onto better leagues.
So, that may not be the case come 2013 when Wyoming or Nevada wins the league, because that is when we will see how the Mountain West is treated in the polls. It is worth a shot for the Mountain West to try to up their bowl situation with the Fiesta Bowl, but would the Fiesta Bowl then be a major bowl with the Mountain West champion, probably not.
Assuming the Fiesta Bowl is part of the rotation they will become an at-large bowl game, and really that is still good news for the Mountain West since it would mean one less guaranteed spot for a power league.
The Holiday Bowl might be the best option since they would play the third or sometimes fourth team from the Pac-12. That is a huge upgrade for the Mountain West champion, and while last year was not the best example with USC on probation. The likely opponent in the future would be a team with a 9-3 record and could be a team ranked near the bottom of the top 25, and be a game between two ranked teams.
Getting into the Fiesta Bowl is highly unlikely and if that can not be done the Mountain West must look further and try to somehow get a better matchup for their league champion, and maybe the Holiday Bowl is where they should start.
Keeping the status quo is not the way to go because with a playoff the Pac-12 opponent will likely be one step down when their league champion is in the playoff, and the Mountain West champion could be facing a 6-6 team.
Either make the Las Vegas Bowl more attractive and grab a better opponent, or go after the Holiday Bowl. Something must be done.
For more Mountain West Connection Follow @JeremyMauss