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Mr. Thompson Goes to Washington

On Friday Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson went to Washington to stump for the MWC about the BCS. Thompson was in DC to just bring awareness about the league which had its best year in league history with three teams finish in the final top 16 in the BCS standings. In about two weeks Thompson plans to submit a proposal for changes in the BCS, and nothing was mentioned and Thompson's statement was

Our proposal will basically be for a more equitable system and we will have some suggested changes in the determination and a little more performance-based results and determination.

Besides proposing an auto bid not sure what Thompson is planning to propose to the BCS in terms of changes. The only proposal that comes to mind would incorporate some type of a playoff within the BCS, because that makes the only sense outside of including the Mountain West in the BCS.

This trip was actually something the league was considering before this seasons success that ended with two teams in the top 10 final poll, and with Utah winning the Sugar Bowl. Good thing this season happened, because while the league had made progression with Utah winning the Fiesta Bowl in the 2004 season and with BYU and TCU finishing the season in the top 15 the previous three years.

The league has had six seasons where they had a winning record against non-conference opponents, and in the leagues history the MWC does not have a winning record against teams from the current BCS leagues. The overall sample is small, but the combined winning percentage against BCS leagues is 37.1%. Below are two charts illustrating this:

MWC's records against the other conference
Conference Games W L Win pct. PF PA
ACC 14 6 8 42.9 23.9 24.0
Big 10 20 6 14 30.0 18.1 24.4
Big 12 45 17 28 37.8 21.1 27.0
Big East 8 3 5 37.5 28.3 31.5
C-USA 30 18 12 60.0 27.0 22.2
Independents 36 20 16 55.6 29.0 24.4
MAC 10 5 5 50.0 23.2 26.5
Pac-10 70 26 44 37.1 19.8 26.5
SEC 15 6 9 40.0 24.1 30.1
Sun Belt 14 11 3 78.6 36.1 16.3
WAC 71 41 30 57.7 28.1 24.2
Note: Includes all current MWC teams since 1999, and TCU since 2005.
Annual nonconference records
Year W L Bowls
1999 22 13 1-2
2000 18 20 3-0
2001 20 18 2-1
2002 18 27 0-3
2003 24 18 2-1
2004 18 17 2-1
2005 15 17 2-2
2006 19 21 3-1
2007 24 16 4-1
2008 25 11 3-2

Well, not everyone is excited that Craig Thompson is pursing better acces for the MWC, and the biggest is Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters. Waters has been the Sun Belt commissioner for the past 10 years and he fears for his own conference. It already has limited bowl opportunities and he doesn't want to see any of those disappear because they produce much-needed money for the Sun Belt.

Another good point Waters makes is:

"In my mind, if you are what you say you are, why do you need an automatic qualifier? If you are as good as you say you are then you don't need the protection of an automatic qualifier."

I can see Waters working, because with one less at-large spot it then makes it nearly impossible for a non-BCS team to get into a BCS game, and in turn that gives less money to his league. Currently the way the BCS works that the non-BCS schools get a share of the money when a non-BCS team makes one of the major bowl games. The Sun Belt among others would potentially lose out on money if the Mountain West becomes the seventh leauge to gain automatic access for their conference champion.

Craig Thompson along with the nine school presidents are not dumb, and they know nothing will happen with these meetings and proposals for the 2009 season, but they hope to make changes during the current four year evaluation cycle. However in saying that the reason for these meetings and mentions is to keep the league in the public eye and keep reminding everyone how good the league was last year and in recent years.

That explains why a about a month ago Craig Thompson mentioned his idea to begin discussions on the MWC being included,then there was this current trip to DC, and most certainly the actual proposal in about another month. The league is staying in the public eye, but the big news will be the unveiling of the proposal by Craig Thompson.

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