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Mountain West Conference Expansion Checkup: Boise St. to the Mountain West and Utah to the Pac-10 (12)

The conference has changed a lot in the past few days. We invited Boise St. and they accepted. We were ecstatic and all thought we were going to be a BCS league. Then the Big 12 was able to keep Texas from going to the Pac-10 and a shot of fear ran through all of our blood except for Utah fans. The Pac-10 now had 11 teams and even though it was shown as a possibility that they stay there, most of us agreed that they wanted to go to 12 now to just get the championship game instead of the creating the Pac-16. On Thursday, it happened, Utah left the MWC for the Pac-10. So essentially for the MWC, we swapped Utah for Boise St., which could be a good or bad thing.

Utah was a key part in our quest to become a BCS conference, but Boise St. might actually help us more when it comes to becoming a BCS conference. The criteria for us to become a BCS Conference is stated here, but in short, we have already locked up the BCS Qualification in 2 of the 3 categories. The category that we currently don't make the cut is overall conference strength. The way this category works is each team in your conference has a BCS ranking for each year. Their rankings for all four years are averaged to create their value. Then all values for your teams in your conference are averaged together and you get the overall conference strength. At the time that the criteria was released, we had Utah not Boise St. in the conference, and our value was 59. In order to meet the requirements to become a BCS conference we must finish 6th in each category and that 59 put us in 7th for the final category.

We were far behind the Big 10 and Pac-10, with the Big 10 at 51 and the Pac-10 at 49. After the jump, I'll show what's changed and what we're going to have to now do in order to become a BCS Conference.

With the addition of Boise St. and the subtraction of Utah, our BCS chances actually improved. Now of course they didn't improve as much as they would have if Utah would have stayed, but they did improve from the time that the BCS Automatic Qualification criteria was released. Boise St.'s value is higher than Utah's by 5 points and actually brings our conference value up by one point. Not to mention that Boise St. is expected to start the season ranked as high as 3rd in the country and their value will probably go up just from that. TCU is also expected to start the season ranked fairly high with them as high as 6th in some pre-season polls. Utah is expected to start the season ranked in the area of 20-25, but some have them unranked. So in that sense, if TCU and Boise St. are able to go undefeated, it would help majorly in our quest to become a BCS conference.

Where it really comes down to though is the bottom feeders in our conference. We had four teams have a losing record last season, and all of them ranking 86th or lower. We're going to need the bottom feeders to step it up and get in 60's or 70's in the BCS rankings. If they can bring each of their values up by just 5 points each, then we should either be in 6th or just behind 6th. So we are going to need a lot of non-conference success from all of our teams in order to have all of the scenarios of TCU going undefeated, Boise St. going undefeated, and our bottom feeders stepping up their rankings.

The only team you might not want to root for this coming year is Utah. Now that they are heading to the Pac-10, all their statistics are going to be in the Pac-10. So any success for Utah is now hated because it doesn't help the MWC any more, it justs help the Pac-10, and since the Pac-10 is one of the groups we are trying to catch, we now need Utah to do as bad as possible.

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