It was discussed recently here on this site that the Mountain West is in a good position to gain a BCS appeal to join the Cartel and it is partly due to the BCS needing some goodwill to get the Department of Justice off of their back by providing more access. Adding the Mountain West would do that.
However, at the end of the 2013 season the BCS may not even be around because there is talk from Tony Barnhart who suggests in his latest article on CBSSports.com that the BCS schools plus Army, Navy, Notre Dame and BYU could form a 70 team division and break away from the FBS.
Here is how the split could look:
• Some time in 2012 or early 2013 the six BCS conferences announce the end of the BCS as we know it when the current contract expires after the 2014 bowl season. The 70 schools in those six conferences will be joined by independents Army, Navy, Notre Dame, and BYU to form the College Football Association (Sound familiar? It should. The original CFA was formed in 1984 and broke up when conferences began negotiating their own TV deals). The CFA will crown its own national champion, either through the bowls and polls or through a playoff. The CFA will also expand the value of its scholarships to include the full cost of attendance.
• The remaining conferences in Division I-A (Mountain West, WAC, Mid-American, Conference USA, and Sun Belt), will be joined by the best conferences in Division I-AA to form a new Division I. This division will crown a national champion with a playoff. The Big Sky, CAA, Missouri Valley and Southern conferences would be among those I-AA leagues likely to help form a new Division I-A.
What could soil these plans is that if the Mountain West is a BCS league at the time and omits them from this newly formed division, because at that current state the Mountain West would be part of the haves and would demand to be part of this new division.
That is not an ideal situation, because it leaves some teams out that are capable of competing with the top teams in the current BCS leagues out of the discussion all together for a national title. Even though now it is nearly impossible for a non-BCS team to get that far, the past two years TCU and Boise State have become close to reaching that pinnacle. The reason a split could happen is because of the Big 10 and SEC discussing offering stipends in addition to scholarships to the football players. The non-BCS leagues could not afford to offer this additional money and that will force the split.
Boise State first comes to mind in this situation since moving forward is the current non-BCS team who has proven to be able to play up to a top-10 level. Currently, the difference between the top FCS schools and the top FBS schools is a very wide margin, because even the best FCS school can not compete with the top FBS schools and are even likely to struggle against MAC and C-USA schools. There are the one-game exceptions -- that sounds odd coming from a MWC fan mentioning the one-game defense that Alabama and others have used when they lost to non-BCS schools -- with Appalachian State and James Madison upsetting top-flight FBS competition.
If this new split is made, there are still teams that can compete with the top half, or even higher of this new division. Teams like Duke, Indiana, Washington State and others would struggle in C-USA or Mountain West, but they get to move up because of their conference partners who are deserving.
A playoff most likely would be had at this new FBS/FCS combo division, but the money would not be there and the amount of scholarships would most likely be reduced from the current 85 that is allotted to the FBS schools down to the current 63 that is allotted for FCS schools. Players who would have gone on to star at these schools like Boise State, Houston and others may now elect to go to the bottom schools of this new division because there are more scholarships around. That would ultimately make the new-FBS essentially what FCS is now, a bunch of schools where games are sparsely attended and rarely on television.
Personally, this split seems like it is the most extreme measure and I do not think it will happen because if the additional stipend to football players is approved by the Big 10 and SEC then followed by the rest of the BCS leagues it will be challenged immediately. The other student-athletes feel they should be compensated as well and then Title IX would come into play as well. Then it may go to court and spend possibly years there and delay any split -- or maybe turned down right away -- and ultimately it will fail and we are back where we started with regarding college football.
As for what format goes on beyond 2013 is anyone's guess. It could be the current format, the old bowl system, a plus-one or an actual playoff -- I know a long shot.
Follow Mountain West Connection via Twitter and Facebook for News Quick Hits and Random Nonsense.