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Mountain West Supports Four-Team Playoff, Wants 'Equitable Revenue Distribution'

The Mountain West ended their spring meetings last week, and nothing of note came from those meetings. The league did discuss playoff options and they supported a four-team playoff model as a "progressive step":

"With regard to the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), support was expressed for the four-team playoff model as a progressive step, and the group discussed options related to bracket composition, selection process and competition venues. There was consensus for a conference champion component and playing the semifinal games within the bowl structure. The BOD did advocate for an equitable revenue distribution model which includes an academic performance element."

First off, it does not really matter what the Mountain West has to say, but they did need to announce what post season format that they support. We already knew that commissioner Craig Thompson hates the BCS and has had his own playoff ideas of his own. I am sure the Mountain West would want a larger playoff, but they are going with the chalk of a four-team model.

One key phrase that stood out was "advocate for an equitable revenue distribution model." This is where the negotiations will turn into a cage match. Currently the non-automatic qualifying schools get a pittance share of the BCS money compared to the AQ schools.

A playoff will likely have a price tag of possibly over $100 million for the three extra games, and possibly even more. So, there needs to be a way to distribute money on an equal basis. The conferences who get teams in to the playoff should earn more money and the two teams who advance to the title game should get even more.

However, the rest of the money will be tough to dole out when a league is not in the playoff. The current non-AQ schools will take whatever is given to them, but there will be a big fight with the ACC and Big East to try to earn a similar share to the Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC and Big 12. While the Big Six leagues want equal money there are only four spots in the playoff, so the two that don't get in should be earning less money.

Since this new post season format is a negotiation and not a vote it will be difficult to get everyone on the same page. I have two suggestions, first is to give every league that does not get a team into the playoff an equal share, and the other is to have a performance based pay out for teams who do not make the playoff. It will likely be the latter and give more money to the current power leagues while the Mountain West, MAC, Conference USA and Sun Belt get a lesser share.

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