Mountain West inclusion to BCS? Don’t hold your breath


For those who are of the mindset that the Mountain West conference is equally deserving of a spot at the grown-ups table in college football, prepare to — once again — be disappointed.

For those who relish in the status quo, feel free to keep your hand firmly placed on the head of your metaphorical kid brother as he continues to violently swing at air.

According to information obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the BCS pundits are currently three-quarters of the way through a four-year evaluation period (2008-2011) to determine the continued membership of their exclusive, no-girls-allowed club.

The process, which uses a three-pronged statistical smorgasbord of numbers, evaluates the status of the six current “power conferences” and whether any additional conferences should be included.

And, as of today, it would appear the Mountain West will still be on the outside looking in come 2012.

The reason is because each conference, in order to maintain BCS membership, must achieve a minimum rank in each of the three performance-based criteria established by the BCS. The statistical criteria includes: average rank of highest-ranked team (must be in top six), average computer ranking of all teams in conference (must be in top six) and number and ranking of teams in Top 25, adjusted for league size (must be in top 50 percent).

Trust me, that was just as confusing to write as I’m sure it was to read.

So, to visualize how the Mountain West fared against other BCS conferences, click HERE. Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute to look it over.

The numbers show the Mountain West ranks among the top six conferences in college football in two of the three categories, but fails to rank in the top six in “average computer ranking measuring the overall strength of the league”.

In order to receive an automatic bid as a BCS conference, the Mountain West would have to meet all three statistical criteria. The MWC could also win an appeal with the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee “if it is in the top six in the first two criteria, or top five in one and top seven in the other, AND within 33.3 percent of top conference in the third.”


This is not about pushing for the MWC out of some unfounded need for equality. This is about what’s doing best for the sport. The numbers used to come up with this “criteria” are petty. They’re the bouncer at a night club who allows some people in while others wait, all in the hope of improving their own self image. They’re the opposite of the big picture. More than anything, they’re truly beyond explanation and logic. I imagine if someone were to try and pitch these numbers to a CEO of a major company, it would go something like this:

There are too many if’s, and’s or but’s — most of it determined by somebody not strapping on the shoulder pads each Saturday — in the current postseason format. If a team can play, they’ve earned the opportunity to compete for a greater goal.

And that’s what is best for the sport.

Florida RB Mark Thompson cited for pot possession

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 15:  Mark Thompson #24 of the Florida Gators rushes for yardage during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 15, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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And now we know a little bit more of the rest of the story.

Friday afternoon, Florida announced that Mark Thompson would not travel with the rest of the team to Jacksonville for Saturday’s game against Georgia.  The only reason given was “some choices and decisions he’s made.”

According to the Orlando Sentinel, one of those choices was smoking weed, with that decision resulting in a citation for possession of marijuana.  The citation was issued after the running back ran a stop sign very early Thursday morning and was pulled over by a university police officer.

From the Sentinel:

UFPD spokesperson Maj. Brad Barber said the officer smelled the odor of marijuana in the car and after a search discovered Thompson in possession of fewer than 20 grams of the substance.

Thompson was given a notice to appear for the misdemeanor violation and also cited for failure to stop at a stop sign and failure to provide proof of insurance.

Thompson, a 6-2, 237-pound redshirt junior, is currently third on the Gators in rushing yards (262) and second in rushing touchdowns (two). This is the back’s first season in Gainesville after transferring in from the junior college ranks earlier this year.

Nebraska WR Jordan Westerkamp set to return after two-game absence

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 10: Wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp #1 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers grabs a touchdown pass against linebacker D.J. May #7 of the Wyoming Cowboys at Memorial Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Wyoming 52-14. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
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When undefeated and seventh-ranked Nebraska takes the field for its biggest game of the 2016 season thus far, it’ll do so with one of the most experienced and productive pieces of its passing game back in action.

Jordan Westerkamp sustained an injury to his back during the Week 5 win over Illinois, and was briefly hospitalized after being hit by an Illini defender. The wide receiver missed the Week 7 win over Indiana and the Purdue win the following Saturday because of the injury.

This week, however, Westerkamp practiced without any type of restrictions ahead of the Week 9 game against No. 11 Wisconsin in Madison. Westerkamp, who stated his injuries included tiny fractures on the transverse process in his spine as well as what was described as a deep muscle bruise, confirmed the obvious, that he will suit up for the Cornhuskers and play against the Badgers in the huge Big Ten West matchup.

“It’s been good,” Westerkamp said, by way of the Omaha World-Herald, of his return to practice. “My confidence is at an all-time high and we’re ready to go get back with the team and kick butt this Saturday.”

At the time of the injury, Westerkamp led the Cornhuskers in receiving touchdowns (four) and tied for the team lead in receptions (13). His 228 receiving yards were second behind Alonzo Moore‘s 310.
Last season, Westerkamp led the ‘Huskers in all three of those categories.

‘Due to some choices and decisions he’s made,’ Florida RB Mark Thompson won’t play vs. UGA

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Mark Thompson #24 of the Florida Gators in action during the second half of the game against the North Texas Mean Green at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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Sounding very similar to a disappointed parent, Florida has announced that one of their kids will be in timeout instead of on the field this weekend.

Ahead of Saturday’s annual rivalry game with Georgia, Florida announced via Twitter that running back Mark Thompson not only won’t play this Saturday but won’t even make the trip to Jacksonville for The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.  Why? “[D]ue to some choices and decisions he’s made.”

The school, obviously, will not go into any further details as to the issue or issues that will sideline the player.

Thompson, a 6-2, 237-pound redshirt junior, is currently third on the Gators in rushing yards (262) and second in rushing touchdowns (two). This is the back’s first season in Gainesville after transferring in from the junior college ranks earlier this year.

Big 12 eschews two-division setup; instead, top two teams to play in league title game

WVU vs Marshall
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The Big 12 earlier this month eschewed expansion.  A short time later, they’ve done the same for splitting up the conference.

The league announced late Friday morning that, when the conference championship game returns for the 2017 season, there will be no split into two five-team divisions.  Instead, the teams with the best and second-best record in conference play will square off in the conference championship game.

Each conference member will continue to play nine league games every season, one against each other member.

“There are a number of advantages to matching our top two teams,” said commissioner Bob Bowlsby in a statement. “Given our round-robin, nine-game scheduling model, it is expected the Big 12 champion will be uniquely positioned for College Football Playoff consideration. I would argue there will be no path more difficult than our champion’s, where it will have played every team in the Conference, faced at least one Autonomy Conference non-conference opponent, and then plays in our championship game.

“The guaranteed No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup will be a great game for our fans, and it’s hard to imagine a stronger position for a conference champion.”

The release gave no indication as to how three-way ties would be handled, although CFP rankings would likely come into play.  The decision to not split into two divisions likely won’t sit well with the league’s coaches, however, even as it’s arguably the wisest decision the conference has made in years.

The conference also revealed that the site of the 2017 conference championship game “will be announced in the coming weeks.” AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, is widely believed to be the front-runner for at least the first renewal, and is viewed as the far and away favorite if the league opts to “anchor” the game at one site for a period of years.