Like the Little Conference That Could, the Mountain West has been chugging up the tracks in an attempt to curry favor from their BcS overlords and reach that automatic qualifying spot sitting atop the college football mountain.
The departure of Utah, even with the addition of Boise State, slowed that progress to a crawl, while BYU bolting would stop it dead in its tracks. Now, according to multiple reports, the conference is discussing a unique way to possibly break into the Good Ol’ Boys club and reach AQ status.
This latest development involving the non-BcS leagues started this morning with a report from the Austin American-Statesman. According to the paper, the Mountain West and what was later confirmed to be Conference USA discussed during a previously scheduled meeting the possibility of the champions from the two leagues meeting in a title game, with the winner gaining an automatic BcS berth.
This so-called play-in game idea has since been confirmed by Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports.com, with part of the thought behind this concept being, obviously, to potentially grab a guaranteed BcS berth while also serving as an attempt to coax BYU into remaining in the MWC.
It should be noted that this scenario is very much in its infancy, however, as there’s been nothing submitted to the BcS for any type of official review or discussion. Of course, the BcS will likely abort the idea if it ever comes across its delivery room, but that’s a discussion for another day.
MWC commissioner Craig Thompson, even as he confirmed the meeting with his C-USA counterparts, attempted to tap the brakes on speculation that a BcS slot is well within reach.
“We had probably set this up about a month ago,” Thompson said. “We said, ‘Let’s just talk about what’s going on if there are going to be all these superconferences …’ We did speak about, ‘What if a group of 22-24 teams were to approach the BCS about an automatic bid vs. the nine, or eight or 10-member Mountain West?’ That was on the table. I’d like to label it a ‘think session.’
“We talked [with CUSA] about marketing 24 instead of 12, 10, whatever. The bottom line is this is the first of four years. We haven’t played this year’s BCS games. This is like kindergarten in formal education. We’re just talking.”
Obviously, these conferences have to do whatever is necessary for their survival, but it’s kind of sad — especially for a conference like the MWC and a school like Boise State that’s gained so much in stature on the field these past few years — watching these conference officials have to jump through hoops and roll over and fetch, hoping that the BcS will pat them on the head, give ’em a “good boy!” and maybe allow them to hop up on the couch.
That’s yet another reason among many why I throw up in my mouth a little bit every time I think about the system currently used to determine a national champion.