Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Following up

I wrote last week about Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and the apparent pointlessness of his visit to Washington to meet with Congressional aides.

The upshot was this:
I'm not sure exactly what it is Thompson wishes to accomplish here other than land his own conference an automatic bid.
The answer: Nothing ... and that's creating some friction between Thompson and the commissioners of the other non-BCS conferences.

I believe that Thompson could have actually garnered support for a sweeping change to the BCS had he really pressed the issue in Washington, be instead of pointing out the flaws in the system and proposing a legitimate change, he got greedy and demanded the one thing nobody was going to support -- an auto-bid for his conference, but none of the other non-automatic qualifiers. Basically, "We want ours."

Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters, WAC commissioner Karl Benson and MAC commissioner Paul Chryst have all spoken out against Thompson's proposal, saying that it doesn't benefit anyone other than the Mountain West (obviously).

"There are only 10 slots," Waters said. "If you go from six to seven automatic qualifiers then you're filling three at-large spots rather than four. And when you've only got four, every one of them is important. I am not in favor of a seventh automatic qualifying team."

Thompson's proposal won't get him anywhere, and that's fine with me -- as I've mentioned before, the Mountain West was strong at the top last season but has no real argument for an auto-bid. Utah is still the only Mountain West team to earn a spot in the BCS -- it's been there twice in the 11 years the BCS has been in effect -- while in that same period, the Mountain West's record against all other conferences is a spectacular ... um, 159-174. To say that one strong season overrides 10 years of history is absurd.

Graham Watson, ESPN's non-BCS conference blogger, points out the hypocrisy of it all:
... that strong opposition to the BCS hasn't stopped the Mountain West from pocketing the $10 million it received from the BCS for Utah's appearance in the Sugar Bowl.
If you're willing to reap the benefits, don't go crying afterward. Thompson could have demanded change, but his proposal shows what he really wanted: Guaranteed money.

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