Monday, January 26, 2009

Mountain West Seeking BCS Bid

In response to this story today, I posted an idea that's been bouncing around in my head over on the message board at CBSSports (formerly Sportsline).

I figured it was worth cross-posting it here, particularly because I haven't given you all anything new this weekend....enjoy!

Rather than giving the Mountain West an automatic bid to the BCS (and making it even harder for schools from the WAC, MAC, Conf USA to get into the BCS) I think there should be a "Mid-Major Championship Game" (for lack of a better term).

The game could be played the same weekend as all the other conference championship games and would feature the top 2 schools (according to the BCS rankings) from non-BCS conferences. The winner would get an automatic bid to the BCS. The game could be played at a neutral site, and I'm sure some TV network would snatch it up. Dr. Pepper sponsors all the other Conference Championship games, so I would bet they'd be willing to sponsor this one too.

All rankings given hereafter are the BCS rankings of the teams at the time the game would have been played (BCS rankings as of the end of the regular season, prior to championship week).

Just for reference, this year's matchup would have been #6 Utah (12-0) v. #9 Boise State (12-0).

In 2007, the matchup would have been #12 Hawaii (12-0) v. #19 BYU (10-2)

In 2006, the matchup would have been #8 Boise St (12-0) v. #10 Notre Dame (10-2) or #21 BYU (10-2), depending on whether or not this play-in game would include Notre Dame (I think it should).

2005: #8 Notre Dame (9-2) v. #14 TCU (10-1) (once again, working under the assumption the play-in game applies to ND)

2004: #6 Utah (11-0) v. #8 Boise St (11-0)

Now for some points of reference. Let's look at the ACC Conference Championship Games. Years in bold are ones where the ACC Championship game matchup is better (higher ranked teams) than the Mid-Major Championship would have been.

2008: #17 Boston College v.#25 Virginia Tech
2007: #11 Boston College v. #6 Virginia Tech
2006: #17 Wake Forest v. #22 Georgia Tech
2005: unranked Florida State v. #5 Virginia Tech

Only 1 of the past 4 ACC Championships presented a better matchup, according to the BCS standings at the time, than the Mid-Major Championship would have.

Big XII Championships:

2008: #2 Oklahoma v. #20 Missouri
2007: #1 Missouri v. #9 Oklahoma
2006: #12 Oklahoma v. #20 Nebraska
2005: #2 Texas v. unranked Colorado
2004: #2 Oklahoma v. unranked Colorado

Only 1 of the past 5 Big 12 Championships presented a better matchup. This year's Oklahoma-Missou matchup was not considered "better" because the mid-major matchup would have featured two Top 10 teams with undefeated records.

SEC Championships:

2008: #1 Alabama v. #4 Florida
2007: #7 LSU v. #14 Tennessee
2006: #4 Florida v. #9 Arkansas
2005: #4 LSU v. #13 Georgia
2004: #3 Auburn v. #15 Tennessee

The SEC is the only conference of the 3 major conferences with championship games that can consistently boast a "better" matchup in their championship game (4 of 5).

Therefore, it can be concluded that in 4 of the past 5 years (2007 being the only exception), the "Mid-Major Championship Game" would have presented a better matchup than at least one conference championship game that year. In fact, besides 2007, the Mid-Major Game was better than 2 of the 3 conference championships.

Now, I realize this presents a problem for the MAC and Conf USA that have their own conference championship games. However, as we can see, neither the MAC nor Conf USA would have been represented in the Game. If I were making the policy, I would say that if a MAC or Conf USA team was one of the top 2 Mid-Major teams in the BCS, they would go to the Mid-Major Championship Game and their place in their own conference championship game would be taken by the next best team in their conference. This is the one shaky area of the policy, but from a competitive standpoint, I think it is pretty clear that awarding the winner of a "Play-in" or "Mid-Major Championship Game" an automatic bid to the BCS would not be a bad idea. In fact, the Play-in Game would likely generate a better matchup than some of the major conference title games.

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