Clearly BSU will finish with a top 10 ranking, and by getting them to join the MWC, that will help their statistical criteria (since they can count BSU's 2006 season in the WAC as performance by an MWC member retor-actively, like the BE did with Louisville's showing in 2003-04 while they were still in CUSA).
Since it's a 4-year review (2004-07), Louisville's 2003 season doesn't count, but 2004 does.
I think June 30th is the expansion deadline (with regard to filing changes with the NCAA), so look for the MWC to make a move between now and then.
How do they get out of the one-year notification requirement? I don't think that BSU can make a move until 2008 at the earliest.
NOW - Suppose you are the WAC commissioner and want to play defense ! IS the MWC truly more appealing ? The WAC teams got the payout from the BCS this year. If money and security aside, BSU would be just as comfortable in the WAC, would the WAC commissioner make a run at the westernmost MWC schools, namely San Diego State and UNLV ?
Rather than sit back and get picked apart, maybe the WAC should go on offense, or they could find themselves at a critically small size and begging Big Sky teams to move up ASAP.
Does the MWC really have the upper hand ? They have bigger TV markets, no question. But the MWC has not been terribly successful with their BCS and TV endeavors... hardly moreso than the WAC.
I will be surprised if nothing happens over the next few months...
Excellent points about the TV stuff. When all is said & done, that is the biggest hurdle for these mountain conferences. The schools that have exclusivity in their states (Utah/BYU, UNLV, UNM, Wyo) are working with a combined population base in the 4 states smaller than New York City alone. Not the NYC metro area - just the city itself. They draw a lot of fans to their stadiums, but they don't enhance the BCS TV exposure. TCU & San Diego State help as would the addition of Fresno State, but they still play in the shadows of the Big XII & the Pac Ten respectively.
For the same reason (TV), the Big East has remained attractive to the BCS because they have exclusivity in 4 states (NY, NJ, CT, WV) with a population of 33 million. For all of their other problems, these demographics don't change.
I think that the quality of the Mountain West teams would have to overwhelm the BCS for them to get an automatic bid. Since it's a top to bottom review, the BCS will not only be looking at the success of Utah, TCU, & potentially BSU, but they will also be looking at UNLV, CSU, & SDSU, which were all among the bottom 20 in IA this year. The addition of Fresno State would bring the 10 million person market of the valley, but it will also bring a program that has fallen on hard times & is no longer near the program it was a few years ago.
Even an enhanced Mountain West will be a hard sell since the BCS can now legitimately point to the fact that teams from conferences without an automatic bid now will be selected to a BCS bowl if they're good enough. They can point to BSU & Utah in the past 3 years as exhibits one & two.