I agree. Bringing just TCU into the Mountain West is the best move. The MWC on paper deserves a BCS automatic bid with its own geographical footprint. They haven't put out the quality teams at the top to really deserve the BCS. If the BCS was around in the 80's, the WAC would of played its way into an automatic bid, with teams like BYU and Air Force finishing high. The problem the MWC faces now is that you can't build a BCS caliber program without being in a BCS conference. It effects your recruiting so negatively by not having that BCS berth.
Unfortunetly, TCU will just have to use the new BCS access rules to somehow convince recruits that they are in contention for the BCS every year despite being in a conference without an automatic bid. And you can be in BCS contention every year if you can keep winning 10 games a season.
Swinging the value of 9 teams around to the Big East, I'm suprised the Big East didn't try to offer East Carolina Football Only. ECU would of jumped on the opportunity. Between Memphis, ECU, and Marshall, ECU gives the most benefit to the Big East in recruiting. ECU brings you a presence the Carolinas, and the Tidewater area of Virginia. ECU is a recruiting bridge to South Florida.
I also think Delaware could do well in the Big East and would be a nice fit with ECU, Army, Navy in a 12 team Big East down the road. Delaware draws a strong 20k as a 1-AA school and could easily do 30k in a BCS conference right off the bat. Delaware is a natural rival for Rutgers, ECU, and Navy. UD from its location can recruit New Jersey, Eastern PA, Maryland, and even Virginia. Its a highly respected academic school too. They should have a place in the Big East.
Many have suggested UMass in the Big E for Football, but I don't think its a good idea. UMass doesn't have the fan support, and being so close to UConn would cut into recruiting for the Huskies in Football. New England just can't support More than 2 BCS schools in talent.
Joedadi, yours is a provacative post. I agree with you about TCU & the Mountain West. Nice points.
I disagree with you about ECU. Although North Carolina & Virginia are larger states, their combined populations are less than that of New York, Texas, or Florida & together they now have more BCS members than any of those states. With 4 BCS members, North Carolina is really saturated. I can't see ECU being able to beat the competition for recruits in either Morth Carolina or the Tidewater area & I can't see them brining TV time to the Big East in those states.
Your point about Delaware is an interesting one. For all the reasons you stated, Delaware may some day be a member of the Big East if the conference splits. A year ago, the conference was desperate to maintain its BCS bid. The conference's credibility would have suffered badly if they had added a I-AA team - even one as successful as Delaware. With their continued membership in the BCS for the present, they still are not in a position to add any teams. As long as they remain a 16-team hybrid, they will not add any new members IMHO. I also believe that they are done with the idea of part-time "associate" members like Temple. They need a group of teams that are committed to the conference & who know that the conference is committed to them.
The conference has agreed to stay together for 5 years & to then evaluate its status. That 5 years also gives Big East wannabes the opportunity to upgrade their programs & to make the case that they belong. If Delaware, UMass, or Temple do that successfully & IF the Big East decides to split, any of them could be included in a new all-sports conference. There is no reason that UMass can't accomplish this IF they make the proper commitment. New England has a population of almost 14 million people & only 2 BCS schools. At least as important is the fact that New York is right next door with 19 million people & only 1 BCS school. New Jersey is also close by with 8.5 million people & only 1 BCS program. If anything this region is badly underpopulated with BCS schools - 4 in a region of over 40 million people! You make a good case that the Mountain West deserves a BCS spot with schools representing states with tiny populations - except California (& now Texas). Certainly BCS-caliber schools can be found & their programs developed as well in such a populous region.
Your point about lack of fan support at UMass is well taken - in the current state of the UMass program. Build it & they will come. UMass is no different than UConn - except that it is the state university in a state twice the size of Connecticut. UConn is where it is because boosters organized back in the mid-80s & made a commitment to building a big time basketball program. This is before they hired either Jim Calhoun or Lew Perkins. The boosters recruited other like-minded alumni & Corporations. They developed a vision & made a commitment to provide resources. The next step in their plan was to find the right coach, which they did. Lew Perkins then led them through te same process to make a commitment to football. UConn football will be successful because the infrastructure is there & the fans will be there. If UMass makes the same commitment, it can achieve the same success. Nature abhors a vacuum & there is a vacuum in the Northeast. Yes, Northeasterners love their pro sports, but now that pro sports have expanded into all corners of the country all schools now have this competition. Even in the Northeast, Penn State has been enormously successful despite rabid Eagles fans in Philly & rabid Steelers fans in pittsburgh. Maryland has been successful despite rabid Redskins fans in DC & rabid Colts & then Ravens fans in Baltimore.