Now is there a scenario that would land BYU and Utah in the BCS as members of a full BCS conference?
Yes, but they are a lot more exotic.
The BCS schools will address the Big East imbalance soon. If the Big East does nothing, it will probably be addressed by my "jr. Member conference" scenario (whether or not the MWC gets admitted).
(The other option available to the BCS schools is to guarantee EACH MEMBER of each BCS conference a guaranteed equal share of the automatic money. That won't happen because Ohio State is not going to agree to have an equal share with Cinncinnati. Additionally, if you do it that way, you have to start assigning values to each conference or even each school and that would break the solidarity of the group and create too much unrest. Addressing the Big East alone is an easier problem.)
The threat of a reduced share for the Big East would not be that bad for the BE 5. The spectre of being considered a Jr. member conference is. I think that will lead the Big East football schools to strongly consider breaking away, but then come crashing back to reality in realizing that there isn't a regionally sensible arrangement for them. The current Big East football (+ say UCF) is likely pretty much the best they could do. Any gains they'd make TV wise in football, would be lost in breaking away in Basketball.
In many ways they are in the same scenario as the MWC schools with regards to a football conference. They can generate better TV coverage and money by expanding into good TV markets, but they become less and less of a "BCS" caliber academic conference.
In addition, they lose the votes the top BE basketball schools can curry in their defense.
So the idea of a breakaway conference is a nice fantasy, but might not be financially viable.
BUT... There is a third option. The Big East 5 might be open to a merger with the MWC 4 to create a football only full BCS caliber member conference. Consider this:
(tute79 is sourced and paraphrased in this paragraph) "By 2010 (or 2011), whenever it is....the 8 Big East football schools will consist of a group of at least 6 schools that have been conference mates for at least 5 years. Therefore, the new conference would immediately be recognized as a conference by the NCAA, without any transitional period. And by this magic date, the NCAA basketball tourney funds that the football 8 have earned will be entirely portable."
So TECHNICALLY, the BIG East 5 and Louisville could break away and start their own conference and be recognized immediately as the heir to the football big east which would be effectively defeunct at that point. That said, I think the power BCS conferences would threaten to bolt the BCS if a 6 team conference was going to get an equal share to a 12 team conference, so they would need to expand to 10 or 12. While technically they could add Army, Navy, Memphis, and UCF and be at a TV profitable 12, they would be seen as a bush-league BCS conference.
But supposing they invite 6 FOOTBALL HEALTHY MWC members....
9 top academic schools
1 most financially developed athletic program at a sub-elite academic university in the nation
1 highly regarded academically and football healthy academy
1 solid flagship in the conference footprint.
The Mountain East conference
This would be a cinch to replace the Big East as the 6th BCS conference as the BE core conference would satisfy the 5 year 6 member rule, increase the Big East BCS slots membership to be split 12 ways (easing mounting frustrations with the conference), and making up a very BCS confererence-like membership of top academic schools. The conference would be a quick and easy replacement for the Big East,
Mountain East (12 teams): $1.417M / $1.792M
The MWC 6 would be happy to be in the BCS at all.
The Big East 5 would be happy to be in the BCS as a full member and all 6 would still be in the Big East in Basketball. The Big East might very well jettison Cinnci and USF as their football markets would no longer be required, and the issue of keeping a football school/basketball school voting balance would be moot.
All 12 schools would be happy to have the split conference to reduce travel costs, with only a conference championship game played in at the homefeild of the higher ranked division champion or a centrally located stadium like Mile High in Denver or maybe even a neutral site (although I'd argue that is a bad idea) like Dallas in the Revamped Cotton Bowl or Jerry Dome in Arlington.
All schools would be content with the TV potential of the conference.
The Big East 5 would demand UNM over the precarious small market Wyoming. Deal killer? I doubt it.
Wyoming would either join the WAC or drop to IAA and remain a non-football member of the non-football conference MWC. SDSU would probably entirely bolt for the WAC, but Denver would be an excellent replacement as a non-football member that strengthen's the MWC brand name in the main city of their #2 market and reinforce the MWC schools BCS academic credentials.
Last edited by finiteman on Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.