The post on this thread reminded me of another thread. Post 540 on page 23 of the New BCS thread had some interesting points.
Thanks for the reference, FBfan. I read the page & post #540 in particular. However, note Panther 97's comment:
" . . . nowhere . . . does it say that the highest rank would be counted instead of the BCS rep's number . . ."
This directly contradicts the article excerpt he had just quoted. Remember that this is a news article & not a statement from the BCS. MY guess is that the reporter got it wrong. I say that because "conference champion" is clearly stated on the BCS website, which I quoted above. Or else "highest ranked" is an additional criterion to be considered among those other multiple factors after ranking of conference champion has been calculated.
Of course the BCS has allowed itself all kinds of wiggle room since they allowed for consideration of additional factors like market size, traditon, on & on. So, if we want to keep you, we can. If we want to get rid of you, we can find a way. It all comes down to whether they can fill the stadiums & draw TV ratings.
I agree with you r bottom line that the big question is whether they will add the Mountain West & that it is unlikely that they will get rid of the Big East - at least barring some complete collapse in performance by the conference.
Given that we are half way through the 4-year period & that Big East members have performed well enough & that the conference seems to be heading in the right direction & given the fact that this will probably continue into next year with West Virginia returning the vast majority of their key players, the Big East is probably home free.