The NCAA procedures for conference membership that allowed the Mountain West Conference champion an automatic bid to NCAA championships do not apply to this situation as the BCS is not regulated by the NCAA.
Sorry about the confusion there. I realize now that the way I wrote that it can be read that way and it wasn't what I meant. What I meant is that if FB-BB schools split, then they won't lose their credits and autobid status to NCAA tournaments.
Obviously the BCS is a different animal as you note below.
But I disagree somewhat with what you post below
The determination of what is a BCS conference is the same as always: it's all up to the conference commissioners of the BCS. What's new is a process of a conference losing their automatic bid. In addition to that conference no longer being in existence, a conference can lose their bid by placing too many sub-par champions too frequently. The rule was put in place with the Big East in mind. Their criteria of inclusion as an automatic-bid member isn't only about conference reputation, but also money and politics. The Big East being the 5th best football conference or close to the ACC in quality may not save their bid. Therefore leaving the question: if the other BCS conference commissioners will jump to remove their automatic bid should the opportunity present itself? From their perspective, it's not a hard decision to make: you're opening up a bid to a quality team open to all of 1A/FBS at the expense of a 8-4 secured-bid Big East champion. One can argue the likelihood of that scenario playing out, but it is a critical factor in the formation of a new Big East football conference. That unanswered question may encourage teams like Syracuse, Pittsburgh, UConn and Rutgers to not to support splitting off. The non-football members have much less to lose and much more to gain from splitting off.
While it's true that money and politics are involved in whether a conference gets a BCS bid, there is some sort of measure also. This was essentially brought on by the non-BCS schools. Now there are criteria - although it's not exactly clear how they measure certain things. There is also an appeals process that is also based on market and history if a conference may lose its automatic status (this part is also part of an article posted on this site - I think it was in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution).
Each conference will be evaluated over a four-year period based on the three elements: the average rank of the highest ranked team, the average rank of all conference teams, and the number of teams in the top 25.
For example, how do they account for the number of teams in the top-25? Do they use a weighted system to account for the differences in conference size? Do they also use a point system for where they finish in the top-25 (ie #1 ranked team gets 25 points, #2 gets 24...... #25 gets 1 point).
If you think the BE would get booted out if they are ahead of the ACC - then we will have to respectfully disagree. That certainly would be a lawsuit right there.
Anyway, the point is simply that the BE is meeting the criteria placed on it with regards to the BCS. They dont need to use the appeals process and hope they will retain their bid (ie market size that the BE BB schools would help with). Will that continue in the future - I don't know.
If the BE FB schools want to stay with the BB schools, it won't be because of meeting the BCS criteria (at least right now), it won't be because of NCAA BB credits, it won't be because of NCAA tournament access - it would probably be because of the TV contracts and exposure with the other possibility that no other 'quality' teams are out there (a UL-type school) so a split makes sense.