The only people who still think the BE is the doormat and not the ACC are ACC fans and SEC fans who still have nightmares of Pat White and Steve Slaton running all over their champion back in '05. It's been proven on the field and in the polls that the BE has nothing to worry about with BCS membership, while the ACC does.
First, basketball means nothing to the BCS, especially since they're the last people who want anything to do with an actual tournament. Secondly, what matters is on the field, and the fact is that the MWC has more BCS wins in four years than the ACC does in nine, and the ACC continually runs aground of the rule where you have to have a team in the top 14 or 15 for a certain number of years, and the irony is their move to shore up football has absolutely backfired. The fact is the MWC has the power to force their hand to get into the BCS, which means the BCS either has to divvy up smaller pieces of the pie to give the MWC their piece, or they just trim off the weakest member and give the MWC their slice, and by the rules set forth, the ACC would be the ones losing their place at the table.
I am definitely not an ACC fan.
I'll concede that the BE has surpassed the ACC when we start hearing talk of BC and Maryland looking to jump from the ACC to the BE. It isn't happening. Regardless of fhe BE's recent success. I mean do you really think Miami will stay down? FSU? ( I watched the emerald bowl and was really impressed with Miami's freshman QB and WR. Those guys will have miami back at the top of the ACC and national polls very soon. Miami Coach Shannon may not be able to run a 2 minute offense, but the guy can recruit and runs a disciplined squad. They will be back in the top 10 soon. Additionally, UNC and Virginia are emerging as conference powers.)
I'm not sure where this notion is coming from that the BE is BETTER than the ACC. That may happen for one year or a couple of years but as freaked has pointed out in this thread, the ACC - by the virtue of having the Orange Bowl tie in - is in a stronger position than the BE. In addition, also by the fact that the ACC makes more money from their TV contracts, bowl games, is in a better position to have long term sustained success than the BE.
That does not mean the BE cannot have sustained success nor does that mean that the BE is not a BCS conference. The BE certainly has exceed many expectations since the raid and has 'probably' met the expectations of the BCS.
Certainly, the ACC has not hit 'expectations on the field' that many thought they would reach when they first expanded. They've certainly disappointed. I will say that while the ACC this year didn't not have ONE great team, they did have many good ones. Remember, the Big 10 had the worst Bowl record of BCS conferences at 1-6! OUCH!
I'm not sure what BC and Maryland staying or leaving have to do with the BE is better than the ACC argument. BC and Maryland are going to stay where their bottom line (ie revenue vs. expenses) stays the highest and that's in the ACC. It doesn't matter if the BE is higher in the BCS rankings for one year or for 5 years or even 10 years. It's a simple fact of the makeup (institutions) of both leagues.
I was having an interesting talk with a friend of mine about the situation facing Utah, BYU, TCU, and Boise and some real out of the box thinking came up. What if those schools played as football independents with a loose scheduling affiliation with the remaining MWC schools? What legal gounds would the BCS have to deny those schools the same deal as ND? I am not a lawyer, but it seems like if the schools essentially cannot get into the national title equations because they share a confernece affiliation with a school like Wyoming who cannot draw 20K to a game, the independent route may bizarrely be another avenue in.
Those schools WOULD have access to the BCS as long as they met the criteria. Remember that ND only gets and automatic bid if they reach a final BCS ranking of #8. The requirements for a non-BCS conference are less strict (#12) but they only get ONE automatic bid.
Being independents, my guess is that they would be lumped into the BCS eligible pool of candidates and would essentially be in the same situation they are in now - ie they would have to be selected over a Georgia, Ohio State, etc. AT least within a conference, they only have to be #12. Of course, they would have to negotiate with the BCS to see exactly what their qualification criteria would be as independents, I honestly don't see them getting a better deal than they have now. It's better to try and negotiate with the other non-BCS conferences to try and get a 2nd BCS team get automatic qualification if they are say at least #10.
Finally, there is a big variable that isn't being looked at here. The BCS criteria talk about the scenarios for future membership. If you read those closely, they are written so the criteria can change if they decide to change it. I have no doubt the bowls would love to have Utah and BYU in the BCS mix. I have no doubt TV would love to have BYU and TCU in the mix. But I also have no doubt TV annd the bowls would never trade miami, FSU for the the MWC. Never. They will simply rewrite the rules, perhaps setting minimum conference attendance averages to participate in a BCS bowl or somesuch.
I can see the MWC getting in, just not at the expense of the ACC, and probably not at the expense of the BE unless there is a BE split.. I could see the BCS insisting the MWC expand to 12 adding say Fresno Boise, and dunno---Hawaii to eliminate most of the BCS arguement. Throwing all of those schools into one conference would likely mean that the resulting confence only got 1 bid---they came close to getting 2 in this year. It probably helps the other BCS schools to do this. It might help them evn more if they could get the MWC to dump say Wyoming football and airforce and go with 10---no title game bump....
There is no conference in danger of losing the BCS bid at the present time - I think until the Jan 2014 games (although I could be incorrect) when the next 'round' of BCS games end after the switch to ESPN. The only conference that can 'potentially' lose their bid is the BE because they do not have an affiliated BCS bowl game like the other 5 auto-bid BCS conferences. As long as the BE continues to meet the eligibility criteria, I expect they will continue to have a BCS autobid.
I don't know but I disagree with you here. I agree with freaked here in that if the MWC continues to perform like this past year, they will get a BCS bid. There are criteria that all of the commishs are aware of and agreed to. I think the earliest date the MWC *could* get an autobid is 2011 or 2012?
But I'm also guessing that the BCS did NOT expect or anticipate the MWC or another conference to be able or get close to getting an autobid.
I could also see them requireing the BE to expand with at least a few more football only teams. (Addtionally, the idea that the BE football members take home a larger share per team than the SEC or B12 is just too galling to leave be, and forcing the MWC to an expensive expansion to 12 opens the door to require a similar expansion from the BE.) I can see the BCS doing as little as they have to to kill lawsuits, but not so much as to change their view on the pecking order in college football.
The BE does make slightly MORE money than the other conferences because their size is only 8 (~ 800k more per school). However, remember that the Pac 10 also has 2 schools less than the SEC and Big 12 and not too many seem to mention this fact either (~ 300k difference compared to 12 school conferences). This amount of money is usually small when compared against $40 million, $50 million, $60 or even higher athletic budgets that most schools in BCS conferences have. In addition, since the Big East makes MUCH less TV, bowl, etc in revenue from their conference distribution, it probably isn't a big deal. I mean, if the BE was close to the SEC, Big 12 in revenue distributed back to schools by conferences, I think it would be a big issue.
I agree with freaked....Good post!