FBG, I like this thread. It is really what we're all here for! ;D
It makes for much more fun thinking the next move is MWC and they will go to 12. But the more I think about it, the next move is up to TCU. I believe that the reason things are so quiet in MWC/TCU land is TCU is pressuring the MWC to expand to 12, but MWC doesn't want to.
What TCU wants:
San Diego State
This way they get a reasonable travel schedule, a fairly easy ride to the championship game (for now), and a nice trip to Hawai'i now and then (not every other year). Not to mention BCS strong consideration.
What MWC wants:
San Diego State
(Maybe) Boise State
Boise only to even out the bb/olympic sports. This Still has BCS potential, and a minimum of revenue sharing.
Thats how I see it. Which way would you guys go if you were TCU? MWC?
TCU is a recent football contender. But they are NOT part of the Mountain Wests regional demographic. Furthermore, under today's circumstances, I don't believe that TCU would be interested in the Mountain West given the lack of regional rivalries.
However, what could happen is a package deal. The BCS is feeling some heat from Congress. They can make the situation go away by including some of the "have nots". The question is "which" have nots.
Clearly, Conference USA is making some strides but doesn't warrant inclusion in a BCS bowl. Mountain West is the best contender for an additional spot.
What is possible is a package deal. The BCS offers admission to the Mountain West conditionally on:
1) TCU goes to the Mountain West along with another Texas school (Houston, SMU or UTEP). This gets one of the "near BCS" school into the BCS without including the Bulk of ConferenceUSA schools who are clearly "not ready". It also adds a central timezone to the Mountain West and increases it's demographics into highly populated Texas.
2) San Diego St and Fresno St are added to the Mountain West. This gets the Mountain West into major California TV markets.
An additional or alternative provision could be to include Hawaii. This is a political move intended to keep Hawaii Senators from going the way of Orin Hatch and interfering with the BCS. Ultimately, the best BCS solution for Hawaii would be the Pac-10. This is their best geographic fit.
The goal of the excercise is:
1) Solidify the BCS voting majority in 1-A football. This includes retaining the Big East (which is now equivalent to the Mountain West).
2) Include all major TV markets in the BCS by making sure there are alumni in each region with BCS interest.
3) More importantly, make sure that Senators and Congressman don't have a particular axe to grind. Orin Hatch is all over this issue because there are two schools from Utah (BYU, Utah) that are on the outside looking in. A similar thing could be said of senators from Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, North/South Dakota, Hawaii. If you take away motivation for those senators to act (especially a committee chariman like Orin Hatch) you take the winds out of any efforts in Washington to stick it's nose in this business.