I did this for three reasons:
A) It was 2 o'clock in the morning. I was bored.
B) Nothing, and I mean nothing, brings the community together like the controversy of a 'You are the commissioner' topic. And, for better or for worse, CSI has been a little dead lately.
C) Nobody has done a MWC 'Commissioner' topic yet. Nobody.
So, pulling from the classic footballgod thread about the SEC...
For the sake of you knowing things, this is probably going to be nowhere near as epically long and hard to read as my usual posts in said topics, but I want to cover some ground in this one. I plan to streamline the conference for the BCS stage. If the MWC wants a seat at the Big Table, it needs to be able to play with the Big Boys. And not just on a football field. It also needs to compete with them on a ‘prestige plane’ (ie bowl bids, payouts, market size). I actually expect only a small part of responses to be based on expansion.
My first order of business is you guessed it, expansion. I will add two teams: Fresno State and Boise State. Personally, I’m staking my future hopes in Fresno, not Boise, because I think they have more potential. Now if they go back to being ranked every other year, we’d be set. While a conference championship game is tempting, the other teams to choose from are nowhere near BCS-caliber. Also, eleven offers the best chance for a team to run the table, since eleven means said MWC team won’t be playing two possibly high quality opponents. The Big Teneleven has used this to their advantage for a long time.
The next is my little friend, the WAC. To save our beloved brethren (more like Big Sky wannabees by now) I shall do them a huge favor. I shall expand the constant spoilsport, Montana State’s, stadium to 20,000. This’ll run somewhere between 5-10M, which isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things. But with two more stadium expansion projects running concurrent to this one, I’ll need all the help I can get. By now, Hawaii and Louisiana Tech are good as gone, but I’m pretty positive they care about their conference mates enough to stick around until the conference reaches minimum D-I standards. Since Boise and Fresno were bound to leave eventually, this [hopefully] will leave me on decent terms with the WAC. Once things shake out, the WAC will look like this:
New Mexico State
San Jose State
Portland State*/Sacramento State*
*may take 5-10 years to reach FBS
That’s how I like my WAC. Harmless and not stealing my BCS bids.
My next paragraph Is dedicated to the passing of a not-very-close friend. That friend is the MWC bowl schedule. He was mediocre, malevolent, a scrooge in any since of the word. The 2009-10 MWC bowl schedule would be the following:
#1 Las Vegas Bowl
#2 Poinsettia Bowl
#3&4 Armed Forces Bowl
New Mexico Bowl
#N Humanitarian Bowl
My solution: First, I would add two conference bowls: I would re-instate the California Bowl (where I would place my number two team) and add an entirely new (but suggested before) Bowl in Salt Lake City at Rice-Ecceles Stadium (We’ll call it the Snowman Bowl). The Snowman Bowl would take the number #4 MWC conference team, while the California Bowl will at first take the number #3 MWC team, until the stadium is expanded. After that, the California Bowl will take the number two team.
To bring our new bowl-tie ins up to BCS par, I will embark on two massive renovation projects, to go along with my one minor one. First, I will build UNLV an entirely new football stadium. I’ll discuss the funding for that in a minute here. Secondly, I’m going to expand Fresno State’s stadium by about 10-15k for the new California Bowl. Hopefully, both of these expansions will allow me to attract a big-name opponent.
First, I’ll take a tally of my total expenses:
~5 million goes to upgrading Montana St’s stadium
~70 million goes to UNLV’s 60,000 seat new stadium project
~15 million goes to Fresno St’s renovation project
Let’s start with UNLV. First, instead of tearing it down, I will simply ‘sell’ the stadium to the AFL, which should fetch me ~10 million (payable over ten years). They’d be suckers to pass up that good a deal. I know some stadium issues will suffice (most notably, Arena football is played on a different size field) but they can be worked around. Secondly, I will obtain a 10 million contribution (payable over about 10 years) from the UFL, who should have a vested interest in being able to pack in 20,000 more people for their regular season matchups and [especially] their championship game. That brings me to ~20 million. I shall also pass an increase in the athletics fee at UNLV by $100, which shouldn’t be a problem given the promise of a state-of-the art stadium. That gives me about 3 million more. So, I’m up about 23 million. I shall start an aggressive fundraising campaign, I’m guessing I could raise around 10-20 million from that. Secondly, I’ll sell the stadium and the bowl rights to a prospective company; that’ll net me around 10 million (but it'll be over 10 years).
To help fund the expansion in Fresno, I will recommend the site to the UFL and AFL as a potential home for a team.
So by now, I am about 4/7 of the way there. I shall ask the city of Las Vegas for a loan for the remaining 30 million, citing how a new stadium could help jump-start the economy, especially around Bowl Season. My proposition is this: I would increase hotel revenues and entertainment revenues by moving the Las Vegas Bowl to New Year’s Day. Once I have my new state-of-the art stadium, this shouldn’t be a problem. I should also be able to attract a better team than the PAC Ten #4. The scent will simply be too sweet for the PAC Ten to leave its number three team in the obviously now inferior Sun Bowl [especially since the MWC will be a BCS-level conference], so I *should* be able to fill the stadium, at least for bowl season.
Fresno’s renovations (since we’re not talking about a Rutgers-level expansion project) should cost about 15 million. I can probably receive about 5 million of that from my UFL partner. I can get 2.1 million from raising the athletic fee. For the rest, I can probably rely on A) fundraising and B) bonds for the remaining seven million. I will [hopefully] have the bowl on New Year’s Eve.
I would rely on other schools generosity for the Montana State money, given the close relationship between the MWC and the WAC. I would do this by retaining about 250,000 dollars over two years from each school's share of the TV contract.
So how will I juggle all these new bowls? First, an 11-team conference should consistently have at least 6 teams eligible, which means in most years I should be able to fill most of my bowl requirements.
Other than that, I’d leave the TV contract pretty much the same (10 million is good even with no exposure) and I wouldn’t meddle in anything else.
My long term plan is this: Offer an automatic spot to the Big East Champion (the only BCS conference without an automatic slot) in the Las Vegas Bowl. With the Big East as backers, I then approach the BCS bowl representitives with a plan to make the Las Vegas Bowl a BCS event. In a new, 60,000 seat arena, in a major city and vacation spot with no pro sports teams, on New Year's Day, the package will simply be too good for them to turn down. The final bowl order would be as follows:
#1 Las Vegas Bowl vs. #1 Big East January 1st
#2 California Bowl vs #4 PAC-Ten December 31st
#3 Poinsettia Bowl vs #6 PAC-Ten December 23rd
#4 Snowman Bowl vs #1 WAC December 29th
#5 Armed Forces Bowl vs. #7 PAC-Ten/C-USA December 31st
#6 Humanitarian Bowl vs. #3 WAC December 30th
#7 New Mexico Bowl vs. #2 Sun Belt December 23rd
(If the MWC does not have eligible teams, this spot goes to the WAC)….
Ok, now it’s your turn to come up with something…..