A BCS Solution: The Big West Conference

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A BCS Solution: The Big West Conference

There is a solution to the BCS that will allow qualified teams to compete at the highest level of college football. Currently, non-BCS conferences are unable to ever compete for the national championship, as we have seen both Utah and Boise State have two undefeated regular seasons and not get invited to the championship game.

The only thing you can do is beat everyone you play. If you are the only one to do this, you should be rewarded for it, plain and simple. The only problem is, the WAC and MWC aren’t viewed as “strong” conferences from top to bottom. So going undefeated in those conferences doesn’t quite mean as much to the pollsters.

Enter the new proposal for a Big West Conference. Basically, just combine the MWC and WAC. Completely dissolve the MWC and redo the WAC, to be more precise. Here’s what I mean.

Between Hawaii, Fresno State, Utah, BYU, Boise State, and TCU, there are six teams that have been ranked pretty regularly. By that I mean of those six, there are always at least two of them ranked at any given time. What if all of them were put in the same conference? You could easily get an automatic BCS bid to the conference champion.

Here’s the breakdown of the proposed divisions:

North:
Boise State
Utah
BYU
Colorado State
Nevada
UNLV

South:
Fresno State
TCU
Hawaii
Air Force
San Diego State
New Mexico

Those teams not invited to the Big West stick around to form the new WAC, which would import some FCS teams to complete the conference:

San Jose State
Wyoming
New Mexico State
LA Tech (should go to the Sun Belt)
Cal Poly
Davis
Montana State
Idaho
Utah State

You can make a conference out of that and promote some deserving FCS schools in the process. Now nine of the 12 teams in the proposed Big West were in bowl games last season. This would be a competitive conference.

The Big West could schedule it’s non-conference games with the Pac-10, WAC, and maybe some other conferences further east like the Big 12 or C-USA. Because their conference schedules are now really tough, they don’t have to play big time non-conference schedules to get attention.

Most call the SEC the best conference in football, yet we see Vanderbilt usually playing bad, and there are always those teams that don’t do so hot. Every conference will have those, so New Mexico, UNLV, and San Diego State are fine in the conference to give teams a break from a grueling schedule.

So now imagine an undefeated Utah team. They would have beaten BYU, Boise State, Nevada, Colorado State, UNLV, three others from the conference (we’ll say Air Force, Hawaii, and New Mexico), plus four non-conference teams, maybe Oregon State, Utah State, Michigan, and Arizona.

If that were Utah’s schedule and they went undefeated, then beat TCU for the conference championship, is there any question that they should play for the national title? Or even if they lost to two of those teams, if they won that conference, don’t they deserve a seat at the BCS table?

Teams in the WAC and MWC only have everything to gain by embracing this proposal. If BYU and Utah go for it, you know the whole MWC would follow suit. The WAC would still be around, just with different teams. Conference headquarters could be in Las Vegas, the site of the conference championship every year.

But this opens up another question—what about those non-BCS schools back east? Well, no one from the Sun Belt has ever been a serious contender, so that answers it for them. If anyone in C-USA wants to be taken seriously, they should join the Big East, which has plenty of room. Same goes for independents like Army or Navy. The Big East could use some teams.

So Tulsa, East Carolina, and others—join the Big East and leave Conference USA. Dilemma solved. No team in the MAC has shown enough consistency to move to the Big Ten, but that would be the likely move for them to get taken seriously.

There is a way to live with the BCS system. It may not be perfect, but we can sure try and get it as fair as possible.

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