MWC Deserves Full BCS Status

Todd FlemingAnalyst IMay 2, 2009

SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 3:  Runningback Chad Smith #24 of Air Force celebrates after defeating the Washington Huskies 20-17 on September 3, 2005 at Quest Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

It is long past time for the NCAA college football power breakers to give the Mountain West Conference (MWC) a real seat at the table.  The MWC should be added as a BCS conference. 

If the depleted Big East and underachieving ACC deserve an automatic BCS bid for their conference champions, so does the MWC.

The MWC this year featured two of the nation's best teams in Utah and Texas Christian (TCU). Utah manhandled an Alabama team that was ranked No. 1 for much of the season, the second time a MWC team won a BCS bowl game after another undefeated Utah team easily handled Pitt a few years back.

It was an injustice that year that they weren't paired against a better opponent and given a real shot to enter the national championship discussion.  

Texas Christian University boasted one of the nation's best defenses and won the most compelling non-BCS bowl matchup, beating media darling Boise State, a team many argued should be in a BCS game.

TCU was more deserving of playing in a BCS bowl than at least two teams, maybe three, that got automatic bids.

Brigham Young rounds out the conference's top three teams and fields a quality team almost every season.  Last year, they barely squeaked by UCLA by a final score of 59-0. 

The conference should look to add Boise State, the Western Athletic Conference's lone football power, to add further strength at the top.  

The conference also features compelling rivalries (Utah-BYU, Air Force-Colorado State, Utah-TCU).

It has also historically featured exciting games with points scored by the boatload.  Even one of the conference's worst teams, Wyoming, scored a major upset over Tennessee last season. The conference has posted a 7-3 bowl record the past two seasons.

Last year, the MWC finished with more teams in the final BCS top 16 (three) than every conference except the Big XII.

They were clearly better than the Big East, and have been for years, and arguably better than a couple other BCS conferences.

The MWC has also fared well against teams from BCS conferences.  The MWC finished 10-6 against teams from BCS conferences during the season with five of their teams recording at least one of those wins.

The conference also boasted a team that had a legitimate claim for national championship consideration, a first for a non-BCS conference.

Would Utah have beaten Florida? I doubt it, but after watching them dismantle Alabama, it wasn't out of the question.

Another reason the conference should be added is that the west is currently underrepresented.  Only the PAC 10 is truly a western conference, although the Big XII comes close.

The east has the Big East, ACC, SEC, and to some degree, the Big 10.  Considering the population shift to the west, this represents a real imbalance. 

For those who believe the conference is a blip on the radar screen after having a couple good years, I strongly disagree.  The conference is likely to stay strong in the future, with a number of teams, like Air Force and Colorado State, showing real improvement over the last couple years under new coaches.

The MWC has built up its run of success despite being significantly handicapped in the recruiting wars due to their non-BCS status.  If they were afforded BCS status, I have no doubt that they would be able to compete with the so-called "elites" from the other conferences. 

While all too often these decisions come down to money, it is long past time that the MWC gets the recognition it deserves, and that recognition should be the Mountain West as a BCS conference.