The Intertubes were aflame yesterday with speculation resulting from the purported bombshell dropped in this article.
… Late Thursday night, a source close to the situation said that representatives from the Mountain West and another league — believed to be Conference USA — met in Colorado to discuss a plan to match the two conferences’ champions in a title game, with the winner gaining an automatic BCS berth.
“You’re on the right track,” said the source. “The lawyers have told them [the BCS] that it’s time to give someone else a chance.”
Assuming for the sake of argument that the lawyers really told the BCS suits that (admittedly, it’s highly unlikely that such a conversation took place or that a source close to the MWC would have a clue about what legal strategies the BCS and its lawyers discussed), why would anyone choose such an unwieldy means of providing that access? Particularly when you’ve got the MWC getting close to meeting the requirements for obtaining an AQ slot in the BCS on its own? (And given that, why would the MWC want to share the wealth, anyway?)
Short answer: you wouldn’t.
It sounds like the source “close to the situation” isn’t that close to the Mountain West commissioner, who laid out the problems with such a playoff game.
… Such an idea, he said, would require approval by the four BCS bowls and a by majority of the 11 FBS conferences (to allow a seventh automatic qualifier in the BCS) as well as NCAA legislation (to allow for an extra game, since C-USA already stages a championship game). In other words, such an event wouldn’t happen anytime soon, if ever. “There’s no plan in place,” Thompson said. “We can’t affect that. There are four bowls and ESPN and nine other conference signatories. It’s two guys talking who don’t have any control over the vote.”
Pretty obvious that it’s dead on arrival, no? Yet I don’t doubt that somebody, an unnamed single source (such is what passes for journalistic integrity these days), dropped the information in a place where it would get out. So, the question is why? My guess is that Craig Thompson, having already lost one crown jewel from his conference lineup and being threatened with the imminent loss of another, is scrambling to keep BYU from leaving and TCU from having thoughts of leaving by putting out the word that he’s working with other conferences that might otherwise be possible options for some of his potential defectors.
Of course, right now in mid-major land, it’s proving to be every school for itself, so I’m not sure if Thompson’s strategy (if that’s what it is) will prove to be successful. After all, he’s got first-hand proof with his conference’s newest members that when it comes to survival, being two-faced is a feature, not a bug.
He’s a sharp enough guy to know that, though.
… Such meetings between conference leaders are not uncommon, though some have led to big moves. Reminded that similar ACC-Big East and Pac-10-Big 12 meetings served as a prelude to one conference trying to raid the other, Thompson laughed. “Maybe I should have canceled it,” he joked.