The Mountain West Conference now has a seat at the Bowl
Championship Series negotiating table, but still lacks an automatic
birth into the Division I-A football postseason system.
Sunday’s announcement that the BCS will add a fifth bowl game to
its slate beginning in the 2006 season, pending market viability,
advances the Mountain West’s standing, said CSU athletic department
and MWC officials.
“It’s very exciting news,” CSU media relations director Gary
Ozzello said. “It offers us a greater opportunity to be a part of
the BCS; that’s all we ask for.”
While the ultimate goal of the Mountain West remains an
automatic birth in the BCS or any future NCAA playoff system,
Sunday’s announcement gives the Mountain West greater standing in
Division I-A football.
“(The MWC) would always like to have that automatic birth, but
it’s definitely a positive step for the Mountain West Conference,”
said Javan Hedlund, director of communications for the MWC.
The new agreement adds a fifth bowl game to the BCS, which
attempts to match up the top two teams in the nation against each
other. The new system will include conference champions from the
Big East, ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-10 and four at-large
teams. The two teams competing in the BCS title game will continue
to be chosen by a rankings system.
“From a Mountain West perspective, there were four areas of
concern and all were addressed,” said MWC commissioner Craig
Thompson, in a released statement. “Access will be significantly
increased, revenue will be more equitably distributed, branding and
marketing issues will be addressed and we will participate in the
future overall administration.”
CSU director of athletics Mark Driscoll said that he would have
preferred a play-in system, where every conference champion has a
chance to get into the BCS, to a system based on rankings.
“Our preference is a play-in system,” Driscoll said. “At least
there is a potential for more access.”
Driscoll said rumors that CSU will join a conference with an
automatic berth in the BCS are unfounded. He said the Rams are far
behind BCS conference teams in quality facilities, ticket sales and
“We are in the Mountain West and that’s where we’re going to
stay,” Driscoll said. “I think our fans, while well meaning, don’t
quite understand the disparity between us and them.”
He also said he believes the Mountain West can stack up well
against the new Big East, which has a BCS at-large birth.
Virginia Tech, Miami and Boston College are leaving the Big East
and the conference will be adding Louisville, Cincinnati and South
Florida for football in 2005.
If the Mountain West outperforms the Big East over the next
couple seasons, Driscoll said the MWC should get at-large
consideration. However, he and Thompson know the conference will
have to prove it belongs with the elite conferences on the
“It is now up to the Mountain West Conference to win football
games,” Thompson said.