I spent last night with my little calculator running the numbers. I dont want to fill a blog with tons of raw data and numbers … I want to post some simple explanation that everyone can understand WITHOUT falling into the numbers trap that I myself stepped into last week.
Now … receiving an AQ BCS bid for the 2012 and 2013 seasons requires the MWC to attain certain standards during the four year evaluation period from 2008 to 2011. We are currently 2 years into that four-year evaluation. WIth the public release of the formula (which I firmly beleive is a BCS PR ploy to basically say, “Here ya go MWC … you are close and you can do this … but it is up to the MWC … we are NOT unfair … we are NOT exclusive NOR discriminatory. All we ask is the MWC demonstrate ON THE FIELD a certain level of play in various areas including an elite team, multiple quality teams, and OVERALL LEAGE STRENGTH to be worthy of inclusion.
I firmly beleive the recent hiring of former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleisher is responsible for this. The BCS powera are privy to a lot more info than all of us. By releasing this information it forestalls any action by Congress or State AGs because it clearly shows the MWC has a fair chance to attain BCS status. I think they decided the continued secrecy was working against the BCS with all the speculation of exactly how close the MWC was or is. They also probably KNOW 110 percent whether Utah is headed to the Pac-12 which means they know sans Utah the MWC AQ bid is DOA unless the MWC expands and adds quality team(s).
To clarify another point; the reason this BCS evaluation period is for only guaranteed TWO YEAR includsion (2012-13, and 2013-14) is because the new BCS television contracts with ABC/ESPN expire after the January, 2014 games. There is no guarantee the BCS itself will exist after that point so hence no “automatic inclusion” for the MWC after that point. Since things such as TV contracts are not left til the last moment we should know by sometime in 2012 whether the BCS as we know or in some altered fashion (a 5th game such as the Cotton Bowl at Jerry’s Place or a plus one or plus three mini-playoff) will continue or the rumor of a 64-team breakaway from the NCAA will come to fruition.
NOW … to the meat of this … and it is VERY SIMPLE …
In categories ONE and THREE … which are top ranked team and overall league presence in the Top 25 the MWC is VERY SOLIDLY IN. Simply put … it would take a near total meltdown by the TCU, BYU, and Utah for the MWC to not meet the requrement for inclusion in these two categories. And the chance of ALL THREE teams melting down for two complete seasons is very, very, small.
MWC receving a BCS AQ status comes down to ONE THING: OVERALL LEAGUE STREGTH over the four-year period.
After two years the MWC is 7th best at an average of 58.61. This is an average of the FINAL BCS COMPUTER RANKINGS of all 9 teams in the MWC for two years. The Pac-10 is now 5th at an average of 49.9 (due in part to the pounding it took from the MWC in 2008) … and the almighty Big Ten is currently 6th at 50.91.
To qualify for the AQ status the MWC must beat one of those leagues in the four year total. The other four BCS leagues are NOT within reach.
The MWC trails the Pac-10 by 8.71 points and the Big Ten by 7.71. But what does that mean to the common, every-day fan ??
In means that, ON AVERAGE, in the computer rankings … the Pac-10 and the Big Ten finished AHEAD of the MWC in the computer rankings by an average of about 8-9 places PER TEAM. Obviously, the Big Three in the MWC are holding their own with the elite in the Pac-10 and Big Ten. This IS NOT a slap at the other six teams … but, rather, an explation AND an opportunity.
It is absolutely impossible for TCU to improve 20, 30, even 40 places in the computer rankings. But NOT for New Mexico. When you are in the lower part of the standings improvement CAN BE GREATER … and for this to happen in two years the improvement MUST BE SIGNIFICANT.
It is my expert opinion that teams like AFA needs to get into the 25-35 range … and everyone else needs to be in the 40-70 range. When you look at the numbers … to even CATCH the two league in front of the MWC you must OUTPLAY them by the same 8-9 places over the next two years. An average of 44.6 over the next two years would lower the four-year MWC average to 51.6.
And with the Big Ten at 50.91 at the current time that 51.6 is just about a bare minimum requirement to have a chance. What that means is assuming the recent 3-teams in the Top 25 repeats itself … then the #4 team needs to be 25-35, #5 about 35-40, and #6-9 between 40 and 70. If one or two teams finish ABOVE 80 in 2010 the gig is up. EVERONE MUST IMPROVE to make this happen.
Look at it this way: for the MWC to improve its average from 58.6 to approximately 42 the next two seasons (for perspective … the SEC is the OVERALL leader of ALL BCS leagues after two years … its average after two years is 38.7) it means EVERY TEAM … all NINE … must improve its final position by about 20 from where it finished in 2008 and 2009. That is going to be mighty tough for TCU, BYU, Utah, and AFA to do. IF those four schools finish EXACTLY the same in the next two years … the remaining FIVE schools would have to improve 36 spots PER SCHOOL. ADD BOISE STATE … and you have to improve 12-15 spots were school. AND THAT is VERY doable.
NOW, the variables ….
#1. What if the Utes leave for the Pac-12 in 2011 ???
While not killing the bid it DOES put it on life support. The Utes four-year record would not only be subtracted from the MWC and INCLUDED in the Pac-10 lowering its overall average 2-3 places and INCREASING the defecit to the Pac-10 from about 9 now … to about 17 thus meaning the Pac-12 WOULD NOT be reachable to pass for 6th place. The MWC average would drop from 58.61 to about 63.2.
#2. How would the addition of Boise State affect this criteria ???
IF UTAH LEAVES … the Broncos are just slightly ahead of the Utes in overall position over the past two years … therefore the MWC would still be 7-8 places behind the Big Ten and about 12-13 behind the Pac-10.
IF UTAH STAYS … BSU alone drops the 7.70 defecit to the Big Ten by 5.1 places. There IF both BSU and Utah were members of the MWC the defecit after two years would be LESS than 3 places to the Big Ten and LESS than 4 places to the Pac-10. CLEARLY, as a starting point … having BOTH Utah and Boise State makes the MWC bid to attain AQ status THE MOST PROBABLE.
In the intangibles here … IF BSU were invited this summer … the fact that both BSU and TCU will START the 2010 season in or near the Top 10 AND should one or both continue to win will be included in the NCG debate it WILL continue to raise the exposure and buzz about the MWC. It will NOT affect the computers but it cannot hurt, either.
#3. Is there any OTHER team out there in the expansion pool which would aid the AQ bid ???
At this point … there are only two I would even consider …
HOUSTON … the Texas Cougars would aid the MWC average right now after two years by .70 … or less than 1 place. Adding BSU and HOUSTON means cutting the margin from its current 7.70 to 1.9 or LESS THAN two places. Houston appears to be on the upswing … and more than capable of a finish in the Top 30 in 2010 and 11. BUT … they sked tough BCS opponents and live by the sword, die by the sword. But even IF they lose a couple of those games and a couple CUSA games or so I DO NOT see them falling BELOW the MWC average. There were 37.8 in 2009 after a 67.7 in 2008.
TWO MORE seasons of 30-35 final placings by Houston and what that means is with Boise, Houston, AND Utah in the fold the MWC and the Big Ten would be in a virtual DEAD HEAT with two season (Houston numbers already included) to play.
FRESNO STATE … The Bulldogs would have almost no affect on the current MWC numbers after their placings in 2008 and 2009. CSUF is always a team filled with talent, BCS opponents, and moral victories. Adding Fresno State would be a total come bet … the Dawgs have an upside … and even when they fail they still only fall into the 50s and 60s SO IN THAT REGARD … they would NOT hurt the BCS bid. But a couple 10-3 seasons would certainly HELP the BCS bid … just like Houston … they could cut the MWC by as much as two points with two quality seasons.
#4. How would BYU or TCU leaving affect the bid?
If TCU and Utah leave it is GAME OVER. If Utah and BYU leave adding Boise State its probably a 30 percent chance. In terms of raw value to the computers … TCU is the most valuable with a miniscule margin over BSU and Utah and BYU being about 10 places in arears over two years’ average.
EVERY OOC game matters … they matter BIG TIME !!! And games AGAINST the Pac-10 AND Big Ten — especitally the Big Ten — matter even more the next two years. For example, as I look closely at the AFA loss to Minnesota … and how that would have affected the computer rankings … that ONE game had the Falcons won would have reduced the current margin with the Big Ten from 7.70 to about 7.50 to 7.55. If Houston were added … the conference loss to UTEP probably cost the Cougars becasue of the undefeated momentum they had maybe 10 points in the final ranks … which in relation to our current discussion maybe as much as .05 to .10 for just THAT ONE LOSS. The point is … EVERY GAME MATTERS OOC for the MWC and for any future MWC member. (I know UTEP was CUSA game but IF Houston moved to the MWC in its four-yr record the UTEP game would BECOME a de facto OOC game.)
The MWC needs to win 75 percent or 27 out of 36 OOC games in 2010. It needs to beat the Big Ten AND Pac-10 in head-to-head matchups.
RE: EXPANSION … adding BSU has NOTHING but an upside in this competition. They close the current gap by 2/3 IMMEDIATELY. Even terrible 9-4 seasons by BSU the next two years would mean a finish in the 25-40 range which means IN THE WORST CASE SCENARIO … the Broncos HELP THE BID. And even Las Vegas oddsmakers … which put their money where there mouth is … and rarely miss it big … have the Broncos a 10-1 favorite to win the NC behind Bama 3-1 and tOSU at 8-1. Kellen Moore has lost one game as a starter in two years … I doubt he is going to lose 8 in the next two.
Can you imagine the uproar if BOTH Boise State AND TCU go undefeated again in 2010 ???? What if Bama and tOSU each have one loss ?? WHICH 2 teams play for the NC ??? This has NOTHING but positives for the MWC.
RE: UTAH … I think most of us think Utah is out the door the Pac-12. It is truly sad for the MWC because WITH the Utes AND Boise State in the fold the odds of getting this thing done are probably 80 percent … WITHOUT the Utes or Broncos it falls to about 50 percent … WITHOUT the Utes AND Broncos it falls to proably 10-20 percent.
I fully understand the position of the Universit of Utah, its administrators, its athletic teams, and its fans. It means probably 8-12 million dollars more for its athletic programs per year plus the prestige of becoming a member of the Conference of Champions. But its going to negatively affect the other MWC members probably as much as any school leaving any conference in the history of the NCAA. It is nothing to get angry with. Most every school in the MWC would probably leave for the Pac-10 in a heartbeat if asked.
If the Utes go it makes this thing VERY difficult but NOT impossible.
I dont NOT see at this point how ANYONE can make a plausible arguement that NOT adding BSU to the MWC for the 2011 season is NOT a positive move in terms of aquiring BCS status or for the overall strength of the league. I understand the loyalty and comradarie crap … but look at the numbers … add BSU, keep Utah and this thing WILL HAPPEN. DONT add the Broncos and only if you keep Utah do you have a chance … but its 50-50 at best. Lose Utah and dont add BSU and the difference between the MWC and the remainder of the nonbdcs leagues (which the MWC will continue to be under those circumstances) … will slowly fade away.