By Chadd Cripe
© 2010 Idaho Statesman
On Thursday, the Bowl Championship Series released its criteria for determining if a seventh conference will qualify for an automatic bid in 2012 and 2013.
I wasted a good chunk of the night compiling the data — and here’s what I found:
The Mountain West is in strong position to meet the criteria to “apply to the Presidential Oversight Committee for an exemption” from the actual criteria. The league almost certainly will not meet the criteria required to earn a bid without applying for an exemption.
And while Boise State would help the Mountain West, it appears the Broncos won’t be enough help to force the Mountain West to add them. Maybe the league would do it as insurance — and to impress that oversight committee.
Breaking it down …
— The BCS looks at three criteria over the four-year evaluation period that runs from 2008 to 2011 — a conference’s highest-ranked team in the BCS standings, average ranking of teams in the BCS computers and placement of teams in the Top 25 (there’s a points system that rewards high finishes and a calculation that takes into account the size of the league).
— To be guaranteed an automatic bid, the Mountain West needs to finish in the top six in the first two categories and with at least 50 percent of the point total of the top league in the third (Top 25).
— The Mountain West is currently third in the highest-ranked-team category with an average of five. The Big Ten is seventh with an average of eight, so the Mountain West should finish in the top six. Boise State would not help the league in this category right now, but could with a high finish in 2010.
— The Mountain West is seventh in the conference-average category at 58.6. The Big Ten is sixth at 50.9. That’s a big gap. Adding Boise State would cut the league average to 53.5 — still not enough to crack the top six, but maybe enough to sway the Presidential Oversight Committee.
— The Mountain West has averaged 10 Top 25 points. The leader is the Southeastern Conference with 11, so the league easily meets the “50 percent” criteria. Boise State would give the Mountain West the top ranking here but that would just be style points — it’s not necessary.
— To apply for the exemption, the Mountain West needs to finish seventh in one of the first two categories (conference average) and at least fifth in the other (highest-ranked team). The Top 25 threshold drops to 33.3 percent, but that isn’t an issue for the Mountain West. So as of right now, the Mountain West would qualify to apply for the exemption.
The final rankings will be based on league membership in December of 2011. That means the Mountain West must invite Boise State by Sept. 1 for the Broncos’ accomplishments to be included for this evaluation period. That would put Boise State in the league for the 2011 football season.
The six current BCS conferences are guaranteed bids through 2013, so this cycle is only about determining whether a seventh conference is worthy.
However, it’s worth noting that the ACC and Big Ten currently would not even meet the criteria for an exemption. The ACC is eighth in highest-ranked team and the Big Ten is seventh in highest-ranked team and sixth in average ranking.
Here are the numbers I came up with:
Highest-ranked team (two-year average)
1. SEC 1.5
1. Big 12 1.5
3. MWC 5
4. Pac-10 6
5. Big East 7.5
5. WAC 7.5
7. Big Ten 8
8. ACC 11.5
Average team ranking
1. SEC 38.6
2. ACC 40.3
3. Big East 42.7
4. Big 12 46.4
5. Pac-10 49.9
6. Big Ten 50.9
(MWC w/ BSU 53.5)
7. MWC 58.6
8. WAC 72.2
Top 25 points (two-year average)
(MWC w/BSU 12.9)
1. SEC 11
2. Big Ten 10.1
3. Big 12 10
4. MWC 10
5. PAC-10 7.9
6. Big East 7.5
7. ACC 6
8. WAC 4.4
Here are the members of the presidential oversight committee, according to the BCS website. The committee has the final say on BCS matters.
Presidential Oversight Committee
Harvey Perlman - Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Chair
Scott Cowen - President, Tulane University
Rev. John Jenkins - President, University of Notre Dame
Mark A. Nordenberg - President, University of Pittsburgh
John G. Peters - President, Northern Illinois University
Gary Ransdell - President, Western Kentucky University
Robert Shelton - President, University of Arizona
Graham Spanier - President, The Pennsylvania State University
Charles W. Steger - President, Virginia Tech University
Robert Witt - President, University of Alabama
John Welty - President, Fresno State University
Michael Young - President, University of Utah