By Brian Murphy
Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News sent a string of tweets earlier today, indicating that Boise State was responsible for the Mountain West's decision not to expand to 12 teams earlier this year.
Click here to read Wilner's string of tweets, which are repeated below.
6:19 a.m.: To those who asked: I've heard nothing substantive about Utah St to MWC. Why would MWC do it? Comcast doesn't consider Logan the SLC market
6:23 a.m.: Remember: Utah State would have to bring enough $ to MWC trough to justify extra rev split. Not sure Logan (pop: 48k) does that
6:25 a.m.: If MWC expands again in a few years and Big 12 has not blown up, then Houston and San Jose State make more sense than USU
6:31 a.m.: And good chance MWC xpands eventualy. Sources said it left 5M on table by not adding 2 in Jan to create fball title game. Deal killed by BSU
6:33 a.m.: BSU didn't want double jeopardy to reach BCS (undefeated reg season and then have to win fball title game)
This is very interesting news — and since Wilner is very well respected college football writer on the West Coast, I have no reason to doubt it.
It does not surprise me that Boise State would not be interested in playing a championship game. Similar complaints have been made by Texas and Oklahoma, one reason the Big 12 is sticking with 10 teams and not adding two more schools to replace Nebraska and Colorado.
It also make sense, in some ways, for the conference. A 12-0 Boise State team is headed to the BCS, but a loss to an 8-4 San Diego State in the Mountain West title game costs the league a BCS spot.
Under the current distribution model, the Mountain West earns $8 million in additional revenue for placing a team in the BCS. A title game would be worth $5 million, according to Wilner.
Does a $5 million title game mean before expenses or after? Even if it's after, when you divide that by 12 teams that equals less than $416,000 per school.
The Mountain West's No. 1 priority has been earning automatic-qualifier BCS status. The league has a decent chance to earn an AQ waiver for the next two years after this season. Why dilute the league for $5 million and risk losing a chance for the big AQ money?
It would be just as easy to add two teams after the waiver process is over — and the Mountain West knows if it is getting AQ status or not.
Here are some quotes from January when the league opted to remain at 10 teams:
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said the league never got around to considering specific teams.
"There were reports that Utah State was on its way down," Boise State president Bob Kustra said. "It's like, 'Down for what?' We weren't even talking about that."
"For the foreseeable future, certainly, we are pleased and content to build the league around the 10 future members in July 2012, " Thompson said in an interview with the Idaho Statesman. "... I would suspect we're ready to move on to other items. The only thing that would probably change that was if there were additional membership changes in the Mountain West between now and then, which I don't anticipate at all."
Here is what Thompson said last week in Las Vegas about going to 12 teams: "My personal opinion is I think divisional play is very risky because then you're right back where you were with the (16-team) WAC."
And what he said last week in Vegas about the possible disintegration of the Big 12 and its impact on the Mountain West: "There's a reason we haven't talked expansion. ... I think we've been very selective. We could have changed our membership many times through the years."
In June 2010, the Mountain West delayed a decision on adding Boise State because of the upheaval in the Big 12. The league thought it might have a chance at adding Colorado. One day after Colorado went to the Pac-10, Boise State got an invite.
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