OT: MWC/C-USA to talk to Big East about merger

Submitted by M2NASA on October 25th, 2011 at 4:03 PM

This gets better by the minute:


Commissioners from the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA are scheduled to meet with the head of the Big East Conference on Wednesday to discuss the formation of one 28- to 32-football team super conference to try to gain automatic Bowl Championship Series status.

The Mountain West and Conference USA already have agreed to merge by either next year or in 2013. The Big East has automatic BCS status, but is in danger of losing it after 2013 and has been exploring adding teams from the Mountain West and Conference USA in an attempt to salvage it. But the two Mountain West members face hefty exit fees should they leave -- Boise State up to $21 million and Air Force up to $9.6 million -- that could dissuade them from jumping to the Big East.

Seeing an opportunity, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and Conference USA's Britton Banowsky will make the proposal to the Big East's John Marinatto in New York to create a mega conference. According to a document obtained by the Review-Journal, UNLV could be in a division that also includes Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, San Diego State, UNR and Utah State, with San Jose State a possibility if the conference includes 32 teams rather than 28.

"We would figure out some way -- four divisions of seven teams each, a playoff and then a conference championship game -- to come up with the (automatic qualifier)," UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood said. "Craig and Britton are going into this meeting in New York with one thing in mind, to make this happen with the Big East."



October 25th, 2011 at 4:06 PM ^

Why not? Let the 2-3 best mid-major conferences play some sort of Mid-Major "conference" title game for a BCS slot. I think it's great.

I Blue Myself

October 25th, 2011 at 4:15 PM ^

I agree that this would be a good outcome from a competitive standpoint, but why would the Big East agree to it?  They could just as easily steal the five or six best remaining teams from C-USA and MWC and keep their automatic BCS bid.  If they add Navy, Air Force, Boise, Houston, and SMU, as they're already planning, I think they get most of the benefits available from the remaining mid-major teams, but they get to split the pie a lot fewer ways.  Also, they'd need to get approval from the NCAA to have a four-team playoff at the end. 

The only way I can see this happening is if the other conferences make it very clear to the Big East that this is the only way of keeping their auto-bid.  It would be like the credits to Gilligan's Island: they would be the ". . . and the rest" conference.  There are some advantages for the major conferences and bowls to arrange things this way, because they could claim everyone is now in an AQ conference, and stave off antitrust concerns.  But I don't really think the major conferences care enough to interfere this way.


October 25th, 2011 at 4:19 PM ^

Because if WVU leaves for the Big XII and Boise decides not to fly across country for every single game, the remaining leftovers that are the Big East would quickly not qualify for autobid status. A conference where SMU, Connecticut, and South Florida are your power teams isn't a BCS conference for long.

I Blue Myself

October 25th, 2011 at 4:32 PM ^

The question for the Big East is whether they significantly improve their chances of keeping a BCS autobid by becoming part of a 28-32 team monster.  The difference is that you think the answer to that question is yes.

I'm not so sure.  I think Boise would be willing to fly its football team to Brazil every week if it meant being in an AQ conference.  In a 12-team Big East that included Air Force and a couple of Texas schools, they wouldn't have to fly all that far every week anyway.  Remember, this would be just for football.  They could put the non-revenue teams in the Big Sky conference if they wanted.  Beyond that, if you cherry-pick the best 5 or 6 remaining teams in MWC and C-USA, you get most of the (fairly limited) quality that remains.

Or, another way to think about it: what's the practical difference between being in a 32-team superconference and being in a non-AQ conference?  The money would be split so many ways that you wouldn't get much of a bump.  Right now, the best non-AQ team gets to a BCS bowl basically every year.  In the 32-team superconference, which would encompass basically all the decent mid-major teams, the best team would still get to a BCS bowl game. 

If I'm the Big East, I don't merge unless I think there's virtually no chance of keeping my autobid. 


October 25th, 2011 at 4:20 PM ^

...it's not necessarily what Boise, Houston or SMU would prefer. This would be a more stable stituation--they could lose a half dozen teams and it wouldn't threaten their BCS status--and they'd still have local teams in their conference.


October 25th, 2011 at 4:13 PM ^

I think this is great for the MW and USA and it is the nail in the coffin for the Big East. I know the Big East has been in trouble, but I think getting some of your teams gobbled up by the SEC, Pac 12, B1G, and Big 12 would be better than merging with that ultra conference. Let them have 30 or 40 teams I don't care. IF they get the Big East than they can have their 1 BCS bid. Just because they have 40 teams doesn't mean they should get any more than that and if they don't absorb the Big East I'm not sure they should even get one :(


October 25th, 2011 at 4:18 PM ^

So we are told Div I-A football playoff is a 'bad idea' because it would add so many extra games to the already-crowded schedule and burden the student-athlete with being too much of an athlete and not enough of a student.  (Ignoring that D-IAA, D-II and D-III all do it, of course.  Guess those guys are just, well, way better athletes.)

Yet... now this, uh, Mount-US-Big Conference is going to have, what 11 or 12 regular season games, plus a 2-round playoff, plus the winner goes to a BCS game... wait, that's, let me count... 14 or 15 games?

So this is ok, but a national 16-team football playoff, which would generate exactly 3.4401 bazillion dollars -- in US figures, not adjusted for inflation or Perry's flat-tax plan -- wait, no politics, ok, my bad -- is a BAD idea, but seeing Memphis and San Diego State play for the right to play Central Florida or Rutgers, so the winner can go get squished 70-0 by Texas -- is a GOOD idea????



October 25th, 2011 at 10:54 PM ^

And since they would have to cancel some regular season games to make this feasible, that means that teams that did not make the SunBeast Playoffs would lose money each year. And considering the size of the conference, um...that's most teams losing money EVERY year, so ONE team can make it to the BCS.

How is that worth it?


October 25th, 2011 at 10:54 PM ^

And since they would have to cancel some regular season games to make this feasible, that means that teams that did not make the SunBeast Playoffs would lose money each year. And considering the size of the conference, um...that's most teams losing money EVERY year, so ONE team can make it to the BCS.

How is that worth it?

Moonlight Graham

October 25th, 2011 at 4:37 PM ^

http://mgoblog.com/content/michigan-museday-expansion-universalis which I thought was brilliant. This 32-team "conference" would be the lower tier, and if one of the teams consistently wins year after year they get bumped up to a "major/BCS" conference like the EPL in soccer. From the looks of this, that would be Boise State which could someday replace a Utah or a Baylor in the Pac 12 or Big XII. So what about the Sun Belt and MAC? Might as well throw them into the "conference" too making it some sort of purgatory between FBS and FCS where a lone lucky winner makes it to the "show" every year. I love it. 

Add to this a "Plus One" where this purgatory champion somehow in an odd year gets the #4 seed and not one of these little guys can ever complain that they're totally locked out of the chance to win the NC.

Mr. Yost

October 25th, 2011 at 7:54 PM ^

Clarification for those who haven't heard about this...


The proposal is to keep the current conferences (with some realignment so the Big East gets it's teams...likely UCF, SMU, Houston, and others)


You'd play in your conference like you normally do. And then the top 2 teams in the BCS in the Big East, C-USA, MWC would play a "conference championship game" for an automatic BCS berth.


You wouldn't have Boise St. and Rutgers being a conference game or Hawaii playing UCF in a conference battle across the nation.


October 25th, 2011 at 10:48 PM ^

...outlines a different scenario, with the champion of each of four divisions (as close as possible to the current leagues, apparently, but with some split off to create a fourth) meeting in a 4-team playoff.

They'd need special permission from the NCAA to do this or they'd need to cut their regular season short by a game.

Mr. Yost

October 25th, 2011 at 7:50 PM ^

Tier 1
B1G, ACC, Big XII, Pac 12, SEC
Tier 2
Big East/C-USA Merger, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt, WAC

5 conference in 2 divisions...

Each conference in Tier 1 gets a BCS Tournament Bid
1 At-Large Team comes from Tier 1 as well

Tier 2 gets 2 BCS Tournament Bids
*These 2 bids are PENDING the teams big ranked in the BCS top 15.*
*If Tier 2 has only has 1, or even 0 teams in the BCS top 15, those bids go to the highest BCS ranked Tier 1 team*

Play an 8 team playoff, seeds based on BCS ranking

1st round is hosted by the higher seed
Semifinals is 2 current BCS bowls
National Championship is 1 of the remaining 2 BCS bowls

The BCS bowl that is "left out" hosts the two highest non-tournament teams...this bowl is always the bowl that hosted the national championship the previous year.

All other tier 1 and tier 2 teams would play in bowls (if they're bowl eligible)

Boom, done, let's go.


October 25th, 2011 at 11:04 PM ^

Definitely reminds me of the scene in Baseketball with Dan Patrick and Kenny Mayne


If Boise State wins the Mountain West East, they'll advance to play Rutgers in the Southwest Northern Championship with the winner playing a three team round robin with the winner of the Big 27 Championship Game and the Indianapolis Colts.