Due to the obvious benefits associated with being a part of the Bowl Championship Series, the Mountain West Conference has been trying to become a BCS league for quite some time. The imminent departures of power schools Utah, BYU, and TCU put a serious dent in their quest for admission into sports' ultimate old boys network, the Mountain West is adding some new teams that will keep them in the hunt for a BCS spot.
Boise State, Hawaii, Fresno State, and Nevada all have strong football programs, and their additions will keep the Mountain West the seventh best football conference in college football at absolute worst. They have an outside shot at getting into the BCS with these new schools, but they'll have to get in upon appeal. There are three criteria that conferences have to meet to get an automatic seat at the BCS table, and the Mountain West would meet two of the three if their numbers were calculated with Boise State and TCU in the conference, but with Utah and BYU out.
1. The conference must finish among the top six in a listing of the average of each conference's highest ranked team at the end of each regular season.
2. The conference must finish among the top six in a listing of the average computer rankings of every conference's full roster of teams at the end of each regular season.
3. The conference must accumulate a score of at least 50 percent of the highest ranking conference's score in the Adjusted Top-25 Performance Ranking, which measures how many teams each conference placed in the BCS top 25 and adjusts for conference size.
Criteria No. 2 is the big hang-up for the Mountain West, as SB Nation's MWC blog Mountain West Connection explains:
Category two which is the average of all the teams in the league is what is holding the Mountain West down with struggling teams like Wyoming, UNLV and New Mexico.
Even with the bottom teams hurting the overall strength of the league, and looking just at the numbers the Mountain West is in a good position to gain a waiver because they are ahead of the Big East and ACC in two separate categories, but it will still come down to a petition to get in.
Of course, Congress might make sure that the BCS is not even a thing before the Mountain West gets a chance to play with the big boys, but that's a completely different animal. As long as the BCS exists, the Mountain West conference wants to be a part of it, and they have an excellent case for joining.
For more on the Mountain West Conference and this developing story, check out Mountain West Connection.