Mountain West still debating BCS future

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- Day two of Mountain West spring meetings at the picturesque Torrey Pines Golf Course on Monday produced no consensus about a possible playoff as the league looks to maintain a presence as college football's postseason inches forward.

"I think that generally, (the presidents) would favor a four-team playoff," commissioner Craig Thompson said. "They would prefer an eight-team playoff, like we proposed three years ago, and a 16-team playoff like we proposed. We'd like it to be more than four but four is a step in the right direction."

The BCS released a statement in late April saying that eight- and 16-team playoff options were firmly off the table once the BCS contract runs out after the 2013-14 season. Thompson sees the next contract lasting six to eight years, so he doubts any expansion of a four-team playoff would occur in the next decade, but he still maintains that it would be best for the Mountain West and college football to head in that direction.

Most of the debate surrounding the playoff has centered on conference champions, the top four teams or some combination of the two and the league was still looking at several models that are still on the table.

"I believe three times in the last five years TCU, Boise State or Utah would have been in a four-team playoff, so that access point could work for an undefeated Mountain West team," Thompson said. "We're still kind of debating between the champions (only), or three champions and an at-large or just a simple top four teams. We're probably for a champion aspect."

While the selection of the next postseason model is still a ways away, Thompson, who is on the BCS revenue distribution subcommittee, said that conversations about how the revenue is distributed are equally hazy and contentious.

"We've been talking about it for a good month," he said. "There will be various components that every FBS school gets a percentage, certainly if you're one of the four teams you'll get a (bigger) percentage. There's been a tendency toward recognizing past performance of particular teams. We're supposed to meet again next week.

"I would prefer you get recognized for when you play in those games. It seems to be tracking, like basketball, that the money will carry forward with the conference you are in at the time. Meaning if TCU is no longer in our conference it would go to the Big 12, Utah to the Pac-12, etc. I like the basketball model where if you earned it, it stays in that league, but I'm in the minority there."

Incoming Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsbysuggested that there could be some sort of announcement by the time the Presidential Oversight Committee meets in Washington D.C. on June 26th, but count the Mountain West in the lot with the Big Ten and Pac-12 as seeing things taking a bit longer than that.

"We've got a couple of calls set up and a couple of in-person meetings. I believe the commissioners will meet twice before the board oversight on the 26th," Thompson said. "It seems to be that a lot of people are planting a lot of flags with various aspects to this, so I don't know."

If you're looking for a firm answer, the Mountain West might not be the ones to ask. Or anybody for that matter.

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