WAC goes out on top

The WAC will go out on top, at least among the non-BCS conferences.

In its final season, the Western Athletic Conference was the highest rated among the non-BCS football leagues in 2012, according to a document used to determine revenue distribution obtained by CBSSports.com. The seven-team league that disbanded in football after the ’12 season had an average computer ranking of 72.7 (out of 124 FBS teams), beating out the MAC (80.2), Sun Belt (82.4), Conference USA (86.9) and Mountain West (88.3).

The rankings for the MAC (second) and Sun Belt (third) are believed to be the highest-ever ranking for both.

Because of defections, the WAC had the fewest members (seven) in FBS in 2012. But it had three teams that were ranked at one time or another -- San Jose State, Utah State and Louisiana Tech. Utah State won the league and was ranked for the first time in 51 years, only the third time ever. San Jose State won the league and was ranked for the first time in 37 years in the AP poll.

The rankings were devised by the conferences themselves as a way to divide revenue. The five conferences get 9 percent of the approximately $157 million distributed to the conferences. Because one of their own participated in a BCS bowl (Northern Illinois), they get another 9 percent share. That 18 percent (approximately $28.2 million) is divided this way.

• $7 million of the $28.2 million will be divided evenly among the five non-BCS conferences (Conference USA, Mountain West, MAC, Sun Belt and WAC).

• Another $7 million is divided into 15 "units" based on conference strength. Because it is the No. 1 ranked non-BCS league this season, the WAC will receive five of those 15 shares, followed by the No. 2-ranked conference (MAC) getting four shares, etc.

• The MAC will get $8 million of the remaining $14 million as the participating conference (because of Northern Illinois).

• The other $6 million will be split up into those 15 units.

Part of the WAC money will be distributed to basketball members as well -- Denver, Texas-Arlington and Seattle.

The WAC is breaking up after 50 years. It will be best remembered for all those great BYU teams (including the 1984 national champion) as well as the home of Boise State when it became a BCS buster.

When Boise State and San Diego State declared for the Big East in December 2011, it eventually lost longtime commissioner Karl Benson. The Mountain West quickly filled in with San Jose State and Utah State. The end game: The WAC is no more, and the Mountain West is diminished. 

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Dennis Dodd has covered college football for CBS Sports since it was CBS SportsLine in 1998. He is one of only seven media members to attend all 16 BCS title games and has chronicled conference realignment... Full Bio

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