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Should MWC change the way the conference champ is crowned?

"Best two" may be a non-starter, but should reforms take place? Our conference-mates are divided.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

With the Big XII pushing for a change in the rules in how a conference decides its champion, it’s only logical that the MWC would also like to dip its collective toes in the waters of change.

For the MWC, its initial idea was to change it’s model to a two "best" teams championship. Per Dennis Dodd’s example, instead of a 6-6 Fresno State opponent, Boise State would have faced either Colorado State or Utah State for the conference title. Rematches any way you slice it, but definitely a strength of schedule boost instead of, well, Fresno State. Because I am Bronco-centric a lot of the chatter, and point of view, I have been seeing the last few days is about how it affects Boise State--good or bad.

So it got me thinking: what are the OTHER guys in the conference saying about this stuff?

Are there conspiracy theories out there with the idea it is all about making sure Boise State gets another pay day? (Hint: yes.)

Is it just another way of convoluting the process and adding another layer of bureaucracy and subjectivity? (Hint: yes.)

It is, yet, just another reason to refer to Craig Thompson as "Hair"?! (Hint: yes. Another thing that can unify fans!)

The point of this exercise is not to stroke the Boise State fan ego, but to understand the other teams fanbase’s perception. It is to get a feel for what other expectations are for their respective teams. Whether it’s passive indifference (basically defeatist attitudes) or bright optimism.

I have decided to make this a two-parter as there is a lot to look at with eleven other teams in the division. We’ll look at the Mountain division first, then the West.

Lets start with the perennial Top 25 Utah State. (Thread here.)

User Geo-Aggie makes a pretty good case for why the "best" two would be a positive:

I think the scenario they're preparing for is if a 12-0 Boise team loses to a 7-5 SUDS {sic] in the championship nobody is getting an invite, but if 12-0 Boise loses to 10-2 CSU or 10-2 USU, likely the newly 11-2 team would get the invite. I think I like it.

NVAggie, isn’t a fan:

I don't like the idea. Whenever you make things complicated they have a chance of causing bigger problems.

Which is fair. Per the Dodd article, the conference can use any rubric it desires: rankings, head-to-head, etc. When we start to insert subjective criteria, we can have controversy pretty quickly. Honestly, doesn’t the two "best" teams almost sound like a certain college football post-season system that we all would rather leave behind and forget?

Then, of course, we have the "it is all a ploy to get Boise State in the big money bowl". Per 3rdGenAggie:

The problem is that they're going to try and get Boise in come hell or high water. In 2013, USU had fewer conference losses, so we earned the CCG berth. Boise may have been the "better" team, but there's no way USU should have been screwed out of the CCG with fewer conference losses. They would have come up with a way to get Boise in over USU if there was some "best team" exception.

Thing is? Utah State was not screwed. They benefited from a series of rules that put them in the MWCCG, as they rightly should have been. If Fresno State was the "best" team in 2013, then, sure, if I was a Utah State fan, I would have been a little nervous regarding the criteria the MWC had set forth. But you know a good way to avoid sweating bullets come that time? Beat Boise State. Every Boise State follower knows the cruel injustice of the one heart-breaking loss. It is difficult to win every game, but the situation is what you make of it.

This one is just frustrating. From (aptly named) Tr0ll:

Let's quit fooling ourselves and just rename the MWC the Boise State Conference or BS Conf for short. Ever since Hair sold the MWC's soul to bring the Donkeys back after their foolish almost stint in the Big Least everything beginning with the TV contract has been ridiculously stacked in their favor. Now comes another move to create a P1 within a G5 conference. None of this really helps anyone in the conference out much besides the truckers who get all the money from the Lopsided TV deal along with the NY6 $. BSU gets their $ and the other 11 fight for any scraps under the not so big table. It's almost like Hair felt bad not having BYU's big-timing, arrogant demands to deal with so he decided to get on his knees and beg back the closest thing left to BYU in the west. If anyone seriously wants to consider what it would do to the conference to bring BYU back in just observe how the tater zoobs are doing it.

Does SDSU get any flack for the Big East debacle? Sure does not seem like it, even though Boise State is the one that pulled them on, Boise State then bit the bullet on the buyout, letting them off the hook.

One thing that is mentioned quite a bit in the thread are the MWC divisions. With the "best" two, the divisions become irrelevant. I would hope if they do decide to go this route, that the divisions would remain. To give the MWC their due, they got it right with the geography of the divisions, the MWCCG, and the top team with home field advantage.

New Mexico’s discussion had a point that I actually agree with. (Thread here. Note: you only get a certain number of visits before the site wants you to actually sign up. To avoid that, you may need to clear out your web browser’s cookies, unless you actually intend on signing up.)

From user AbqLobo:

When even bother playing the championship game? If they are afraid of missing out on the golden ticket, then maybe the should just appoint a champion so the blessed one does not lose in the championship game.

This is a dumb idea IMO. If your best team cannot win in the conference championship game then maybe they do not deserve the golden ticket.

With the language used, my guess is the "blessed one" he is referring to is Boise State. But I do agree with his point, and as I have said earlier, winning cures what ails you.

We are then treated to another "BYU back in the conference" sighting. User xanthos93:

As some have alluded to, it's a sellout and copout. The likelihood that the "second best" team, if they win, would go on to replace the regular season best team in a major bowl is minimal. If you want to improve chances of this silly gadget succeeding, get BYU back in the conference.

I think we all know BYU is not coming back to the MWC. It is hard to resist the allure of a voluntary away game at San Jose State, or the guarantee of a Hawaii and Las Vegas Bowl. Though you do have to give BYU their kudos on scheduling. They have four P5 teams on the docket, all away (but, being honest, that is going to suck).

The UNM discussion centered mostly on the divisional breakdown. Though I do encourage a perusal as a reference to a certain "correct" replay call does come up.

Wyoming all about the Hair. (Thread here.) User McPeachy:

I think it boils down to $$$ (again).

The Hair knows if he has 2 teams playing in the championship game with 0, 1, or maybe 2 losses, it will be better attended and can collect a much higher gate and TV rating.

6 & 6 or so - does nothing for the MWC (and The Hair's resume).

Finally. Someone who gets it. It’s all about Thompson’s credentials! But just when I thought I was getting somewhere, user WYCowboy:

This sounds to me like byu (er, BSU) wanting a little more preferential treatment (protection).

Ah well. I suppose you can’t win them all. However ragtimejoe1 knows EXACTLY what’s up:

I don't think it is knee jerk or complicated. It could just pit the two highest BCS ranked teams. We made something like 10 mill more as a conference because BSU got the NY6 invite.

I'm actually not torn anymore and fully support the idea. Look at this way, if we put the 2 highest ranked teams against each other, then 100% of the time we will maximize our BCS standings for the winner.

Division champs will only do that on occasion. I don't see a downside to having the highest ranked teams play.

And he’s right. It’s about maximizing exposure and making sure that the BEST team from the MWC gets the big money bowl game. If it wasn’t Boise State last year, it could have very easily have been Colorado State (Air Force loss not withstanding).

Speaking of the Air Force Academy, most talk was pretty limited. (Thread here.) Unfortunately, more of the same as before. Seems to be common themes: debates as to playing a "surefire" win against a 6-6 team, or a scheduling bump against another 9-2/10-1 team; Money; Boise State being the bad guy. You know, the usual.

Last, but not least, for the Mountain Division, Colorado State. (Thread here.)

User Headbutt:

OTOH, would the winner of the MWC championship game have gone to the access bowl if it hadn't been Boise? I doubt that CSU or USU would have been selected if they had upset Boise. I'm not a total group hug guy when it comes to conference unity, but I do think conference strength and perception matter. No matter what we need the MWC champ in that access bowl.

Are we better off putting a stamp on it by making it the most difficult conference game possible, or are we better off by giving the clear favorite an easy coast through the CCG? Tough choice I'd say. At least with matching up division winners we've kept it on the field and out of the boardroom.

His last statement I agree with: keep it on the field.

The last post is a curious one from CSURamFan:

I think CSU would have gone to the NY6 if they beat AFA

And then BSU in the CCG.

I do see your point, there are risks both ways. I think in the end strength of schedule is going to be a big deal between the top G5 teams so this will help.

It kind of sounds like he would have predicted Boise State in the Playoffs. If THAT was the result of CSU beating AFA, and (hopefully) Boise State beating CSU again, I definitely would have accepted that outcome.

Though the change never materialized, and Boise State being the "bad guy" aside, I really could have gotten behind the idea in general. Keep the divisions (maybe rework the balancing a little?), and be ok with possible rematches. Especially since they are an accepted practice already. The scheduling bump would be nice, and it would reward the "second best" team with a bowl game, instead of a 6-7 division winner that ends up getting shellacked in their respective bowl game.