Friday, April 16, 2010

MWC Mid-Term AQ Status Part 2

A couple of questions have been brought up in relation to the previous post. I have them in the comments section, but wanted to repost those here as well as show a bit more data.

Q: How much closer would the MWC be to an AQ BCS bid after adding other non AQ teams such as SMU?

A: Besides Boise State, there are no other teams west of the Mississippi that could meaningfully enhance the overall body of work by the current MWC membership, based on performance over the last two years. That is not to say that one or more of these teams could have breakout seasons over the next two years, but the MWC couldn’t plan on that, and therefore would not invite them in an effort to enhance the BCS appeal (there could be other reasons for adding them).

There are no other available schools that finished ranked in the final BCS rankings (which impacts two of the three criteria), so improving the conference overall average ranking is the only remaining way another school could contribute to an AQ bid. A quick look at the data shows that the only schools even in the running would be Houston, Nevada, and Fresno State as each average in the mid-50s over the last two years, which is basically right around where the current conference average rank already is, thus making each of them essentially only net neutral to the MWC BCS AQ bid, yet requiring a splitting of the revenue by more athletic departments—a difficult proposition. To provide even a one rank average bump (from 54 to 53 for example), a team would have to be 10 spots better than the average, or a 44 or better.

Two Year Average Final Season Computer Ranking
59.2 MWC current membership
54.0 MWC with Boise State
52.8 Houston
53.3 Nevada
54.8 Fresno State
70.4 Tulsa
71.5 Hawaii
77.3 Rice
92.2 SMU

The only other way to make any improvement over the current membership (without adding a team from a current AQ conf) is to improve by subtraction, which I am not advocating, but only offering to be comprehensive. It is San Diego State and New Mexico that have been the biggest anchors on the league over the last two seasons.

MWC Two Year Average Rank
7.8 TCU
14.3 Utah
16.8 BYU
49.3 Air Force
80.3 UNLV
80.3 Wyoming
81.6 CSU
100.2 UNM
102.7 SDSU

53.8 MWC without SDSU
54.1 MWC without UNM

Q: Why is there a four year evaluation period for a two year Auto Bid?

A: That is just another example of how the deck is stacked against the non-AQs. The most recent four year evaluation period from 2004-2007 guaranteed six years of auto qualification (2008 through 2013). The current four year evaluation period 2008-2011 only guarantees two years of AQ status. Another evaluation period runs from 2010-2013 leading to AQ status in 2014-2017.

What that means is that the next two years are doubly important since they will be counted twice. Hopefully the MWC (and anyone they may be inviting) will have a good showing these next two years, and it wouldn’t hurt if a couple of current AQ conferences had a down year or two.

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