The BCS wants you to know it’s sorry:
“I don’t think any of us are happy that the BCS is one of the contributing factors to conference realignment,” BCS executive director Bill Hancock said Monday after a meeting of conference commissioners and university presidents. “It’s certainly not the only (factor), by any means. The BCS was never intended to be a divisive event. To the extent that the BCS can be a part of lending stability to the conferences, I think that’s what everybody would like to see.”
The current BCS TV and bowl contracts run through the 2013 season. Beyond that nothing about the BCS is a given.
Sorry for what? The role that the BCS has played in realignment has been almost non-existent. That hasn’t stopped a lot of people from blaming the BCS, but there’s absolutely no there there. Let’s track all of the conference changes:
Nebraska from Big 12 to Big Ten - Nebraska went from one BCS conference to another. The issues at stake almost entirely involved internal disagreements with the Big 12 and perceived instability. The Big Ten was expanding so that they could have a championship game and so that they could make more TV money.
Boise State from Western Athletic Conference to Mountain West Conference - Neither the WAC now the MWC have a BCS bid. The MWC may have been on the road to one, but Boise had already gone to two BCS bowls and the WAC provided an easier path to one than the MWC. This one was primarily about conference prestige.
Colorado from Big 12 to Pac-10 - The Pac-10 expanded for TV-related reasons. Colorado has always felt itself more of a western than Great Plains school and has a significant alumni basis in California. Instability was also a factor. The Big 12 was in no danger of losing its BCS bid.
Utah from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-10 - This is closer to being BCS-related than the others, but it still falls short. The MWC was arguably on its way to becoming a BCS conference, but it didn’t matter. The conference was sitting on a bad TV contract. Plus, the Pac-10 is the Pac-10. It’s a desirable conference for western schools to be in for a whole host of reasons. Even if MWC had the BCS slot in hand, they still would have gone. As would BYU have.
Fresno State and Nevada from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference - See Boise State, more or less. It was apparent by this point that there was no AQ status in the MWC’s future, so to whatever extent it might have been a motivator for Boise it wasn’t for these two. The MWC, for all of its faults, was and is a better place to be than the WAC.
BYU from the Mountain West Conference to Independent and the West Coast Conference - BYU got no special Notre Dame type of consideration from the BCS. In fact, going indy made making a BCS bowl game more rather than less difficult. But the money was better, the MWC’s TV deal was terrible, and they didn’t want to be left behind by Utah.
Hawaii from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference (football only) and Big West Conference - See Nevada, Fresno State, and Boise State.
TCU from the Mountain West Conference to Big East - Okay, this was one was all about the BCS. The TV contract also played a role, but a secondary one.
Texas A&M from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference - From one BCS conference to another. Texas A&M felt overshadowed by UT in the Big 12 and there were issues with the TV deal and Texas’s lucrative TV network deal.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference - This one had a BCS component to it, but they were still sitting in a conference that had an AQ spot within Conference USA and, with the addition of TCU, was likely to keep it. They were also in a very dysfunctional conference, however, half-full with basketball schools and half-full with football ones. The basketball schools were making expansion on the football side difficult. Plus, the ACC is a more prestigious conference academically.
TCU from the Big East to the Big 12 - This one had a BCS component to it as well, but at the end of the day they went from a conference where the nearest school was in northern Kentucky to one where there were three other schools in their state and two in the neighboring state northward.
West Virginia from the Big East to the Big 12 - This one is also BCS-related.
Missouri from the Big 12 to the SEC - Despite its losses, the Big 12 is not remotely in danger of losing its AQ bid. They left the Big 12 for the same reason that everybody else did. It’s an uncomfortable place to be compared to the greener pastures of a more stable conference.
Now, from here we are going to be seeing some more BCS-related changes. It’s certainly the case that the Big East would not be looking at Boise State for any other reason. If BYU joins, it would be due in good part to the BCS status of the conference (but not just that). On the other hand, despite its losses, the Big East is expected to pull in a pretty lucrative TV deal. So with the exception of BYU, all of the other rumored schools are as much motivated by money as anything. And, with the exception of Boise State, it’s true the other way as well. Houston, SMU, and UCF offer good TV markets for the conference (East Carolina would probably help their numbers more, but they don’t appear to be interested in ECU). BYU has a national market and should help their TV deal considerably, if they choose to join. If BYU chooses not to join, they’re supposedly looking at Temple and San Diego State, both of which offer more in TV sets than in BCS calculations.