The conference expansion arms race appears to be over -- for now -- but the reverberations are still being felt. For the Mountain West Conference, expansion meant going from the cusp of automatic qualifier status in the BCS to becoming a clone, more-or-less, of the WAC. Though the conference did add Boise State, it lose Utah, TCU and BYU -- its three remaining powers.
As a final parting shot, the conference is on its way to switching the schedule up in 2011, making its old darling, TCU, travel to its new toy, Boise State. Of course, the conference athletic directors, who hold the final scheduling power, denied it was because of TCU's exit, but it's hard to buy any other explanation
TCU is rightfully miffed by the late scheduling change. The Horned Frogs were led to believe they would host the Broncos in the MWC's marquee matchup next season before having the rug pulled out from under them at the conference's latest set of meetings.
"It's our home game and they told us it would be our home game and to change the rules midstream is not appropriate," Del Conte told ESPNDallas.com by phone from China, where he's visiting this week. "I'm hoping they do what we originally said, which was that it would be a home game for TCU."
TCU is making a move in its best interests, joining the Big East and gaining the automatic qualifier bid that goes along with membership in the conference. Instead of having to run the table during the season and hope for a few slip-ups by others to make a BCS game, all the Horned Frogs will have to do is win the conference to receive an invitation to a big-time bowl.
Boise State beating TCU in 2011 is in the best interests of the MWC. The Broncos will be included in the MWC's next BCS evaluation window, and the more quality wins BSU picks up, the better. In that regard, a home game in Boise, where the Broncos are so tough to play, shifts the advantage to Boise State and is to the benefit of the conference as a whole in the long-term.
While the matchup between TCU and Boise State promises to be a good one, it's a shame to see politics getting in the way of good old-fashioned football. Then again, it could be another reason to hate the BCS and what it's done to smaller conferences fighting to break into the big boy world of college football.