The Mountain West Conferences dream of reaching automatic-qualifying status in the Bowl Championship Series is over.
The BCS presidential oversight committee on Tuesday rejected the leagues request for a waiver from qualification standards that would have given the Mountain West a guaranteed spot in the big-money bowl series in 2012 and 2013, the last two years before the system is scrapped in favor of a four-team playoff.
The Mountain West failed to meet the criteria for an automatic berth during the last four-year cycle, but performed well enough to apply for an exemption.
The Big East was awarded an exemption in 2007 under similar conditions and two AQ conferences (the Atlantic Coast and Big East) didnt meet the standards required of the Mountain West over the past four years. Those leagues are guaranteed berths by contract.
The oversight committee did not provide any reasoning for the denial. One likely factor: The Mountain Wests numbers included the successes of TCU, which joins the Big 12 this summer, and Boise State, which moves to the Big East next year.
We made a very compelling case on behalf of the Mountain West, commissioner Craig Thompson said. It was based on clear performance metrics and the prior precedent established by the BCS in awarding automatic qualification. Unfortunately, the presidential oversight committee decided against granting us the AQ exemption.
The Mountain West met the criteria for an automatic berth in two of three categories: average ranking of its highest-ranked team in the BCS standings each year and number and quality of Top 25 teams. However, the league fell well short in the third category the average ranking of all its teams.
Six conferences will have automatic bids in the BCS in 2012 and 2013 the Southeastern, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC and Big East.