McLEAN, Va. — The Mountain West Conference is pushing for an automatic annual entry into the Bowl Championship Series’ postseason lineup, USA Today reported Monday night.
The newspaper said that presidents and chancellors of the league’s nine schools, along with commissioner Craig Thompson, will press for a meeting with BCS coordinator John Swofford, to discuss an automatic berth into the BCS.
"I would not be optimistic," Thompson said. "As I explained to them (the Mountain West presidents), it’s a series of legal contracts among 11 conferences, four bowls, two TV partners with yet another TV partner coming in. I would not see much of a relaxation."
Conference champion Utah finished second in the AP Top 25, earning 16 of 65 first-place votes after it finished an undefeated season by beating Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl.
But the Utes had to force their way in to the four big-money games, which also include the Fiesta, Orange and Rose Bowls.
Only champions of the six BCS conferences — the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC — automatically qualify.
Two other successful Mountain West teams this season, TCU (11-2) and BYU (10-3), had to settle for lesser bowls. TCU beat then-undefeated Boise State in the Poinsettia Bowl and BYU lost to Arizona in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Utah was the first team from one of the five non-BCS leagues to qualify for the BCS a second time. The Utes defeated Big East champion Pittsburgh 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl after an undefeated 2004 season.