It would be hard to argue against a need for changes at the mid major NCAAF level. If there wasn't a need we wouldn't have format change proposals presented at every BCS meeting, threats of court action, hearings on Capital hill, and the FN Playoff Format total wouldn't be up to 113.
Here is a starter list for the 5 conferences and their members to begin working on.
1. Quit crying to the BCS
The BCS set the criteria for an automatic invite only with a gun to their heads. They have financial responsibilities to themselves and their host cities. They need large programs with large following to fill the stadium, spend a vacation in the host city, and most important tune in their TVs.
You can't discredit the financial aspect - if it wasn't for the payout, the mid majors could care less about making a BCS appearance.
A. The mid-majors lack the size. To give a comparison (admittedly the extreme):
tOSU has an alumni base estimated at about 440,000 (based on graduation numbers and life expectancy). This alone would be a large part of the population of many states with a member in the WAC or MWC. I don't have the alumni numbers for comparison, but to compare campus sizes:
53,715 - tOSU enrollment
34,126 - BYU
19,540 - Boise
B. The mid majors lack the population. Continuing the above example:
11,485,910 - Population of Ohio
13,727,022 - Population of every state with a team in the WAC except Cali
11,976,336 - Population of every state with a team in the MWC except Texas and Cali (the WAC and MWC are way down the list of NCAAF teams followed in Cali and Texas)
C. The results show in the TV ratings. Using the average ratings of the 2008 bowl games:
5,396K - non-BCS, both teams from the majors
2,331K - non-BCS, both teams from the mid majors
7,427K - any game with a team from the majors
3,396K - any game with a team from the mid-majors
4,796K - non-BCS, any game with a team from the majors
2,732K - non-BCS games with a team from the mid majors (saved from less than half by the Poinsettia Bowl).
D. In their last 4 BCS bowls, Utah-Pitt and Hawaii-UGa had the lowest TV ratings of the BCS bowl games that year, Utah-Bama and Boise-OU had the 2nd lowest.
With the TV ratings of the mid majors typically less than 1/2 that of the majors, the BCS can't afford to give the mid majors more.
Aside from being a futile endeavor, it is generally not beneficial to build up animosity with a group you hope to gain better terms from in the future. The mid majors have hit the limit on what they can gain thru conflict, now it is time to see what they can get thru cooperation and mutual gain.
2. Quit griping to the NCAA
Griping did have a payoff in the past. The NCAA intervened to give them a sizable chunk of the revenue sharing and established criteria for 1 team to qualify for a BCS appearance.
The poor TV rating performance of the mid majors show the BCS was justified in resisting invites to the mid majors.
Much like griping to the BCS, there are no gains forthcoming by constant complaining, but there are risks in creating an adversarial relationship. If they want a favorable decision in the future, it is time to move past the griping (at least until there is some benefit to be gained) and towards mutual benefit.
3. The Best of the Rest Invite
There is substantial evidence in their voting pattern the pollsters are looking to qualify a team outside the majors for the BCS. They aren't even close to placing them in the title game (placing a glass ceiling on how high they can advance by the final poll) but they do want to see the best of the rest over a 2nd place team from a 4th major conference.
Receiving a guaranteed invite for being the best of the rest would have little impact on the BCS or the majors if the pollsters are looking to grant it anyway.
There is an outside chance the BCS might benefit from the expanded interest. There is a chance the majors might benefit with interest (TV ratings) in their OOC games against the more notable mid major teams.
A BCS invite for the highest ranked mid major would definitely help the broadcasters attract viewers to the regular season games. This can attract additional support with ESPN winning the rights for the BCS and carrying most of the regular season games.
This isn't a big gain, but the mid majors aren't bringing mch to the table, and unlike all the other silly actions the mid majors are taking, it is a gain that can be achieved. 1 extra invite every 4 years would equate to an extra $2.25 Million a year.
To get this, the mid majors need to start their push now, on the heels of 3 consecutive appearances, a big win, and a winning record.
They may get some additional help from the pollsters once the idea got promoted. If the pollsters want to see it happen, they might bump up a mid major that would otherwise miss out. I think they would relish the chance to influence a major change in the format of the BCS.
Also refer to 12 Needed Changes for the Mid Majors - Part 2
4. Forget the Courts Anti-Trust Suits
5. Forget about Political Intervention
6. Promote Themselves
7. Forget about a Mid Major Qualifying for an Auto Invite to the BCS
8. Forget about a Playoff
9. Combine Their Marketing to the Bowls
10. Stop the Clown Proposals
11. Up the Appearance Fees
12. Imagination and Urgency
Let me know your thoughts, and thanks for reading.