Much of the jockeying around in the new college game called "conference realignment" has to do with making sure you are aligned with a league that is part of the Bowl Championship Series (a.k.a. BCS). As teams break off their affiliation with, say, the Big 12 or Big East to join another so-called super-conference deemed more stable and, likely, more revenue rich, it leaves openings for new member institutions who may not have previously had the privilege of competing in a BCS league.
To keep its league from enduring continual and potential irreversible losses, however, one conference, the Mountain West, is seeking to gain BCS status for at least the next two seasons (2012 and 2013)
Under current BCS rules, a conference currently without automatic-qualifier status, which is a principal benefit of belonging to the BCS, can request an exemption for a two-year period if its member schools meet certain performance criteria.
The Mountain West met the required performance standards when Utah received an automatic BCS bid in 2008 and TCU, which is become a member of the Big 12 in 2012, received BCS bids in 2009 and 2010. The conference was also helped by the performance this season by Boise State and TCU, both ranked in the top 25 of the BCS standings.