Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
The Mountain West Conference made more than S8.5 million in BCS revenue last season thanks to Utah's trip to the Sugar Bowl and both BYU and TCU finishing in the Top 25.
Utah's Sugar Bowl appearance netted the coalition of non-automatic qualifying conferences more than $9.6 million, $6 million of which went to the Mountain West for having a participant in a BCS bowl. That amount was on top of the more than $9.6 million the five conferences earned from their 9 percent share of BCS revenue.
That BCS revenue share is split in half and each of the five conferences is given an equal portion. The other half is split into 15 shares and handed out based on performance. Because the Mountain West finished with a BCS qualifier and two other teams ranked in the Top 25, it earned five shares, or roughly $1.6 million of the remaining $4.8 million, according to a source familiar with the revenue breakdown.
The WAC finished second in BCS revenue among the non-automatic qualifying conferences earning four shares worth about $3.2 million. Conference USA earned about $2.6 million, the Mid-American Conference earned a little more than $2 million, and the Sun Belt earned a little more than $1.5 million.
Each conference divides the money evenly to their member schools. So even though both Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference netted more than $2 million, the money the schools got was pretty similar to the Sun Belt. In fact, each of the eight Sun Belt members earned more than each of the 13 members of the MAC.
Conversely, Utah reported about $3.1 million in total net revenue -- the Utes got the lion's share of the $6 million given to the Mountain West -- while the other Mountain West schools earned about $600,000.
Utah said it made $1.5 million in revenue after expenses.
When Boise State and Hawaii were BCS bowl participants in 2006 and 2007, each school made $4.2 million or about 70 percent of the WAC's $6 million. Each conference divides its BCS revenue differently and the Mountain West does not release individual team figures.
The Mountain West and the WAC have been the top moneymakers among the five conferences every year since 2006.
The system by which the conferences divide the BCS money has been in place the past three years and the agreement has one season left on it. After that, the coalition of non-automatic qualifying conferences will revisit how they distribute revenue.
Whether it will help out the Sun Belt, which now has nine schools to divide the money with the addition of Western Kentucky, is unclear. But it's easy to see why the Mountain West and the WAC constantly have teams ranked in the Top 25, have stellar facilities and are luring in high-level recruits.
While the Mountain West and WAC don't get nearly as much money as the automatic qualifying conferences, it clear that they're making the most of the money they've got.