Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson
Next, I'm going to look at what a few conferences from the Independents and Others envy about other FBS conferences from around the country.
The Mountain West (and every other non-AQ conference) is envious (and even slightly annoyed) of the six automatic qualifying conferences that earn automatic bids to BCS games despite being ranked lower and having fewer wins that some of the teams in their conference. Last season, the Mountain West had two teams finish higher in the rankings than the Big East and ACC's highest-ranked teams and just one made a BCS game. Also, the Mountain West boasted the only undefeated team in Utah and the Utes weren't considered for the national title.
The Mid-American Conference is envious of the Mountain West and WAC because their teams seem to carry more clout with the BCS. Ball State was 12-0 in the regular season and was never really being considered for a BCS game because the MAC was perceived as a weak conference. Both Utah and Boise State, which also were undefeated during the regular season (neither plays a championship game), were in the hunt for a BCS game until the final standings were released.
The Sun Belt is envious of pretty much every other conference because it is the only conference with just one guaranteed bowl. The Sun Belt champion plays in the New Orleans Bowl. The conference also has secondary tie-ins with the St. Petersburg Bowl, the Papajohns.com Bowl and the Independence Bowl, but those tie-ins fell through last year because the conference didn't have any 7-5 teams other than conference champion Troy. Florida Atlantic earned a bowl berth as a 6-6 team and won, but so far that's done little to help the conference's guaranteed postseason opportunities.