Last fall, the Boise State Broncos played Georgia in the Georgia Dome for one of college football's premier opening Saturday acts.
Chris Petersen's team won the game and spent the season in and around the Top Ten. The Broncos are moving to the Big East in the 2013 season, finally joining the ranks of the BCS. Unfortunately, in 2012, the Broncos have to remember that they are on the outside looking in.
The Idaho Statesman reports that Boise State will not be taking advantage of their optional 13th game. The issue is a simple one—the Broncos can't find a game.
Even with their meteoric rise in the last six seasons, the fact remains that they are not like the elite programs. From here the argument can go a couple different ways—lazy rhetoric about teams being scared or the actual reality of college football, money.
This development is a lot less about teams being "scared" to play Boise State and a lot more about the economics of college football. Teams want home games. Home games are where your school makes their own money. Game days are the big money-makers, and ideally every school works to maximize the amount of home games in an effort to maximize their money.
Six home games are a must. Seven home games is better. Eight is great if you can get them. Fill up your stadium, sell some merchandise and get that money.
If you are going to leave your home stadium outside of the conference, it had better be for a reason. Neutral site, one-time games get you in the national spotlight. They put your program on display and put your team in the eyes of recruits and the public.
Home-and-home series have to be smart. Teams don't want to get overextended, and smart scheduling to ensure success is the name of the game. Attractive matchups to sell between teams that have a similar stature in the college football landscape.
That last part, similar stature, is where the Broncos have found trouble, and the Big East move cannot come quickly enough. Alabama has no problem traveling to State College, PA to take on the Nittany Lions, but the Tide is not gassing up the jet to go play in Boise. Ohio State will take the flight out to USC, but they don't get out of bed for the MAC unless they're coming to town to play.
And that is where Boise State lives. They are a team that is winning at a high level. They are also a team that plays in the Mountain West. They are also a team that plays in a stadium that seats fewer than 40,000. It's a very tough reality for the Broncos, but those are the breaks.
It is not about being scared of Chris Petersen's team, it is about the fact that most teams are not benefited by playing a home-and-home series with Boise State.
ESPN helped the Broncos out in 2010 and 2011 by setting up big neutral-site affairs for Boise State. 2012 we'll see the Broncos take on Michigan State, plus they have a date with BYU—those games will have to do.
It will be interesting to see how this scheduling ordeal affects the ceiling for this Boise State team. Odds are that losing Kellen Moore, Doug Martin and others makes the debate over the Broncos needing another quality game for BCS positioning a bit moot.