Boise State is nearing the end of its Mountain West Conference experiment in football. December 1, 2012 in Reno will be the last MWC game ever, or so it would seem, for the Broncos after just two seasons.
Chris Petersen and his team will go to the Big East in 2013. That makes some fans sad, some very angry, and yet many fans can't see their team move fast enough.
The Big East will bring new challenges and adventures for the Broncos. It will also bring more revenue and exposure. It will be an interesting and intriguing transition, and it should be fun to watch.
As a preview of things to come, let's look at the seven biggest reasons that this move east seems to be the right move for Boise State.
For all of those Boise State fans who think the Broncos should have stayed in the Mountain West Conference and not bolted for the Big East, they owe it to themselves to watch a couple of videos.
First, watch the video that is posted above. It is the current Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. As you watch it you should evaluate the attitude and feelings of the commissioner toward the Broncos.
Then, watch this video. It is the current Big East Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco. Compare the two and their approach, attitude and professionalism.
Mike Aresco seems to be a very good conference commissioner and seems genuinely excited to see Boise State come on board.
One more thing: Boise State can wear blue on blue at home in conference games as members of the Big East.
It was announced on ESPN.com that the Big East will indeed have a seat at the new "BCS 2.0" table, even if it looks a bit different.
According to the ESPN article, the top team from the "Group of Five," which includes the Big East, Mountain West, C-USA, MAC and Sun Belt, will get an automatic bid into one of those games.
With the teams that will be in the "Group of Five," the spot in that bowl will nearly be a lock every season for the Big East.
According to the Scott Slant on KTIK.com, in eight of the last 10 seasons the teams that will make up the new Big East in 2013 would have had the automatic bid locked up if the new bowl system were in place.
Not only that, but the Big East has some very good second-tier bowl game partnerships that could make bowl season interesting for the Broncos.
Those bowls include the Russell Athletic Bowl against an ACC team in Orlando, Florida. Which, let's face it, is not a bad place to vacation in December.
Other games are the Belk Bowl in Charlotte against another ACC team and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium against a Big 12 opponent. New York around Christmas is an amazing place to be.
Add to those games the Beef O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Florida, the Autozone Liberty Bowl in Memphis and the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama against an SEC foe.
You also have to believe the Big East will eventually land a bowl out west, but for now these are intriguing and exciting bowl games for the team and the fans.
The Big East will bring in more revenue for Boise State. How much more? It depends on what the new television deal nets the conference.
Some estimates have it at $10 million per football-playing school, like Boise State, per season.
Not only that, but with the new bowl structure the Big East is the most likely of the "Group of Five" to send a representative each season to the new lucrative bowl system, which will bring in even more revenue.
Compare that to the Mountain West and their reported $2.9 million per school per year, and it is easy to see the financial benefit of moving to the Big East.
Boise State will certainly have a more intriguing schedule in the Big East. With the 2013 and 2014 divisions of the Big East just announced, Boise State will play five conference division teams each season and three crossover games.
That means the Broncos' Big East schedule could have Houston, San Diego State, SMU, Memphis, Temple, Louisville, South Florida and Cincinnati. Every one of those games will be a bit of a mystery except San Diego State.
It should provide a nice variety of challenges and intrigue for the coaches, players and fans. Not only that, but if the Broncos win their division and they have a better record than the other division winner, guess where the Big East championship game will be played?
If you guess Boise, Idaho, then you guessed right. In the Big East, the highest placed division champion gets to host the conference championship game. Could you imagine Boise State versus Louisville in Bronco Stadium in 2013 for the conference title live on NBC or ESPN? It could happen.
The Mountain West Conference crumbled because of its lack of exposure. The Mountain Network was a great idea, but it was done poorly. It might have worked if the conference had worked out a deal with ESPN for some of their marquee games. But, they didn't. The network died and the conference suffered.
The Big East is on the verge of signing a new television deal. It appears that one of three things will happen. They will probably either sign with ESPN or NBC.
The third option is that they might sign a deal with at least two different networks, which is the way many conferences are doing it now. However, no matter what they do, it is going to be far better than what the MWC has had or will have to offer.
Not only that, but if NBC wins the contract and decides to make the Big East a centerpiece of their NBC Sports channel's coverage of college football, it could end up being far better than anyone could have imagined. Games from the Big East would run back-to-back-to-back every Saturday during college football season.
Boise State is the poster child for moving up.
It is after all the junior college that became a four-year school. The same junior college that won a national championship in football. The same school, by the way, that then won a Division 1-AA national championship in football.
The very same Division 1-AA national powerhouse that jumped up to Division 1-A and then beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl just over a decade after arriving. The same team, by the way, that then beat TCU a couple years after that in the same BCS bowl.
From the Big Sky to the Big West to the WAC to the Mountain West and now a few notches higher in the Big East. It is called progress and it is one of the greatest things about Boise State.
Along the way there have been critics second guessing the upward climb of the Broncos. However, every one of those critics were wrong then, and they still are now.
Chris Petersen is a great coach. Boise State is a great program. The two are a perfect match.
However, if the BSU football program decided to stop being what it has always been, which is daring, energetic, not afraid of any challenge, always seeking to get better and better and relentless in its pursuit of excellence, then why would a coach like Petersen stay?
Those are the same qualities that make Coach Petersen great, and if Boise State decided to take a few steps back and regress into the comfort of the familiar, a coach like Petersen would stand out like a sore thumb. He would also starve for the challenge of the next mountain top.
The cry of the early settlers over a century ago was simply, "Go West!" But, when the west has been conquered and the challenges are few, where does a pioneering spirit travel? How about East?
The Big East and Boise State are a much better fit than many realize.
Both have been overlooked and underrated. Both refuse to quit and continue to press on. Both are a thorn in the side of the self-appointed college football elite. Many have predicted the demise of the Big East and Boise State only to be proven wrong time and time again.
2013 will bring another year and another chapter in the incredible story of a team that doesn't know how to go backwards and a conference that doesn't know how to quit.