Boise State Football: 5 Options for the Broncos If the Big East Dissolves
Wow! Are you serious? Come on! Not again! Are you kidding me? These comments and more are probably being uttered by Boise State fans everywhere as they read articles like the one posted on ESPN.com today.
Brett McMurphy, Andy Katz and Dana O'Neil all had a part in the latest Big East update. The article states that the seven non-football playing Catholic schools remaining in the Big East are expected to decide the future of the Big East in the next 24 to 48 hours.
There are apparently a number of options for those schools, which include Villanova, St. John's, Seton Hall, Marquette, Providence, DePaul and Georgetown. One of those apparent options is to vote to dissolve the Big East Conference all together. The article states:
A source told ESPN on Wednesday that Temple, as a football-only member, has voting rights but can't vote on dissolution of the league. With Temple unable to vote, that gives the seven basketball schools enough votes to dissolve the league.
Will that happen? Maybe, but if it does, what do the Broncos do then?
Some might think it would be an automatic for Boise State to run right back to the Mountain West. However, there are other options, and with the way things are going, you never really know how it will all end up.
Let's take a look at five possibilities, and what it could mean for Bronco Nation.
Back to the Mountain West
Returning to the Mountain West is an option, but it may not be the best one the Broncos have. There are serious problems with the conference, and it starts with the leadership.
If the current commissioner of the Mountain West is sticking around, Boise State can expect the same kind of situation they have seen in the two years they have been in the conference. A horrible television deal and lack of leadership were most to blame for losing top teams and for not aggressively pursing expansion when the opportunity was there.
Houston and SMU are two schools that should have, and probably could have been added to the MWC long ago. Not only that, but even after the defections of Utah and TCU, there could have been a plan in place to convince BYU to stick with the conference.
However, there has been very little humility and even less creativity displayed from the leadership of the Mountain West, and you wonder if that same mindset will doom the conference in the future?
Unless of course, lessons have been learned and the conference begins to do things much differently. But, if history is any indication, the process of decline will simply continue.
A Mountain West Conference with the additions of Houston and SMU along with the return of BSU and BYU would be a decent conference. However, that may be impossible at this point.
Pioneer a New Conference
As easy as it sounds, it really isn't. Starting a new conference is difficult, and you have to have a lot of pieces to the puzzle in place before you can move forward.
However, there are enough creative and intelligent minds among some very good schools to make this happen.
Boise State and its leadership could pioneer this new conference, and there are plenty schools to choose from. If the Broncos partnered with BYU they could probably land the best of the best remaining on the college football landscape. But, it could also be a very good conference for all sports.
It seems a national conference with 16 teams split into four divisions would be quite possible, but again, that is a very large amount of work, and it would need a solid television partner to help make it happen. ESPN would be the obvious choice, and they could probably make it happen with their clout.
Northwest Division: Boise State, Wyoming, Nevada, Fresno State
Southwest Division: San Diego State, UNLV, BYU, New Mexico
Northeast Division: Cincinnati, Northern Illinois, Toledo, Ohio
Southeast Division: Houston, SMU, Tulsa, Southern Miss
Just an idea, but it would certainly be a very good conference with great rivalries, both new and old.
Revive the WAC
One other option would be to revive the WAC. All the structure is in place for a conference, and it would be easy to just add western or even southern schools to start a decent league that could grow. Again, it would be about leadership and a solid television partner like ESPN.
Boise State, BYU, Fresno State, Wyoming, San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, and Nevada could get together and team up with Houston, SMU, UTEP and Tulsa. It could be a much better television deal than the Mountain West or Conference USA have, and it would be the best football conference outside of the big five conferences.
Yes, this idea sounds crazy, but it is probably par for the course in the college football universe right now. This idea makes as much sense as any other floating out there. Of course, that isn't saying much.
Boise State could go independent in football. Of course, it would mean they wouldn't have the same access in the new "BCS" system by being outside of a conference. The new system allows the highest ranked football team outside of the SEC, ACC, Big12, Pac-12 and Big Ten to get automatic access to the lucrative bowl system.
However, if BYU, Boise State and other independents came together, perhaps they could strike some kind of deal to allow the "independent" schools to be considered a conference for the purpose of the post season.
In other words, all independent schools would be seen as a conference and if the highest ranked independent school is ranked above any of the other "group of five" conferences, they would get the auto bid.
Just an idea, but again, there have been crazier things floated.
In any case, Boise State would have to secure a good deal with a television partner. You have to believe they could do just that, and if nothing else, the dollars would probably be better than what the MWC could give the Broncos.
Also, Boise State has a league for its Olympic Sports, so going independent would be easier for BSU than it would for many other schools.
One more thing, scheduling probably wouldn't be that difficult for the Broncos. Boise State has created enough of a name for itself that schools may want to play the Broncos simply because it would draw a crowd. Not only that, but Boise State could load up a few more home games like other independent schools do.
Going independent could be a short term solution as well. If the Broncos did that, they could continue to improve in all areas so as to achieve the status needed to be invited to the Big 12 or the Pac-12 eventually.
The growth of the campus and student body has been nothing short of amazing in the last five years, and it should only continue. Also, the facilities have been upgraded and academic programs have been added to become the kind of university those conferences desire.
Again, just an idea, but it seems independence could be a good deal for Boise State if they have to do it.
Even if the seven Catholic schools vote to dissolve the Big East, there will still be a group of schools left behind. Those schools could probably form a new league immediately.
Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco seems to be a very good leader, and he could certainly hold the remaining schools together in a decent conference. Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU, South Florida, Central Florida, Tulane, East Carolina, UCONN, Cincinnati, Memphis, Temple and Navy could still do their thing.
The television deal might not be as lucrative as first hoped, but it would certainly still be better than what the MWC has to offer. The conference could work with a national company to come up with a new name, a marketing plan and licensing rights. That along with a decent television partner or partners could make it a good place to be.
Other schools within larger television markets could be added as well. Northern Illinois, UNLV and Fresno State are just three possibilities. All are in top 55 television markets and would bring value to the conference.
Again, crazier things have been thrown out there, and this one seems to be the easiest to accomplish for the Broncos and still add strength to the schedule and dollars to the budget.
Who knows what will happen when everything settles?
One thing is for sure, Boise State has a national brand with a good reputation. They have many options, and you have to believe the leadership in Boise is weighing all of them.