The Idaho Statesman's Brian Murphy is reporting that the Mountain West Conference isn't giving up the fight to hold on to Boise State. Murphy quotes Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel, who reported that sources told him that the Broncos may back out of their Big East commitment.
It appears that the Mountain West Conference has been working hard to do something, anything, to get the Broncos back in the fold. Murphy points to Dennis Dodd's report that the MWC has "reached an agreement to restructure its television deal with CBS." This could create additional television revenue for Boise State and others.
Thamel's article goes on to say that the Mountain West is "on the offensive" and "has reached out to at least one non-Western Big East school." Brian Murphy speculates in his article that "the most likely candidate would be Houston."
In light of this news, three things seem to stand out.
First, where was this kind of aggressive leadership in the Mountain West a few years ago? Hindsight is always 20/20, but seriously, where has this been?
The MWC could have aggressively pursued a renegotiation of television rights and additional conference members many moons ago. However, they seemed to tread water when others were going freestyle.
Second, is all of this simply a case of too little too late?
Well, if we have learned anything it is that nothing is impossible or too crazy when it comes to conference musical chairs.
If the conference leadership of the MWC has decided to aggressively pursue change, improve and expand the conference, along with a renegotiated television contract, the very least Boise State can do is listen.
If a deal can be reached that makes going backward, an actual move forward, then it makes sense to seriously consider it. If, however, it is simply a smoke screen, more of the same or simply less than what the Big East has to offer, there is no reason to change course now.
Lastly, it would probably have to be a package deal.
If Boise State was to go back to the Mountain West, they would certainly have to have others jumping on board with them. San Diego State would probably come back, but Houston, SMU and BYU would need to be aggressively pursued as well.
BYU would be hard to land, but giving them a sweetheart deal when it comes to televising home games and rebroadcasts on BYU TV seems to be the answer.
Boise State should also be given special consideration for its football brand. It would bring extra value to the MWC and should be compensated as such. Not only that, but they most certainly would need to be allowed to wear blue-on-blue during conference home games.
There are possible pitfalls.
If a deal was made that was so good Boise State couldn't refuse going back to the MWC, then by all means they should do it. However, there would be possible pitfalls.
What should the Broncos do?
First, going back on the agreement to join the Big East and Big West could hurt. While many wouldn't hold it against the Broncos, some might resent that action. Who knows what that would mean for the future, but it is possible for something like that to come back to bite BSU down the road.
Also, there is the possibility that if the Broncos returned to the MWC, some of the other members could come to resent Boise State in a way that would make their future time in the conference quite interesting. Remember, a conference moves on the votes of its members. If one or two schools are seen as arrogant or uppity, they could have a hard time getting anything done.
Not only that, but this would be one of the last options for Boise State, and if the MWC became a difficult place to participate they would have no where else to go, except independence, but that doesn't work for the Olympic sports.
It truly is a very confusing and difficult time for the leadership at Boise State. It would be great if the Pac-12 or Big 12 called on the Broncos, but that doesn't seem likely in the near future.
All of this is going to come down to which conference has the most to offer Boise State and a few others. The Mountain West and Big East are in a battle to become the No. 6 conference in the FBS.
One thing for sure is that whichever conference positions itself as the best of the rest, they will have the inside track to the new lucrative postseason bowl game automatic bid. Remember, the highest ranked team among the Big East, MWC, C-USA, MAC and Sunbelt gets that auto bid.
How will it all turn out? Probably in a way that no one has thought of or even considered.