There is a faithful saying that many people use when things make little or no sense: “Everything happens for a reason.” And though it has become a very clichéd and often overused phrase in modern times, in the case of Boise State and their return to the Mountain West Conference, it is certainly appropriate and true.
It has been announced that Boise State will return to the conference they never left. Brian Murphy of The Idaho Statesman is reporting that the Broncos will stay in the Mountain West and forgo entrance into the Big East.
When Boise State decided to leave the MWC last year around this same time and join the Big East, they did so with a few goals in mind.
First on the list—with no doubt—was the possibility of more money, and who could blame them? The MWC revenue was not very good, and initial estimates had the Big East providing somewhere between four to eight times as much.
Second, Boise State wanted to get into an automatic qualifying conference. The Big East was that conference.
Lastly, the Broncos wanted better national exposure and better competition. When Boise State signed up for the Big East, teams like Rutgers and Louisville were still going to be members.
So what happened along the way?
First, the money disappeared when other teams decided to move on. Not only were Pitt and Syracuse leaving, but recently it was announced that Rutgers would be escaping to the Big Ten and Louisville to the ACC. Not only that, but the seven premiere basketball schools that do not play FBS football decided to take their round ball and form their own league.
What remained when the dust settled were four mediocre Big East football schools, six soon-to-be former C-USA teams along with San Diego State and Boise State.
As teams began to disappear, so did the revenue. The money now as a member of the Big East would be significantly less than expected. While it still might be more than the MWC, the difference is not big enough to warrant the transition.
As far as the automatic qualifying conference issue, that has disappeared after 2013 as well. With the new so-called “playoff” system, the Big East is on equal footing with the Mountain West. The MWC, Big East, Sun Belt, C-USA and the MAC are considered one group.
The highest-ranked conference champion of that group will get the automatic bid to the new bowl system starting in 2014. Boise State might even be better off playing a MWC schedule with a bit less travel and fewer unfamiliar opponents.
As far as national exposure goes, this is one area that the Big East could still provide the Broncos a decent venue. However, with the new agreement made with the MWC, Boise State will certainly have all the exposure they desire.
The value of that exposure will be far more than previously experienced as a MWC member, and it doesn't appear to be something that would alienate Boise State from the rest of the conference members.
Boise State reportedly wanted to retain their own home television rights, but no team has ever been allowed that. However, what was allowed, according to the reports, is a system that helps every team in the MWC.
Boise State will be allowed to negotiate their television deal as a separate package to that of the MWC as a whole. This will allow more value to be added to the conference and more exposure for the Broncos.
The MWC also agreed to pay bonuses to any team in the conference that has a game on national television. The report claims that $300,000 will be given for any nationally televised game and an additional $200,000 is added if that game is on a Saturday.
This deal is good for every team in the conference
Not only that, but the MWC has agreed to split any BCS bowl money 50/50 with the Broncos or any other team in the conference from this point on. That will greatly benefit the Broncos if they make a BCS or playoff game, and again, it will not alienate them from the others.
One issue that still remains is strength of schedule. However, even if Boise were to go to the Big East, the competition there is currently not much better than the MWC.
However, with Boise State returning to the MWC, San Diego State may decide to return as well. Also, with this new deal in place, you have to wonder if BYU will take another look. An ESPN report says that the Mountain West is also looking at Houston, SMU, Tulsa and UTEP as possible additions.
Would the conference be willing to get that big? Only time will tell. The ESPN report states that the conference only wants to be at 12 teams for the 2014 season.
While the news of going back to the MWC is not a huge surprise, it might be a letdown for some Bronco fans. However, when you look at the deal that Boise State has been able to acquire, it looks like going back to the conference they never officially departed will be a pretty good deal overall.
Everything happens for a reason, and if Boise State wouldn't have bolted for the Big East, none of these big changes would have happened. It may be the breakthrough Boise State has been looking for, and it may be the breakthrough the Mountain West desperately needed.
Oh, and by the way, with this new deal, the Broncos will also be allowed to wear blue-on-blue uniforms for conference home games.
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