Mountain West Conference's Survival: Sell Boise State

Brian SpaenContributor IINovember 30, 2010

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 19:  Winston Venable #17 leads the Boise State Broncos onto the field before their game against the Fresno State Bulldogs at Bronco Stadium on November 19, 2010 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

TCU and the Big East have announced a partnership beginning in 2012. That college expansion story creates a three-team Mountain West swing. Potentially grabbing leftovers from the Big 12, the Mountain West replaces BYU, TCU and Utah with Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State.

Not a horrible trade, but something akin to one-for-one trade of Kobe Bryant for Joe Johnson.

There’s only one team in this six-pack that is well known: BYU.  They’re going independent in football, and with their own TV network already established, some might wonder why they didn’t do this sooner.  TCU and Utah have been BCS bound, and Utah has had success over the past few years.  

The MWC, with their own TV network, is still struggling even after they got the big contract with DirecTV.  How can they replace success like that on TV with these other teams?

The answer is simple:  Sell Boise State, and sell it a lot.  

With ESPN not having any contract deal with the MWC, the conference can showcase games on their network, CBS College Sports, or Versus.  Fresno State and Nevada are fads: they’re a big deal for a certain period of time, but then they just fall to mediocrity, or less, afterwards.  Fresno State hasn’t been in the big national spotlight since their 2005 matchup against USC.

San Diego State and Air Force have had a pretty good season, but can you really sell those as big time matchups?  You’re starting to get TCU and Utah to be big names in the conference, yet they decide to leave for automatic qualifying conferences.  

Even if one was to argue that the Big East doesn’t deserve the AQ, can it be given to the MWC now?  Absolutely not.  People forget that Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia still have solid fan bases, and until they the conference gets raided by the Big Ten, they won’t lose anything with the BCS.

TCU had a brief tenure in the Mountain West, and if the conference learns anything from this, they need to sell it when they got it.  They must do this with Boise State, because it won’t be long before a BCS conference will get them next.