Conference Invitation: Good for the Big East, Bad for Boise State

Ed JackoCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2011

FORT COLLINS, CO - OCTOBER 15:  Quarterback Kellen Moore #11 of the Boise State Broncos delivers a pass against the Colorado State Rams at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Rams 63-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

While an invitation for Boise State to join the Big East as a football only member may be the saving grace for the conference, it would do very little for the Broncos.

Yes, the Big East desperately needs to add several teams prior to the departure of Syracuse and Pittsburgh in order to have any hope of surviving, let alone maintaining their status as an automatic qualifier in the BCS.

But what would joining the league do for Boise, other than up their frequent flyer miles to such a level that they could get a free upgrade to a suite when staying at the New Brunswick, New Jersey Hyatt?

The argument is typically made that being a member of an AQ conference is the best way to find yourself playing in a BCS bowl game.  That may be true for other members of the Mountain West, or even the WAC, but Boise has been showing up in the BCS mix as often as ants at a picnic over the past several years.

The argument could even be made that joining the Big East could hurt Boise’s chances of making a BCS bowl game.

Right now, the Broncos are still considered to be a Cinderella story in college football.  They are “the little engine that could.” 

For as many people that argue to keep Boise out of the BCS each year based on a perceived soft schedule, there are many more who shout, “stick it to the man!”  The “man” being that nasty old BCS oligarchy who have determined that a select few have risen above the unclean of the college football world, and may be considered for inclusion in the Bowl Championship Series.

Boise State stands to lose their status as darlings of the college football world when and if they join an AQ conference.

Extremely smart scheduling has been the hallmark of Boise’s success over the past several years.

In 2010, for example, they opened with a 33-30 win against Virginia Tech at Fed Ex field in Washington, DC.  They coasted until an unexpected loss against Nevada, and finished with an 11-1 regular season record that should have been 12-0.

This year, after opening against Georgia, a team that has not been the Bulldogs of old, the only potential bump in the road is a home game against conference lame duck TCU.  Even this game is looking much less challenging than it did prior to the start of the season.

Smart scheduling.

Open against an AQ team that hasn’t found its mid-season mojo yet, and then coast through a soft conference schedule.  The critics are quieted by the early season win against a “big boy,” and the record is padded with wins against cupcakes.

This is not to insinuate that consecutive games against USF, West Virginia and Rutgers constitutes a murderers row of opponents, but it certainly would be more challenging than UNLV, Wyoming and New Mexico.

The potential to trip up during the regular season is raised exponentially.

A second place finish in the Big East means a second-tier bowl game.  Even a first place finish typically means being relegated to whichever BCS bowl selects last.  That hardly sounds like the makings of a National Championship run.

The Big East is hoping to hold on to its BCS dreams by landing Boise State.

The Broncos may just wake up from their dream if they accept.