Boise State’s move to the Big East in 2013 may not make geographical sense, but one look at the 2011 college bowl schedule will explain why they bolted the Mountain West Conference.
The Broncos play against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas tonight. A bowl game against a team with a .500 record is hardly a reward for a Boise State team that finished 11-1 on the year and in the Top 10 in the final BCS standings and any other poll that mattered.
If Boise State played in the Big East or any other automatic-qualifier conference, they would be playing in front of an enormous national audience. They might even play in the BCS championship.
Instead, they are playing in a relatively anonymous bowl before Christmas, let alone New Year’s Day.
Compare their bowl draw to current Big East teams, and it is obvious why the Broncos made the jump.
Cincinnati, West Virginia and Pittsburgh are slated to play bowl games on New Year’s Eve or later. All have fewer wins than Boise State, and only West Virginia is ranked in the Top 25 of the final BCS rankings. These games will carry much greater exposure and a much bigger payday than tonight’s Las Vegas bowl.
So who can blame the Broncos for wanting to go to a conference with a brighter spotlight and better bowl affiliation?
Isn’t trading up something we all do?
Imagine your first professional job is in the sales department at a small company. You cut your teeth there. You build relationships there. The company pays you enough money to live comfortably and even a small bonus around the holidays.
For three straight years, you have the best numbers in the office and you attract the attention of a large firm. Taking the job will add an hour to your commute, but this new company offers you more money, better benefits and an increased bonus structure.
Would you take the job? Do you even have to think about it?
The Broncos have been playing big-boy football in a small conference for too long, and as long as they stay in the Mountain West, there is no telling how often they will have to settle for a meaningless bowl game.
Boise State deserves better than the bowl in Las Vegas, and the Big East can give it to them.