I know what you are thinking, “Why is Boise State on a Utah sports blog?” To be honest, I asked that myself when Ian suggested I drop in some Boise State posts. But, he made a good point. A lot of Boise transplants make their home in Utah, many of which are Boise State fans. I am one of those, and so we’ll see how this goes. However, if there is anything I have found that brings BYU and Utah fans together, it is their hatred of Boise State. Boise seems to be a polarizing team. Either you love Boise State, hate them or at least hate the blue turf. If anything, I can give you a place to spew vitriol my way.
College football is a great passion of mine. A typical Saturday schedule is built around what games are played. I make sure I don’t miss any interesting games or those that affect Boise State in some way or another. If I have to be out working on honey-do lists, I am streaming the game through the Slingplayer to my iPhone. By the time the final late game is winding down around 11pm, my wife’s common question is, “Aren’t you sick of watching football?” (She probably can’t wait for the season to be complete).
I never will be sick of watching college football, no matter how bad the BCS is or how the BCS 2.0 is just a retread of what we have seen before with a little semblance of better access, I will never stop watching. However, as we make our way into the final weekend of the college football season, I am disappointed that one more thing is looking at ruining this great sport we love – the cancerous conference-apalooza bearing its ugly head once again.
It’s About TV Markets, Charlie Brown!
Let’s take a journey all the way back to Summer of 2010. Minute by minute rumors would “break” regarding half the Big 12 going to the Pac-10 and the other half being spread amongst the SEC, Big Ten and the leftovers potentially joining the Mountain West Conference. I signed up for twitter just to stay on top of the most recent rumors. Even TMZ got in on the rumor mongering claiming Oklahoma State was signed, sealed and delivered to the Pac-10. We were on the verge of super 16 team conferences. Conference Armageddon had begun. And through all this, the MWC is holding a ball for Boise State, telling us to kick it. Finally, we get the invite we have been waiting for since TCU was invited to the MWC in 2005. But only a few days after we join, Larry Scott tips the first domino and pulls the ball out from under us. Utah, then BYU, and even TCU eventually jump ship. Who can blame them? They ride off into much better situations and we fall flat on our back.
The Conference That Almost Was, But Never Would Be
Am I jealous of Utah or TCU? Of course. The kind of TV money and competition level the Big 12 and Pac-12 provide would do amazing things for Boise State’s sports programs and the University itself. Oh what the MWC could have been and the new rivalries that would have developed. Boise/Utah, Boise/BYU, Boise/TCU – so many great games every year. If scheduled properly, almost every week the MWC would have a marquee game with possible ranked teams. Over the last few years we’ve had amazing games with TCU, the proximity to BYU and Utah are ripe for yearly rivalry games – at least BYU and Boise have a 12-year deal. The MWC would stand above the Big East, ACC, and in some years, it could have rivaled the Big 12, Pac-10, and the Big Ten. But because the first domino fell, it was not to be.
When the dust settled, the landscape of college football would never be the same. The Big 12 ended up surviving and now had 10 teams, the Big Ten was at 12 teams, the Pac-10 was now the Pac-12 and the SEC put a stake in the state of Texas. Rivalries forever destroyed, all for a buck. No matter what an AD or President claims, conference expansion is not about academics, competition or university values. It is about TV sets and massive TV contract revenue. I have always known that money is king in college football, as demonstrated by the BCS, but this just further illustrates that point. The amateurism of college football, the uncertainty of how an 18-22 year old kid will perform in the spotlight, all the joy that college football exudes, is slowly being sucked out of the stadium as ADs and commissioners, with their expensive suits, sit back smoking a cigar at the country club and swim in piles of money like Scrooge McDuck.
Go West My Friends, Go West!
In the next round of expansion Boise was back in the mix as TCU finally received the invitation to the Big 12 they had deserved when the Big 12 was first created. The Big East (out of football necessity) set their eyes on the West and added Boise State and San Diego State.
(Bwahhhahahhh! I still laugh about that this a little. Boise and San diego in the Big East and other sports in the Big West – it makes me crack a smile.)
Finally, we had made it to the big time…well, quasi-big time. We will get an automatic BCS bid and a good TV contract that could be 7+ million more dollars than we currently receive. The dust had settled, life was as it should be. No more conference realignment seemed planned, the calm had begun. However, this was only the calm before the storm. The first thing to go was the automatic bid, but something worse was on the horizon.
The Big East is holding the football this time, promising it won’t get pulled. But, before we can even get in the motion to kick, Jim Delaney, with dollar signs in his eyes, sneaks in and pulls the ball out once again. I fear with the latest realignment mess of Rutgers leaving the Big East and Maryland leaving the ACC, a new set of dominoes are about to fall. To replace Rutgers, the Big East adds Tulane and E. Carolina. With those additions and the recent addition of Temple, the Big East has basically morphed into the Conference USA. Louisville is now leaving to replace Maryland, while Cincinnati and UConn are scurrying about trying to escape a sinking ship. Dr Kustra must be thinking the immortal words of Lando Calrussion:
“This deal is getting worse all the time.”
I Watched Conference Realignment and a Football Game Broke Out
I think this last round has finally numbed me to the whole situation. I just don’t care anymore. I hate how this is all happening during the season. It was an interesting, almost fun distraction during off season, but we have revenge to get in Reno this weekend. That is where I want the focus – getting back at the team that destroyed our Rose Bowl hopes. But here I am writing about what I hate.
The Big East has no quality teams to add and will soon lose others, and they appear to be abandoning the idea of a true western division. College football is big business; the 16 team conferences are inevitable and might be a reality sooner than later. Maybe we get in if the Big 12 or Pac-12 expand to 16 (I know that is what BYU is hoping for). But if history repeats itself, I am not holding my breath. The football will be pulled from our reach at the last second and we will miss the kick (pun unfortunately intended).
- Do we return to the MWC? Can we coax BYU back?
- Will the Big East TV deal be worth it to have no true western division while still covering the yearly Big West fees?
- Is it time for an airport meeting to create a new conference?
Sound off in the comments on what your solution would be for Boise State.
Here is a positive note to end on. Mad props to Boise State basketball for their biggest upset in team history the other day as they beat #11 Creighton 83-70!!!! After a close loss to Michigan State and this win, Coach Rice might have something special brewing.