As they currently stand, the four major American professional sports organizations are not entirely, um, geographically precise. What do I mean by that? Well if you look at some of the division placements of certain sports franchises, it would seem that league organizers haven’t looked at a map since the era when the general consensus supported the notion that the world was flat. The most egregious offender in this respect is clearly the National Football League. Other than built in rivalries, there’s no rational reason for a team from Dallas being in the NFC East, along with teams located in New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. The St. Louis Rams are in the NFC West division. This is explicable due to the fact that they were once the Los Angeles Rams, but that was 18 years ago now. Even though the NFL has restructured the divisions in the time that has since elapsed, due to its expansion, they did not bother to place the Rams in a more geographically appropriate division. However, as of July of this year, the NFL is not responsible for the oddest placement in organized sports, or even organized football anymore. For this past July, it was announced that the perpetually highly ranked Boise State football program will transition from the Mountain West Conference to the Big East Conference, effective starting the 2013 season.
Of course, there’s little way to classify Boise, Idaho as being east. Let’s forget the basic fact that the only states Idaho is east of are Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Apart from that, Boise isn’t even in the eastern part of Idaho, nor is it in the eastern hemisphere. Yet as of next year, the blue Broncos will be competing with programs like Pittsburgh and West Virginia.
Jokes aside, this move will potentially prove to be beneficial for both Boise State and the Big East Conference. The Broncos, who have consistently been ranked in the top ten of the nation since head coach Chris Petersen took the reins in 2006, are looking to join a more reputable conference than the Mountain West. Because of their current conference placement, the team has seen a detrimental impact on their BCS ranking year after year, due to weakness of their schedule. As a result, the Broncos have only appeared in two BCS bowls, despite regularly posting records with no more than one loss. The Big East, meanwhile, is also looking to up their reputation by having more competitive teams. Along with the Broncos, San Diego State will be joining the conference in 2013, and the Navy football program will join in 2015.
The only sports program at Boise State that needs to up their strength of schedule is the football program, so they will be the only one making the transition to the other side of the country. The move did put all of the other programs in a precarious position however. For financial reasons, the other programs were looking to find other conferences as well, which has proved to be a trying task. At first, it appeared that Boise State’s non-football programs would join the Western Athletic Conference. However, over the last twelve months, many teams have announced their departure from that conference, leaving it with only five members, an insufficient total to say the least. It is now on the verge of collapse. Boise State President Bob Kustra made it clear from the get-go that if the other programs could not find a viable home, every program, including the football team, would stay put in the Mountain West. Undoubtedly, Chris Petersen has been nervous about the rough goings for the other programs. However, as of mid-August, it appears that the Big West presidents will stage a vote to decide on whether or not to envelop the university into that conference. It would require a bigger investment on the part of Boise State, but an investment the school is reportedly willing to pony up.
In the end, this move will be healthy for college football. Boise State’s lack of BCS bowls has been a lightning rod of controversy for the NCAA for the past few years, so much so that the NCAA has decided to reformat their championship system. One wants to state with great authority that the Broncos will still fare well in a more competitive conference. After all, the team has put up a solid record on those rare occasions they get to play highly ranked opponents. But this upcoming season will be their first without quarterback Kellen Moore, who holds the NCAA record for most wins. We’ll all have to wait and see come 2013.
What do you think of Boise State being in the Big East? Are you excited that the Broncos will now be in a BCS conference? Let us know in the comments!