There was an announcement before last season that Boise State had decided to depart the Mountain West Conference for the Big East. Recently the Broncos reconsidered their options and decided remaining in the MWC with San Diego State, who is also rumored to remain, and would help to create a more competitive conference than then what the Big East stands to offer in 2014.
The move leaves the Big East scrambling to stay alive as an automatic qualifying conference in the BCS National Title chase. Prior to Boise State’s decision to remain, the Big East had also added Central Florida, Houston, and Southern Methodist to begin play in 2013, while filing a lawsuit to keep departing teams Pittsburgh (ACC), Syracuse (ACC), Rutgers (Big 10) and West Virginia (Big 12) in the conference through 2013. This move keeps the Big East alive for one more season, but when time runs out on June 30th of next year the Big East will only boast Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Houston, Louisville, South Florida, Southern Methodist, and Temple. Rather than appearing like the Big East, the conference will resemble the CUSA of yesteryear, and all but secures their dismissal as an automatic qualifying conference.
That fact alone was enough to prompt Boise State to remain in the MWC where it figures to find better competition against Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, Las Vegas-Nevada, and Wyoming. The key in this resolve is strength of schedule in the chase for an at large bid for the BCS title. In effect, Boise State now becomes the Texas-Christian of the MWC, after TCU reneged on the Big East for the Big 12 last season.
The turnabout will see Boise State remaining in the hunt for an at large bid, while helping the MWC gain exposure and credibility in its bid to become an automatic qualifying conference. Once the inevitable happens and the Big East is dropped, the argument can be made for the BCS adding on another AQ conference, and the first likely choice would be the MWC, if any at all.
It also keeps the rivalries alive, primarily with Nevada, who for the past 5 seasons has helped decide whether or not Boise State received the at large bid to the top four in the BCS. It has quickly become one of the most notable rivalries in the Midwest. Granted, had Boise State remained in the Big East they would have dominated for years to come, but at the price of an undefeated season being snubbed by the BCS due to a poor strength of schedule average? That’s what sealed the deal. The Big East has one year before going belly up within the BCS, and more of the current teams may follow Boise State and TCU’s decision to distance themselves from the conference. Boise State made a very smart decision not to join the Big Least.