Boise State’s future in football is starting to become clear as today the divisions were announced in the new 12 team Mountain West Conference. The conference announced the Mountain & the West divisions as follows.
The Mountain Division: Boise State, Utah State, Air Force, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Colorado State.
The West Division: Fresno State, San Diego State, UNLV, Nevada, San Jose, and Hawaii.
So what does this leave us with? I thought I would go ahead and let you guys know how I see it.
Pros: This is not exactly a tough division, the biggest threats are Air Force and Utah State at the moment. But as you read this I can guarantee most of you laughed at the idea of these schools being perennial contenders. I would caution that Utah State certainly looks on the rise and should have a very good team next year. I would also caution that you never know what will happen when you play an option team like Air Force. That being said, it is hard to look at this division and say Boise State won’t be favored to be in the Mountain West Championship game most years. Meaning, if the MWC can establish itself as the “best of the rest” conference, access bowls – or what we know now as BCS bowls – will be a lot more obtainable based on how we should match up well in our division.
Cons: The overall reaction to this announcement is this sucks…. fans have taken to Twitter, Facebook, and the local radio to voice their anger. Why? The future home schedule is simply put, going to be bad. How do you sell season tickets when you don’t have a single big draw in your division? The honest answer is Mark Coyle has a tough job ahead of him. Big non-conference games at home will be needed to boost tickets sales. Utah State does not draw like Fresno, Nevada, or San Diego State. Then you have the questions surrounding the new TV deal. If Boise State is paid well for big national games how are they going to make money playing a division schedule like this? Is it to be assumed Boise State is big enough on their own to draw big television regardless of who they play? Then lastly you have this little nugget, no more protected rivalries. Boise State will no longer face Fresno or Nevada every year. Instead, they will try to forge a rivalry with mighty Wyoming?
The whole thing comes as a shock, most fans came back and thought to themselves, “hey at least BSU still gets to beat up Nevada, and Fresno.” Or at the very least they thought, “I can’t wait until BSU meets San Diego this year.” Now we are left with “well, hopefully Utah State doesn’t suck like normal.”
The important thing to note here though is in the end, Boise State had no real control over this. In fact, I think @Mike_BTN summed it up real well when he stated, “The divisions are surely not Boise State friendly. With recruiting in Cali, season ticket holder’s problems, the home TV deal – I understand why Boise State fans are upset. However, people need to understand that this was not Boise State’s call. Thompson and company decided to do this thing based on location – which is pretty unbiased and fair.” That is the harsh reality, this wasn’t Boise State’s call, and right now, I guess we just have to make the best out of it.