Big East loses another team; What are Boise State's options?

By Brian Murphy

Big East member Louisville is headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference, another blow to the Big East's foundation.

Boise State is scheduled to join the Big East in football on July 1. Since the Broncos announced they were joining the league, it has lost Rutgers and Louisville while adding Temple, Memphis and, Tuesday, Tulane and East Carolina (football-only).

Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco issued the following statement after Louisville's departure.

"We enjoyed having Louisville in the Big East Conference and we wish them well.

"The Big East has anticipated the continuing realignment that is reshaping college athletics and has already made important additions as part of our vision for the future. We will continue moving forward to fulfill that vision, which includes a strong national football conference and a strong and storied basketball conference. Big East teams will continue to compete and succeed at the highest level and, as always, will combine athletic and academic excellence. With schools stretching from coast to coast and in many of the top U.S. media markets, the Big East has become a truly national conference with outstanding young men and women competing across a full range of sports.

"We are committed to a vibrant and dynamic future for the Big East Conference."

Boise State's only response to the moves have been a series of statements from President Bob Kustra reasserting the school's commitment to the Big East.

• “We are in contact with the Big East Conference office and are evaluating the information that has come forward regarding conference realignment the past few days," Kustra said last week.

• "In following up on my statement from earlier this evening and because of a report that Boise State has been talking with the Mountain West, I want to make it clear that Boise State has had no discussions with the Mountain West Conference in the past couple of weeks. We are in constant communication with presidents and athletic directors of the Big East and we intend to strengthen our the conference by adding members who can contribute to a strong conference," Kustra said a few hours after his initial statement.

• "As previously stated, we are committed to the Big East Conference and intend to strengthen our conference with members who can contribute to a strong league," Kustra said last week.

• "Boise State welcomes East Carolina and Tulane to the conference as the Big East solidifies its membership with these additions. The Big East is proactively responding to the national changes in conference affiliations, and Boise State remains committed to building and competing in a strong Big East future," Kustra said Tuesday.

With the loss of Louisville and Rutgers for 2014, this is what the Big East divisions will look like:

West: Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU, Tulane, Memphis

East: Connecticut, Cincinnati, South Florida, Central Florida, East Carolina, Temple

Note: Navy is scheduled to join the league in 2015.

Among that group, only Connecticut, Cincinnati and South Florida were in the Big East during the 2011 football season with the rest of the teams coming from the Mountain West (two), Conference USA (six) and Mid-American Conference (one).

The Big East is in the middle of make-or-break television negotiations. The contract was seen as a way to enrich the new conference members, while solidifying the league's place as the sixth-best football league in the country.

College football's new postseason structure will allow for the highest-ranked conference champion from the Big East, Mountain West, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference and Sun Belt to play in one of the six most lucrative bowl games.

So what are the Broncos' options?

• Remain in the Big East: The television contract could still generate more money than the Mountain West deal and give the Broncos greater exposure across the country. The league could still swipe a few teams from the Mountain West. The Big East has BCS AQ status in 2013 — unlike the Mountain West – so the Broncos are likely to play at least one season in the Big East.

• Return to the Mountain West: The league is willing to take Boise State and San Diego State back. It would give the conference 12 members, allowing it to stage a conference championship game and renegotiate its television contract with CBS. The Mountain West could grow even more, taking UTEP and Tulsa from Conference USA in an attempt to weaken that league. (Or it could attempt to grab Houston and SMU from the Big East.) The Broncos would also have to bring its non-football programs back into the Mountain West from the Big West.

• Go independent: BYU signed a television contract with ESPN and has been able to schedule enough attractive games to make independence work. Idaho and New Mexico State are moving to independence next season. The Broncos have always had a good relationship with ESPN and should be able to sign a decent TV deal. Scheduling and bowl agreements could be problems, and coach Chris Petersen has always valued winning conference championship.

The Broncos would have no problem getting games with BYU (already scheduled), Idaho and New Mexico State. But coming up with nine more games could get ugly.

• Join the Big 12 (or Pac-12): If Kustra isn't burning up the phones to both conferences then he is not doing his job. If only it were that easy, however. The Broncos are way down the list of teams the Big 12 would consider and the Pac-12 has given no indication that it wants to expand again. The Broncos' lack of a TV market, its overall athletic program and its academic ranking and reputation are all impediments to a move to either league. The Broncos' main (only?) selling point is a stellar football program that draws ratings and has a (limited) national following.

What do you think? What is the best option for the Broncos and what will they do?

Sinking Ship

We are headed for a dying conference.How long before Cincinnati and Connecticut are gone?We are sacrificing regional rivalries in search of a big payday that may not come.It's time to call it off and work on making the MWC a viable conference.

BSU options

With all the Big East schools leaving, and Boise now entering a glorified Conference USA, the competition and quality of programs in the new league is no better than the MWC. Actually, with Utah State and SJSU, both 10-2, on an upswing, the Mountain West will be a competitive league in the near future. With all things equal, it seems that for fan travel, (which Boise fans do well), important recruiting in the west, plus the extensive travel that will wear down the players and affect the team, staying in the MWC, playing in California, Nevada and the west makes the most sense. By staying in the Big East, BSU is running into a burning building that everyone else is jumping out of.

The MWC/WAC is nowhere near

the teams left in the Big East.

Your comment about San Jose St and Utah St is laughable. They both had the best years in school history and one (SJS) drew 10,000 people a game and the other (USU) could only drew 78% (20K) of their capacity.

Utah St and San Jose St football budgets combined are less than most every team left in the Big East


Big Deal...BSU draws 28,000....still peanuts in big time college football....


How do you figure? we sell out all our seats in the stadium. we travel and pack most of the seats in the opponents stadium as well. Prime example was the fiesta bowl, both times we sold all our allotted seats and even bought the ones the other team couldn't. All that from way up here in little Idaho.


I agree with you that BSU fans travel well, once a year, to a big bowl game. But that's about it, I am afraid.

Will Bronco Nation travel well for the 6 away games East of the Mississippi River, every other week of the season?

I think that is still to be determined.

To Big Bowl games - yes. But still unknown as to every other week during the regular season. Maybe the members of Bronco Nation have more discretionary money than most?

Also, You are a little off base with the statement that it is a Big Deal that the Fiesta Bowl tickets that are alloted to BSU were all 'sold'.

Actually, the colleges with teams in the bowl games, must purchase those tickets up front, as part of the condition of having the bowl game to begin with.

Actually BSU gave away 1,500 tickets to military personnel at Luke Air Force Base that the BAA could not sell, rather than seeing them just go to waste and have empty seats. There were quite a few other 'gimmicks' to give unsold tickets away also. The military give away was just one of several gimmicks. So, basically, not all who were in the Bronco Section were really Broncos that had traveled Well. Some lived just around the corner from the stadium.

I will be curious to see how many Bronco Fans actually travel every other week to watch football games East of the Mississippi or in San Diego, and THEN, turn around and buy tickets at a premium price and extra travel costs and expenses, for a post season bowl game.

I believe it is an erroneous assumption that Bronco Nation will Travel Well to Big East Conference away games.

I might be wrong and you might be right.

Time will tell.

Go Broncos.


BAA Member # 63799

So as not to confuse other Vandals.....

San Diego, Houston, Dallas, and New Orleans are actually "west" of the Mississippi river.....

Φ 3 out of 4 isn't bad

unless your name is Chris Petersen.



Φ You probably didn't hear

Neal Pilson, former president of CBS Sports, on KTIK today. He thinks that BSU and the Big East are fairly well positioned despite all the recent turmoil. He didn't throw out figures regarding the pending Big East TV contract(s), but did imply that whatever eventuates will be substantial (i.e., way better than what BSU has experienced).

Pilson (who would know) was pointed in speaking about branding and properties in regard to the need for cfb product. He talked about burgeoning demand for quality live programming not only as current, but also about the efforts by FOX (which may be launching two new sports channels) and NBCSports. Although Pilson is no longer with CBS, he avoided its mention ... probably being diplomatic, or maybe not revealing what he knows about ongoing negotiations. Caves mentioned CBSSports during the prerecorded interview and Pilson didn't bite.

Overall, Pilson thinks the Big East will emerge quite changed (obviously) but just fine. It was mostly about TV markets and revenue potential (at both ends) ... most certainly not about records, game attendance, prior affiliations, or geography.

Very enlightening I thought. Certainly, it was an informed departure from the faux hysteria some here post.

No we didnt hear that....thus I better

check out quote to make sure it was not taken out-of-context....

quotes out of context are very problematic by a few on 'some' blogs, not saying this one....

Need to read entire article so I can see what Pilson was getting at....

Φ What quote?

There was no quote. It's called paraphrasing.

You need to check those night-myoptics, as well. There was no article. It was a prerecorded radio interview.

Why read and comprehend when you can just blab?

razor....thanks for the polite response, you have been

tempermental lately....

radio is even worse. You see, Pilson could have talked for 10 minutes and it was edited down to just one minute, thus much of his true meaning has been lost thru editing and information out-of-context....

information out-of-context is terrible on many blogs lately; not this one though.

PS. Have you filled out VNDLs poll yet? Probably need at least 8 responses to get good statistical analysis of what the Broncos will do when Big East. If not, please take the time so that everyone's voice is heard....

Φ Why spell

correctly when you can't read or write?

It's "temperamental". I'll go with the "irritable" option.

How about you give us your interpretation of what Pilson did say? You seem to be elevating yourself as a diviner of "true meaning" and proper "context". Good luck.

Pilson just echoed what most

TV people have been saying all along.

Although I had not heard of the new FOX channels......

Φ He didn't allude

to an impending bidding war. He didn't rule it out, either, saying that the Big East remains a very attractive property.

Pilson did say that, once this latest round of conference moves subsides, he expects the TV deal(s) for the Big East to move quickly ... 60-90 days range.

I had heard about FOX1, but not a possible FOX2. Further, I couldn't tell from his comments whether either was slated for all-sports programming.

BSU4342....Pilson just echoed what could have been edited thus

a quote that is taken 'out-of-context'....

We need to hear it in its entirety....

PS. VNDL has a poll on the Big East that people should respond so that all voices and opinions are heard. If not done so yet, please take the time as about 8 respondees are needed for good statistical analysis that will represent Boise Fans and the Big East.

Ugly, if you had half a clue

you would listen for yourself. I listened to the entire 10 min. interview TWICE.

Use some of that self proclaimed brilliance and figure it out.

Φ What did you make of Pilson

not mentioning CBS in the Big East TV negotiations? He did talk about ESPN, FOX, and NBC.

His not including CBS seems curious/suspicious? You know he knows much more about what is going on than he can disclose.

Or sly....

I'm still seeing a lot of NBC talk....

Φ The entire radio broadcast

of KTIK's show today is available for download. When donning your myoptic vision goggles, you should be able to find it easily.

Of course, at over 80Mb your dialup connection might choke. No problem for you since choking is comparable to quitting. If you are able to download and play this audio file, the piece with Pilson starts at 1:48:30 and ends at 1:59:40.

Ends with "I think good things are going to happen for the Big East." That is a quote from Neal Pilson. See, it's a quote enclosed in actual quotation marks. That's how you can tell it's a quote.

Good luck in your attempted endeavor to discredit a former president of CBS Sports ... or at least tweak his "context". What could Neal Pilson possibly know that you don't?

razor....thanks and I will listen....anymore with the

John Gruban rumors of him leaving NFL and going to cfb as coach, I must investigate everything....he said the rumors were not true and everything he said was taken 'out-of-context'....

I will listen.

But I will do it tomorrow cause I am reading about copper....copper could be the next silver.

unless, of course

BSU plays them as Home games in Bronco Stadium, then we are back to the East of the Mississipi River scenario for every other weekend.

If you look at 50% per year then it is only 1-2 of those West of the Mississippi teams you are talking about, which now leaves BSU playing 4-5 away games east of the Mississippi River.

Are you guys going to go to those away games east of the Missisippi?

I can't afford it. So I am saying up front that I will not be travelling to the Big East away games.

I can do a Big Bowl game at the end of the season but not every other week.

Seriously, are you guys gonna really travel to all those away games as part of the Big East conference alignment or are you just flapping your lips that you are gonna go, in the hopes that maybe somebody reading these blogs is foolish enough to believe you.

Go Broncos.


BAA Member # 63799

PS - It would be interesting to see a poll of how many readers of these blogs will actually travel to Bronco Away Games East of the Mississippi River and in to Houston and such.

Talking Attendance?

What about Tulane? They "averaged" just over 18,000 a game, and they had many games where attendance was stated around 12,000 to 14,000. One reporter made mention yesterday that he was at one of their home games, and the actual attendance was more like 2 to 3 thousand.


With the new BCS coming online soon, the Mountain West teams will have just a good of chance as the Big East to get a BCS Game. Travel and the costs that come with it, it would only make sense for BSU to stay in the Mountain West. The only thing that might still make it worth continuing on to the Big East is a lucrative TV contract that they may or may not get. It would be nice to see them go to the PAC-12 but know that would be a tough sell.

tough conference?

The reason they want Boise is they are a power house now. they are tired of not having any real competition in the Mountain West. That is the reason they never got taken seriously because playing in that conference there is no body of recognition. It is a weak conference and to have any respect they are doing the only smart thing they can by getting out of town. The only other true contender is going with Boise for the same reasons. Hell Idaho could compete there.

There's a lot we can't control.

The only option I really dislike is staying in the MWC. Consider this: Every Bronco hater I know keeps saying we should stay in the MWC. Humm. We may never have the population base that causes a big time conference to invite us. Obviously, the quality of your football team has nothing to do with that decision (Rutgers). Our only real hope is to build a national following. The Big East's attempt to go coast to coast might help that cause. Independence could do that too, without a lot of strings, and is my first choice.


They hate us because we dismantle there "big boy" teams on almost every occasion. Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Georgia, and Oregon twice. Just to name a few. They hate us because they are scared. They know we will beat there team next.


Did Kustra negotiate on behalf of the Indians at the Manhattan deal?????

Just go back to the MWC with your tail between your legs..and add the Vandals to the MWC....forget it "is what you is".....

Going back to the MWC/WAC

would be a Vandal dream come true.....

There is a reason Vandals on this board do not want BSU to move forward.....

All Vandals

or just some?

No not all Vandals

Thanks for reminding me SIF


your welcome.

Doubt it...

Actually, I think most Vandal fans want BSU to stay in the Big East. They still hold out hope, however slim, that the MWC will become desperate and take them in. If BSU goes to the MWC, the door on Idaho not only closes for good, but it's locked and the key is thrown away.


Of course it would, because nobody wants them. There is no up side to having a high school in your conference.

Sure dude

You're all over these blogs bashing Kustra. Still hurt over his comments, huh?

Boise States Options?

Who really cares anymore....

Go to the Big East and quit talking about it. Or is someone abit nervous?

Option 1

Remain in the Big East and build a new national conference with the goal of being the highest ranked conference to have a shot at the national championship and money from the major bowl games. I'm also assuming that by attracting other members such as Tulsa and perhaps SJSU would increase TV revenue for the new conference.

Boise State options

Besides a BCS bid for year what advantage is the Big East? No recruiting advantage at all. Few of the regions are going to send kids out here to play. Also, how long before Cincinnati leaves for ACC which is becoming a basketball powerhouse league?
As for hopes of Pac-12: forget those dreams. Boise State doesn't come close to the academic requirements. 8 out of 12 schools are in the prestigious AAU and all 12 current members are listed by the Carnegie Committee as elite research universities.
Big-12 is tHe obvious best fit. They have football, elite level wrestling and elite level gymnastics programs which all better fit Boise State's athletic department. Furthermore, it is a better geographic fit for Boise State than Big East. I'm sure everyone is looking forward to a 9am home game to fit an 11am east coast start time!


1.) The TV money will still be 3 times the MWC/WAC

2.) Having schools in Florida and Texas is a huge recruiting advantage

3.) The PAC has no academic requirements in their charter.

4.) If BSU is invited to the Big 12, they will go.

5.) 11am east coast games? you need to watch more college football

(1) Why do you think it will

(1) Why do you think it will be 3x the MWC? The Big East is just C-USA renamed. When was the last time you searched for a C-USA game on TV? TV talks between Big Least and ESPN broke down BEFORE Rutgers and Louisville left. Why would ESPN be interested in negotiating now?

(2) Florida and Texas schools that nobody in Florida or Texas follows provides no recruiting advantage.

(3) Doesn't matter what is or isn't in their charter. They've stated that they would only add schools that fit their academic mission. I can say with absolute certaintly that BSU will never, ever be invited to the PAC.

(4) Agreed, but I think the B-12 has their eye on bigger fish (Florida State, Clemson, Miami) that old grudges in the SEC will pass over.

(5) LOL. Agreed.

Best Option

BSUs best option is simply to win. And if they can continue to win big, bigger offers will come as conferences try to get better and better teams on there schedule. It happened with the BE and could easily happen again. Teams are sought after for one of two reasons generally, money meaning they draw a crowd for TV and in the stadium and secondly they are good, which in effect draws a crowd. Teams like Colorado are bad but still draw a crowd just due to their size. BSU, even with its limited capacity draws a crowd as they continue to win. Also, a lot of people like the underdog, which a team from a smaller school provides. This type of team provides a national following even if they just want to see BSU lose, they watch the games.

Boise options

Who believes the BIG EAST conference is still viable in football? The only teams of consequence remaining are Cincinnati and Connecticut now that Louisville has opted for the ACC. Strong rumors back here in the East indicate Cincinnati and/or Connecticut will be in the ACC or elsewhere within a month. Guess what happens to that hoped for Big East FOOTBALL TV contract and bowl bids?

As I live on the East Coast, The Big East conference will remain a Basketball powerhouse which does nothing for Boise; and here, is where the Big East will garner a relatively favorable TV contract.

Considering the above, The Mountain West does not look so bad particularly when you consider the level of competition in other sports vs-a-vie The BIG West. I must say MWC basketball is definitely on the upswing with 2 teams in the top 25 this early in the season.

Thus, I favor option 2 for Boise to strengthen the MWC. However, I must say the Commissioner of the MWC appears to be even less attuned to what's happening nationally than Kustra. I suggest both individuals need to take a deep breath. Further I am surprised no one has requested to see an economic and competitive evaluation upon the ENTIRE Boise sports program when choosing a potential conference.

Boise could negotiate from a position of strengthen with the MWC at this point in time. Also, they could seek to do as you suggested, strongly encourage the MWC to go after other teams such as Tulsa. If they wait to the eventual collapse of Big East football to the level of Conference USA or less (could be just around the corner), all leverage will be gone. Is it better to swallow a little pride now or wait for the eventual axe?

My biggest disappointment is that Maryland started this latest round (putting an end to 60 yrs of tradition and regional rivalries - I really dislike having to play Ohio State and Michigan). However, Maryland did evaluate their move on the basis of the impact on their entire sports program .... just the opposite of what Boise appears to have done. Like I implied, the air must be different in the West.

You're kidding right?

Most of your post is thought out but the idea that Maryland or any school is looking out for "all its sports" is laughable. One sport has driven this entire mess of realignment, sacrificing 100 year rivalries. Don't be foolish. Cash and football cash and footballl....


I did read a piece in the last few days (SI, ESPN, don't recall which media outlet) that indicated Maryland dropped athletic programs last summer and that going forward the athletic program was unsustainable and the BIG 10 invitation was a welcomed bail-out.

I read the same piece...

Maryland is being sued for the $50 million dollars to leave early by the ACC. Do they make up that money by the womens gymnastic team? What sports teams make money?

What? Teams make money?

A couple of weeks ago 60 Minutes aired a program where they interviewed the Michigan Athletic Director. He said the current FBS business model is broken and went onto say that only between 20 to 23 teams out of 125 FBS athletic programs were making money or breaking even. In addition to Michigan...Alabama was the only athletic program he said was making money.

Yes and no...but great point SIF

Funky Dex razor and I have had this conversation numerous times. I guess it depends on what making money means...

JL is important to make sure the discussion is based upon the defintion of what makeing money is. Of course "60
Minutes" doesn't eactly turn a person into an expert AD. At any rate, below is a quote from an article regarding Maryland's situation.

"All that said, Maryland is headed to the Big Ten for one reason only. The athletic department is in a financial wringer because former athletic director Debbie Yow managed the budget the way teenagers manage credit cards. Attendance also dropped significantly for football and hoops.

According to the school, the department faced an $8.7 million deficit in 2013 that would escalate to $17.2 million by 2017, if nothing was done. Last summer the school announced that it would cut seven sports for financial reasons."

Here's the link to the article sent to me by a friend who's from MD Alum.,0,

Doesn't seem many people from Maryland are very happy about a road to trip to Columbus to watch a game.

Big East Additions Just Announced...

Not to worry folks, I just heard that there are going to be 3 more additions to the Big East over the next couple of years. Eastern Idaho Technical College, North Idaho College and Nampa State will joining in 2015. Don't know which sports they will bring, especially that last one.

Maybe Kustra ought to try wearing some deodorant when he goes to these big conference negotiations.

Seriously though, I think the thing that may be keeping BSU out of these major conferences is its lack of rigor and stature on the academic side. Look at all the Pac-12 schools they ALL have major federally funded research operations. Rutgers same deal. About the only thing I can think of that BSU has that is nationally recognized is the Raptor Research Center.