Boise State football is an exceptional product. The Bronco fan base is on fire and its facilities are star quality. The Taco Bell Arena is appreciable as a basketball venue. You mention Bronco football and the vibes are positive.
But the Mountain West Conference is not going to expand and invite Boise State.
It will not happen this year, next year, or perhaps ever. Unless the BCS throws out one more hurdle that the Pac-10, Big Ten or a prospective automatic qualifying league like the MWC needs to expand and hold a playoff, it isn't happening.
And that has nothing to do with the quality and respect of Boise State.
It's simply a matter of economics.
The MWC doesn't want to cut another piece of its revenue pie from collective TV contracts, the BCS money or five bowls, as meager as that bowl money actually turns out to be.
When asked about the issue this past week at the MWC football media days, commissioner Craig Thompson's answer was simple: No plans for expansion.
That wasn't a decision made by Thompson. It was made by the presidents of MWC schools, who have reviewed in-depth studies of what Boise State would add to the league considering revenue, travel partners, competition in other sports, academics, TV market and other considerations.
Adding Boise State right now would cost MWC schools money.
There is also concern from the mid and lower tier of MWC schools that losses to TCU, Utah and BYU — and then Boise State — in league play would make an appearance in one of the league's five bowl games much tougher.
Three of those schools — New Mexico, Wyoming and San Diego State — just replaced their coaching staffs, in part due to a lack of success against the Big Three in football. They do not welcome a Big Four.
Would Boise State enhance the MWC's chances to become an automatic qualifier in the BCS in four years? It's a good argument but more of a guess based on window dressing: You fancy up the display and the shopper is impressed.
Maybe it would, maybe it would not.
Boise State is good enough and, if added to a MWC Big Four, the cannibal party would begin. Pass the bone marrow.
Don't the Pac-10, Big 12, SEC and Big Ten cannibalize each other all the time? Yes. But one or two losses in those leagues can still get you a shot at a BCS game. One loss in the WAC or MWC leaves you outside the BCS veil — regardless of how respected or ranked your league brothers are.
No non-BCS conference champion has ever gone to a BCS bowl with a loss. And probably never will.
If Boise State gets past Oregon on Sept. 3, the Broncos should be undefeated and ranked in the Top 10 at the end of the year. Impressive. The MWC should salute BSU for the run.
The Broncos finished ranked No. 49 in the Director's Cup Standings, a ranking of all athletic programs and respective sports. That is also impressive when you consider BYU, usually in the Top 25, slipped to No. 47 and for the first time in memory trailed another conference member, TCU, at 42nd.
But that isn't turning the heads of MWC presidents. A majority of these executives do not want expansion. Period.
If presidents at BYU, Utah and TCU voted to invite Boise State, they would still be outvoted by the other six.
They like the status quo as they continue to sic Thompson at the BCS with proposals, reforms, testimony, lawyers and complaints.
For now, the MWC will lead this fight and wade through BCS arrogance with the same roster.
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