BOISE ID - NOVEMBER 19: Derrell Acrey #52 of the Boise State Broncos carries the Milk Can which is the Boise State - Fresno State rivalry trophy after the win against the Fresno State Bulldogs at Bronco Stadium on November 19 2010 in Boise Idaho. (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
With The Big East being, well, the Big East, coupled with the fact that the BCS and it's automatic bids are going way, it was no surprise to hear rumors that Boise State might be keeping its options open in regard to actually joining the conference.
As of this very moment, Boise has yet to actually leave the Mountain West Conference. They're cutting things awfully close because if they don't officially move to the Big East by Saturday, they'll have to double their exit fee from $2.5 million to $5 million. Unlike West Virginia, Boise seems like the kind of school that doesn't want to have to do that.
That's bad enough but if they wait until after Saturday, they also forfeit league revenue for this upcoming season, which could potentially be as much as $24 million. So, uh...what's up, Boise?
One reason Boise State hasn't formally withdrawn from the Mountain West is the Broncos don't know where they will place their Olympic, or non-football, sports. They have an agreement with the Western Athletic Conference, but the WAC has been gutted by defections and will be down to only five members in 2013 -- Idaho, New Mexico State, Denver, Seattle and Boise State.
"Boise has been up front," Hurd said. "They're looking at every option it can. Realistically we have to show Boise State we can be viable in 2013-14." Boise State also has looked into putting its Olympic sports in the Big West, but that league -- at least for now -- is not receptive to adding the Broncos.
But of course, there's also the unsaid reality that Boise no longer needs the Big East as much as it did six months ago. Automatic BCS bowl bids are going away and even joining the Big East doesn't solve post-season issues now that a four-team playoff is on the horizon. Plus with the assumption that Louisville, UConn and Rutgers will jump whenever asked by the ACC or Big 12, Boise has to be wondering if its worth it to hitch their wagon to The Providence Express.
So here's where things get sticky. The whole thought process on the Syracuse Orange and Pittsburgh Panthers leaving the Big East early is because the conference doesn't need us anymore. Without us, they have a full conference of football teams set for the 2013-2014 season. Better to part ways sooner and get on building their new brands.
However, if Boise decided not to come to the Big East, then San Diego State would surely follow and then all of a sudden who knows what happens. That destroys the Big East's grand survival plan, probably makes Houston and SMU wonder what they're getting themselves into and gives the Big East pause before letting us leave for a rival conference.
In other words, how Boise State handles it could decide whether or not the Big East lets us go a season early. I don't know about you but I've been working under the assumption that this upcoming athletic season will be our last one in the conference. To think that we'll have to play another one after that just seems...ridiculous.
Something tells me this is related more to Boise's Olympic sports and not a desire to back out of the Big East, but you never know these days. We'll know what their fate is by the end of the week, and perhaps our own as well.