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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Transcontinental College Football--A New Subdivision in the Making?

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WOW!

That's all I can say.  If the Big East successfully woos Boise State, it will be the first transcontinental football conference.  If it had wooed Utah instead, it would be reminiscent of driving the transcontinental railroad "golden spike"; Promontory Summit is about 90 miles from SLC.  On the other hand, Boise is a good 250 miles farther west than SLC!

Whether Boise State accepts or not depends on their expectation of improved chances regarding the BCS National Championship.  This is truly a great case of decision making at the margin for BSU since it isn't clear they can do any better in the Big East than they've done in the Mountain West.

But to me the more interesting response is by The Mountain West Conference and C-USA... their own transcontinental response if you will.  They have a new college football "association" on the drawing board.  Details are completely sketchy at this point but just the two of them span a vast part of the U.S.  It also is important to note that the two stress that this is a football only "association".

An "association" of 22 FBS football programs, none of which really has any hope of making a BCS game, smacks to me of the creation of a new college football subdivision.  The two tout right now that they have terrific TV appeal to go with geographic match ups.  All they need now is the MAC and Sun Belt to buy into it.  Programs in this larger version of the "association" play in 25%-30% of the non-BCS bowl games and could easily create their own version of the BCS.

Which brings us back to BSU.  It's perhaps a little more likely that Boise State's decision at the margin will lead them to refuse the Big East.  Then what?  The Big East could easily leave the BCS (or be forced out by the rules that specify BCS conference size) and join with these other conferences in their "association".

The rise of rival associations is naturally to be expected in the current conference shake out.  After all, it is the FBS that is the novelty, D-IA used to mean that ANY team could contend but FBS means a team can only contend from a BCS game.

So, what do you all think?  What will BSU do?  And what of the Big East?  Informed economic perspectives welcome (as opposed to arguments based on past allegiance and "money crazy" athletic directors).