Big 10 expansion: Could this be the impetus for Boise State leaving the WAC?

Conference realignment speculation is always a blast, kind of like fantasy football before the season actually starts and you realize what a horrible, horrible mistake you've made in picking Steve Slaton (conference realignment parallel: adding NMSU, Utah State, and Idaho to the WAC).

But in its early stages, realignment theories are the offseason hope that keeps fanbases going, and the trickle-down effect of one conference's decisions can have a far-reaching impact. Could the Big Ten's plans for expansion aid a Boise State move to the MWC? What situations can you foresee that would get the Broncos out of the WAC? Join me after a jump for a list of the Big Ten's candidates and some theories on what could go down.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney spilled the beans about the conference's Manifest Destiny, hinting that the move might be a serious one since the Big Ten Network is set to debut next year on a channel package that you probably don't have.

"I think we need to look at it in the next year," he said during a wide-ranging interview with Register reporters.

Adding a 12th team likely will be revisited because of the network, which is scheduled to launch Aug. 30, Delany said. An additional big-name university in a large television market means more exposure for the network and its sponsors.

Speculation has already begun about which teams the Big Ten might target. In no particular order, here are several that have been tossed about by sites like Dr. Saturday and FanBlogs:

  • Notre Dame
  • Rutgers
  • Boston College
  • Navy
  • UCONN
  • Syracuse
  • Pitt
  • Cincinnati
  • Louisville
  • Missouri

Obviously, the immediate move of one of these schools does not affect the Broncos, but the dominos that would fall afterwards certainly might. What situations can you foresee that would get the Broncos out of the WAC? Here are some that I came up with. Add your own in the comments:

  1. The Big Ten takes Missouri from The Big XII. The Big XII takes TCU or Colorado State from the MWC. The MWC adds Boise State.
  2. The Big Ten takes Louisville from the Big East. The Big East takes a C-USA team like Memphis or Houston. The C-USA takes a MAC school. The MAC takes a MWC school. The MWC adds Boise State.
  3. The Big Ten takes Boston College from the ACC. The ACC takes East Carolina from C-USA, C-USA takes a MAC school, the MAC takes a MWC, the MWC adds Boise State.

Adding an independent school like Notre Dame or Navy probably won't change anything for the Broncos, but the potential move of other schools at least opens the door for the possibility of NCAA-wide realignment. Think the Big Ten expansion gives the Broncos a better chance to bolt the WAC? Share your thoughts and theories in the comments.

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