The Boise State Broncos are expected to announce their move to the Big East today, along with San Diego State, Houston, SMU, and Central Florida. (Press conference is at 3:00 p.m. MT.) This is great news if you love shaking things up or were holding off on that Mountain West TV channel purchase. For the rest of us, there may be mixed feelings.
To mitigate mixed feelings, I thought it would be a good idea to give Bronco fans an introduction to their new conference. From future rivalries to past history, find out all you need to know and more about the Big East after the jump.
Meet your new conference commissioner
The man pictured above is John Marinatto, Big East commissioner and Olive Garden aficionado. He has been with the Big East since 2002 and has served as athletic director since 2009. Prior to joining the Big East, Marinatto was the athletic director at his alma mater Providence. On a scale of past Boise State conference commissioners, Marinatto could beat up Craig Thompson who could beat up Karl Benson.
Meet your new conference rivals
Connecticut Huskies - This team played in the Fiesta Bowl last season, and after finishing 5-7 this year, it looks like the football gods want to make sure that never happens again. Fun fact: Storrs, Connecticut, is 2,600 miles from Boise, Idaho. Google Maps says it will take you 33 days and four hours to walk there, plus a ferry ride.
Cincinnati Bearcats - It seems like just yesterday that Cincinnati was storming the top of the Top 25 rankings with its Brian Kelly-coached aerial attack. Or maybe that was just the last Orange Bowl I bothered watching. Either way, no more Brian Kelly and no more high-flying aerial attack. Cincinnati wins its games with defense and crippling apathy.
Louisville Cardinals - Louisville ended BSU's perfect 2003 season with a four-point win in the Liberty Bowl almost 7 years ago. Sweet revenge is finally here! Now if only John L. Smith were still coaching here.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights - The Knights have one of the conference's best coaches in Greg Schiano who, until recently, was one of the hottest coaching commodities around until people realized that, oh, he was serious about staying at Rutgers for a long time. Weird.
South Florida - The Bulls have enjoyed glimpses of the spotlight during their tenure in the Big East but nothing too remarkable. They are the Louisiana Tech of the Big East, nearest I can tell.
Houston Cougars - As the latest non-BCS flavor of the month, Houston is expected by many to be more "Hawaii 2007" than "Boise State eternity." The Cougars will lose quarterback Case Keenum and probably head coach Kevin Sumlin before next season. But as long as the team remains in the TV mecca of Houston, the Big East don't care.
SMU Mustangs - There is a lot of history with the SMU football team, dating back to Craig James and the Pony Express and the famed Death Penalty. But what I'm most excited about with having the Mustangs on the schedule is this: The return of pure June Jones hate. Yippee!
Update: My June Jones hate party may be premature. He might take the Arizona State job.
San Diego State Aztecs - The Aztecs may have been a last-minute fill-in when better football options fell through, but that's not to say SDSU was a bad choice. The team has been improving slowly but surely for years now, and Rocky Long will welcome the opportunity to rustle feathers nationwide. People do have feathers on the East Coast, right?
Central Florida Knights - This UCF team was expected to be a non-BCS darling this season, but that just plain didn't happen. Still, the fact that they even had preseason pub speaks to how talented this team is/was. Or they could just be Fresno East.
Say good-bye to conference rivals who would have been better at football
West Virginia is leaving the Big East for the Big 12. This is exciting news for everyone who is not the Big East.
Pittsburgh and Syracuse are leaving the Big East for the ACC. No one bothered asking why.
Enjoy some Big East history, most of which is true but some of which I made up
- 1979 - The Big East is founded by a group of schools with a primary focus on basketball. Oh if the founding fathers could see the conference now!
- 1982 - Penn State applies for membership and is rejected. The Big East would probably like to have that one back.
- 1991 - The inaugural Big East football season launches with teams like Rutgers, Miami, Temple, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia.
- 1998 - The BCS begins. End times literature on the rise.
- 1999 - Big East champion Syracuse plays in the January 1999 Orange Bowl. Syracuse is the first Big East BCS representative. They are 8-3 on the season and lose by three touchdowns to Florida.
- 2001 - Miami (FL) wins the BCS national championship over Nebraska. The Big East begins printing money.
- 2002 - Miami (FL) loses the BCS national championship to Ohio State. The Big East takes a bath on "Miami Repeat" t-shirts.
- 2004 - Temple gets kicked out of the Big East for lack of fan support.
- 2004 - Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College leave for the ACC in one of the biggest conference realignment moves of the decade, foreshadowing the future of college football when everyone moves conferences just for the fun of it.
- 2005 - C-USA schools Louisville, Cincinnati, and South Florida join the Big East. Hope springs eternal.
- 2009 - Cincinnati finishes the regular season ranked No. 3 in the country with a perfect 12-0 record. The Bearcats give up 51 to Florida and lose the Sugar Bowl.
- 2010 - TCU accepts an invitation to join the Big East, provided no better offers come along. A better offer comes along within a year.
- 2011 - West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse plan to leave. Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, UCF, and SMU plan to arrive. Shift change!
Check out your new conference map
One of the hilarious qualities of the new Big East is that it is not so much "east" as it is "ubiquitous." From San Diego to Connecticut, the Broncos' new conference covers most of the country and, though the Big East plans an East-West split, Boise State can expect to log some pretty hefty frequent flyer miles over the next however long they stay in the Big East.
A guide to things that are not yet determined
The Big East has an automatic berth in the BCS for the next couple years, at which time the BCS will reevalute itself and maybe take away the Big East's automatic berth. Nobody knows.
A new television contract is in the works for the Big East. Bronco fans are hoping it is lucrative as all get out, but it's hard to tell at this point how things might end up, considering the fluctuating Big East membership. ESPN may bite. Leonard's Pizza Review YouTube channel may bite. We'll see.
The Big East hopes to add additional members in order to hold a conference championship game, which would help with the aforementioned TV contract. As it stands, the conference is at 10 future teams. It needs a couple more to get into championship game land.
Teams that the Big East is interested in include Navy, Air Force, and BYU. The Cougars supposedly turned down their Big East invitation due to a hangup with television rights and money. Air Force and Navy may be waiting to see if Boise State holds strong on its stance that no Big East members run the triple option.
Boise State is expected to join the Big East for the 2013 season, which would mean the Broncos will still be playing in the Mountain West next fall and still feature the world's largest, ugliest conference logo on the blue turf. No word yet on where Boise State's other sports will go.
Update: Sounds like Boise State's other sports are going back to the WAC.
A guide to Big East blogs
SB Nation has a blog for pretty much every team in every sport that has ever been played, so yeah, there are blogs for our new Big East rivals. Here are the links:
- General Big East stuff and junk - Big East Coast Bias
- Cincinnati Bearcats - Down the Drive
- UCONN Huskies - The UConn Blog
- Louisville Cardinals - Card Chronicle
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights - On the Banks
- South Florida Bulls - Voodoo Five
What do you know about the Big East? What has you excited? What has you worried? See any fun, new rivalries that might develop? Share your thoughts in the comments.