Yesterday, Gene Bleymaier emerged from his Fiesta Bowl hangover, took one look at BSU's athletic budget, and thusly declared Boise State open for big-money away games to the highest bidder.
Today, the WAC fired an intern.
Cost-cutting and money-raising efforts by both institutions couldn't be more opposite. On the one hand, you have Boise State actively seeking new income sources in exciting new areas. On the other, you have the WAC pinching pennies by changing the in-person basketball media day into an over-the-phone teleconference.
The WAC's "cost containment" measures emphasize frugality rather than ingenuity. It would have been nice to see Boise State's conference take bold steps in a new direction rather than make like Eeyore and feel sorry for themselves. In tough times, it takes some bold moves to stay on top of things.
I am speaking, of course, of a WAC Championship game.
All the other conferences are doing it, or at least, they're wanting to do it. Conference championship games are supposed to equal big money, and throwing another marquee game onto the WAC's slate (currently featuring a total of two or three marquee games in any given five year span) could do nothing but help.
Of course, in order to have a WAC championship, it would be ideal if the WAC had an even number of teams. The current nine would make a rather odd and meaningless championship showdown. I don't think we really need to see Boise State vs. Nevada on back-to-back weekends. Packfans might think so, but I do not.
So let's add North Texas to make it an even 10.
In this make-believe version of the WAC, last year's standings (assuming North Texas was awful to a greater degree than even Idaho and NMSU were awful) would have looked like this:
|Boise State (9)||9-0|
|San Jose State||5-4|
|New Mexico State||2-7||
And your 2008 WAC Championship game would have featured ... Boise State vs. Hawaii! A veritable ratings bonanza!
(Hawaii wins the tiebreaker because of their 2-0 head-to-head record against Nevada and LaTech and because WAC commissioner Karl Benson is deathly afraid of Villi the island warrior.)
Have the championship game in Denver (home of Benson's Karl Cave and WAC headquarters), get a highly respected title sponsor (say, Magic Jack or Cash4Gold.com), and work out a lucrative bowl tie-in for the winner. Presto, change-o, instant cash flow for the conference.
Of course, like any great idea I come up with over Pop-Tart breakfast, there are downsides, and this one has its fair share.
- Even with 10 teams, the WAC would still be the smallest conference with a championship game. Is a championship even necessary at that point? *
- The other reason why a championship game wouldn't be necessary is that everyone already knows that the Broncos are head and shoulders above the rest of the conference. There's no need to rub it in.
- There's a good possibility that no one will watch and it won't make that much extra money. Do you remember who played in last year's C-USA championship game? Did you even watch the ACC championship?
- I hate conference championship games. I don't see the point. All they do is needlessly boost certain schools' strength of schedule, serve as a gaping maw for money, and make life that much more difficult for the team who wins and who just as easily could have been crowned conference champion by virtue of a regular season record.
I'll admit. The idea is flawed. But at least it's an idea.
And at least it beats firing an intern.
*Turns out a championship game with 10 teams would not only be necessary, it would also be illegal.