Many people wonder if the Pac 12 Conference will ever follow the likes of the SEC, Big Ten, or ACC and expand to fourteen members. After being left out of the National Championship, most everyone in the country agrees that the Big 12 Conference needs to expand beyond its current ten members, despite having the largest of all conference media contracts. But the truth is that for the Pac 12 Conference not much would be gained by adding two new members with whom to divide the spoils of their very large and lucrative TV media money revenue.
Let's look at the possible candidates for expansion in the Pacific West region. SDSU, San Jose State, and Fresno State are all in markets of one million plus which could theoretically bring the conference more money, except that the the Pac 12 already pretty much has the entire California market in the bag between Cal, Stanford, USC, and UCLA.
Now UNLV and Mexico are also located in markets of one million plus. Markets which would be new to the Pac 12, but aside from a couple of pretty good men's basketball programs they don't offer much in the way of competitive athletic strength, also called Strength of Schedule (SOS). Football is where the money is at and the Lobos and Rebels historically have two of the worst football programs in NCAA history. They might bring in a few more million TV dollars but after that new money is divided between fourteen members it might not be worth missing out on a National Title or New Years Six berth potentially worth tens of millions due to the SOS taking a major hit. As it is now the Pac 12 really only has two schools that many think of as "dead weight".
The University of Colorado is located in the Denver market and although they haven't performed very well the past couple of years, the Buffaloes more than pay for themselves in terms of population base and with regards to SOS due to their having previously been a member of the Big 12 Conference and a couple of National Championships under their belt. Beating CU is akin to beating Vanderbilt, a terrible SEC school in a large market. It still counts for something.
The other school is Washington State University, located in Pullman, Washington, metro population 31,395. Also known as Wazzou, the Cougars have no real tradition or championship history to speak of and have never really been that good. Beating Wazzou is like beating the Idaho Vandals, despite their being a so-called "Power 5 school".
This brings us to the premise of this post, and that premise is that there is a way that the Pac 12 can make more money without adding new mouths to feed; cut Wazzou and replace them with a new member, thus keeping the conference at twelve members. More money and the same number of mouths to feed. That new member?
The Boise State University Broncos.
Located in Boise, Idaho, metro population 700,000+ and growing (estimated to reach one million within ten years), the Broncos also have 1.6 million viewers locked in statewide. Add those numbers, twenty-two times those of Wazzou, plus the added football SOS that the Broncos bring to the table, and the Pac 12 would have more money to spread around. The three time Fiesta Bowl champion Broncos are perennial contenders for New Six Bowls worth tens of millions of dollars, despite their being a member of a lesser so-called Group of 5 conference. Put the Broncos in Power 5 conference and they very well could make into the National Championship, or at the very least their SOS would help to give the Pac 12 overall more access.
Just a few years ago TCU was a nationally ranked member of the "lesser" Mountain West Conference, current home of Boise State. Now in the Big 12 the Horned Toads nearly went to the National Championships this past year and they would have if the Big 12 had enough members to have a conference championship game.
Imagine the value Boise State could add to the Pac 12 similar to that of TCU for the Big 12. This arrangement can only add to the conference's financial coffers by dumping a worthless Wazzou in favor of a bucking Bronco.
Oh, and it doesn't hurt that the Broncos are pretty darn good at the other major revenue sport, basketball.