Potential Move to the AAC

While this topic has been brought up as part of other posts as of late with some discussion, I felt it was worth dedicating a post to it to have a healthy discussion weighing the Pros and Cons of the move to the AAC.

Now I will be up front and honest and say that I have been of the opinion that leaving the Mountain West is crucial if Boise State wants to continue to develop as a National Brand. I have actually expressed this opinion for a few years now after watching the AAC putting conference champ after conference champ into the NY6 bowls while the MW Champ repeatedly goes to Vegas to face a 6-7 win PAC12 team.

Here are my thoughts on the move:

1) As mentioned above it puts us in the conference that is clearly taking far more trips to the NY6 bowl than any other G5 conference. Their conference champ has landed the bid 5 times out of 7 (and one of those times they missed it was because we snagged it).

2) It puts all the G5 teams that have WON NY6 bowls into one conference. Something about that sits well with me as that was Boise's vision when we originally joined the Mountain West, but unlike the MWC scenario I don't think it's likely that any of the AAC teams bolt in the next few seasons.

3) The AAC has had multiple ranked teams at the end of most seasons under the current system while the Mountain West has been lucky to have more than 1. How do the conferences compare under the current setup that started in 2014?

2014: Mountain West (1), AAC (0)

2015: Mountain West (0), AAC (2)

2016: Mountain West (1), AAC (1)

2017: Mountain West (1), AAC (3)

2018: Mountain West (3), AAC (2)

2019: Mountain West (2), AAC (4)

2020: Mountain West (1), AAC (2)

It gets even worse when remove BSU from the equation as we account for 4 of those ranked teams from the MW (or just shy of half of the total count of ranked teams.

4) Say what you will about the money but it is needed to help us pay off all those upgrades we have done. As of last year the AAC schools get just shy of $7 million per year per member, while the newest Mountain West media deal pays out $4 million a year. Now obviously we have to factor in Football Only to those numbers which will narrow the gap a bit but football still commands the lions' share of that deal. In addition all those extra NY6 bowl appearances will only add to the pot even in years that we don't make it.

5) Gives us a chance to have more exposure in other parts of the country (ie recruiting, media attention, etc.) and IMHO does a better job of helping us out as a national brand, rather than just a G5 program that plays out west, but that someone might recognize the name

6) All of the aforementioned gives us the opportunity for at least some Growth as a Program in just about every respect. The Mountain West is just us playing the same old WAC teams over and over again that we get zero credit for.

Now what are the potential downsides:

1) Where do we put our other sports. This IMHO is the most legitimate concern. The Big West could be a home for them and a generally good fit. In the past there was serious concern about the Mountain West being a much better Basketball Conference, but it's pretty clear the Mountain West isn't anywhere near the Basketball Power that it once was. Obviously it would be nice to find a bit better home for our hoops teams but I don't see a huge drawback in that respect any more.

2) Regional Rivalries. I see this one brought up and while I get there are some folks who really want to see us play Fresno State, Nevada and possibly SDSU as regular games, I just don't feel that these rivalries are worth sacrificing all of the positives listed above. We aren't talking about giving up an Alabama vs Auburn, Oregon vs Oregon State, Oklahoma vs Oklahoma State type rivalries here we are talking about giving up what amounts to small scale regional rivalries. No one complains that we aren't playing Montana, Montana State or a number of other teams we left behind when we left the Big Sky, so why is it that some are getting hung up on these teams that don't help build the program as a national brand? Furthermore who is to say we can't develop new rivalries? BYU has never once been in a conference with us yet I think most would agree that we have started developing a pretty solid rivalry with them.

3) Increased travel for players and fans. This is definitely a concern for travel, but the truth is that it's a part of the life of the athlete. As for the fans, yes for away games would take a hit, although in light of recent world events and with no end in sight, I'm not sure how big of an impact that would actually be.

So there it is. Would love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the replies.

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