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What if Boise State was in a different Conference? 2nd edition: The BIG12

There are roughly 5 weeks until Boise State football kicks off against UCF in Orlando. Over these next several weeks I want to look at how Boise State football would fare as a member of each Power 5 conference and the AAC. 2nd Edition - The BIG12.

We will start with the lower tier conferences and work our way up each week in the following order: AAC, BIG12, Pac12, ACC, B1G, and SEC.

This Week: The BIG12.

With the current state of college football and a big conference shuffle looming (specifically involving the BIG12) this topic has become even more interesting.

The BIG12 has always been recognized as one of the best football conferences in the country. With the likes of Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor, and Oklahoma State among others they have the quality and brand power to back that up. The Big12 was however a loser in the last round of conference realignment losing Texas A&M, Nebraska, Missouri, and Colorado to other conferences and never getting back to their namesakes 12 members only adding TCU and West Virginia. The Big12 did explore expansion several years ago (Boise State was a candidate) but never pulled the trigger choosing instead to remain at 10 teams. Now with the Loss of Texas and Oklahoma they will most definitely be in the market for 2-8 teams if they don't dissolve first.

For our purposes today we will still include Texas and Oklahoma as they have not yet officially left the conference and will likely be there for the next season or two.

FUN FACT: Boise State was a candidate for the BIG12 when the conference explored the idea of expanding in 2016. The BIG12 ultimately decided to stay at 10 teams.

We’ll use the F+ ratings available at FootballOutsiders.com. The two components of F+ (S&P+ and FEI) both adjust for opponents and strength of schedule, so this should theoretically give us a pretty good idea of how well the Broncos would fare outside of the MWC.

Let's take a look!

BSU in The BIG12

School

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

Boise State

35

30

22

20

19

Texas

14

22

26

41

49

Oklahoma

5

10

4

6

8

Oklahoma St

20

31

28

12

17

Baylor

63

16

63

97

52

Texas Tech

76

53

38

51

66

TCU

29

39

46

75

90

Iowa St

9

23

33

26

70

Kansas

119

101

94

123

108

Kansas St

67

35

64

48

34

West Virginia

37

85

19

40

76

As you can see, Boise State would have a much more difficult path on the road to the conference championship. The BI12 has averaged 6 teams ranked in the top 50 for the past 5 years. If we look at the top 75, that number of teams jumps to 8 on average. The Big12 also averages only 1 team a year who are ranked 100 or lower.

Ok, so now let’s break down the table a little bit. (Note: F+ rankings in parentheses.)

So then, by the numbers in 2020 BSU (35) would have been the #6 team in the The Big12. With the biggest challenges coming from Oklahoma (5), Iowa St (9), Texas (14), and Oklahoma St (20). The solid teams in the Big12 don't stop there though. There is still TCU (29), WVU (37), and Baylor (63). BSU would definitely have some big hurdles to win the conference and I believe they would have definitely missed out on the title game in 2020.

Boise State looks like they would be fairly competitive in the Big12 over the last 5 years. If we go solely by the rankings the Broncos would have come in 6th, 5th, 3rd, 3rd, and 3rd in the conference respectively. We also know that rankings are definitely not everything in college football meaning they could beat higher ranked teams or possibly lose to lower ranked teams.

I believe Boise would be in the title race conversation each year but would definitely have to pull a few upsets to make a title game most years. It would definitely be a tougher schedule than the Mountain West Conference.

Head to head results over the past five years

2021 - BSU vs Oklahoma St - TBD

2018 - BSU 21 at Oklahoma St 44

2016 - BSU 12 vs. Baylor 31

Predicted Records:

2020 - 6-4 (6-4) (5th in conference)

2019 - 12-2 (8-1) (2nd in conference)

2018 - 10-3 (6-3) (T-3rd in conference)

2017 - 10-4 (7-2) (2nd in conference)

2016 - 12-2 (7-2) (2nd in conference)

*For the above records I kept the broncos out of conference record the same and adjusted their in conference record for playing the Big12 slate instead of the MWC. Also I based the 2020 record as if they had played a full conference schedule plus BYU.

The Broncos wouldn't have any room for error on their way to the conference championship every year. They would regularly have 4 to 5 solid teams they would have to get through each year (A down season here would mean no hopes for a conference title).

I would expect a floor of 6 wins, and really no ceiling.

To sum it all up: The Big12 is a big jump in competition compared to the MWC and even the AAC. Boise would still be competitive and compete for the title on a regular basis.

Once Oklahoma and Texas split for the SEC Boise would look much better in this conference and likely be able to secure a conference title in a few of those seasons.

Up NexNEXT UP: PAC12

This content was not created by OBNUG and therefore may not meet our standards. On the contrary, it probably exceeds them.