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What if Boise State was in a different Conference? 3rd edition: The PAC12

There are 2 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. 3rd Edition - The PAC12.

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.

Las Vegas Bowl - Boise State v Oregon

This Week: The PAC12.

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

The Pac12 has long been the dream landing spot for many Boise State fans as well as for coaches, AD's and presidents at BSU. Although they may not be as prestigious as days past, the Pac12 has always been recognized as one of the top football conferences in the country. With the likes of blue bloods like USC, UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, and Washington as well as teams like ASU, Utah, WSU and Cal who can be elite in any given year, This conference is no pushover.

With conference realignment in the air, could the Pac12 be looking to expand and add top tier teams like BSU and BYU to bolster their brand?

FUN FACT: Boise State is 13-5 against the Pac12 since 2006

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 PAC12

School

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

Boise State

35

30

22

20

19

USC

19

25

47

21

8

UCLA

44

73

83

55

52

CAL

86

60

60

70

63

Stanford

71

76

30

22

17

Washington

27

17

15

9

3

Washington St

87

33

27

42

26

Oregon

26

11

45

43

60

Oregon St

82

61

112

118

74

Arizona

111

93

66

54

85

Arizona St

16

44

49

60

77

Utah

32

13

23

32

34

Colorado

69

74

82

72

32

As you can see, Boise State would be a pretty solid fit in the Pac12 and would easily be in the top half of the conference most seasons. The PAC12 has averaged just over 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 almost 10 on average. The PAC12 also averages less than 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 ASU (16), USC (19), Oregon (26), and Washington (27). The solid teams in the PAC12 don't stop there though. There is still Utah (32), UCLA (44), and Colorado (69). BSU would definitely have some hurdles to win the conference and I believe they would have definitely missed out on the title game the last 2 seasons.

Boise State is not only a good fit geographically but also competitively. They look like they would be near the top of the PAC12 most years. If we go solely by the rankings the Broncos would have come in 6th, 5th, 2nd, 2nd, and 4th 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

2019 - BSU 7 vs Washington 38

2018 - BSU 44 at Washington St 47 - 3OT

2018 - BSU 38 vs Oregon 28

2016 - BSU 31 vs. Washington St 28

2016 - BSU 38 at Oregon St 24

Predicted Records:

2020 - 7-3 (7-2) (4th in conference)

2019 - 9-4 (6-3) (4th in conference)

2018 - 12-2 (8-1) (1st in conference)

2017 - 10-3 (7-2) (3rd in conference)

2016 - 12-1 (8-1) (3rd 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 PAC12 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 7 wins, and really no ceiling.

To sum it all up: The PAC12 is a big jump in competition compared to the MWC and even the AAC. It may even be a slight bump up from the BIG12. Boise would still be competitive and compete for the title on a regular basis but as you can see above even a 1 or 2 loss season could mean being left out of the title game. All in all Boise would be a great fit in the PAC12 and raise the level of the top half of the conference.

Up NEXT UP: ACC


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