Source: Boise in talks to stay in MWC
The Mountain West and Boise State are having ongoing dialogue about the Broncos staying in the conference instead of leaving for the Big East in fall 2013, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told ESPN.com on Friday night.
The source said the focus of the Mountain West is to lure the Broncos back in light of the Big East shakeup that has seen Louisville and Rutgers commit to leave the league for the ACC and the Big Ten, respectively, in 2014, and then the potential devaluing of the television deal with seven Catholic-based non-FBS schools announcing a split as late as June 30, 2015.
Boise State could be forced to make a quick choice between the two conferences because the Mountain West and CBS have agreed to restructure their television deal, CBSSports.com reported Friday, citing anonymous sources.
A new deal could mean millions more for Mountain West schools through the 2015-2016 school year and make the Mountain West the dominant non-BCS conference in the country.
In contrast, multiple sources told ESPN the Big East is having a hard time putting together a long-term television contract with the membership in flux for 2014 and beyond.
Neither the Big East nor the Mountain West champion is guaranteed a spot in the four current BCS bowls after the FBS playoffs begin in 2014.
The Mountain West has had no discussions with San Diego State, which is also scheduled to leave the conference in fall 2013, the source told ESPN.
The Aztecs and Broncos are scheduled to place the rest of their sports in the Big West. San Diego State worked hard to ensure the Broncos also could join the Aztecs in the Big West since Boise State would join Hawaii as the only non-California schools in the conference.
The Big East, which has a television contract for football in fall 2013, but not the 2013-14 basketball season yet, released a football schedule that included Boise State on Dec. 11.
The Big East announced it would have a two-division format for football, with Boise State in a West Division with San Diego State, Central Florida, SMU, Houston and Memphis. The East Division is slated to include Rutgers, Louisville, Connecticut, Cincinnati, Temple and South Florida.
Boise State's Big East schedule for 2013 had games against Houston, Louisville, Memphis and Rutgers at home with conference road games at Cincinnati, San Diego State, SMU and Temple.Sources at Cincinnati and UConn are under the impression, even if it's not known to be true yet, that the Big Ten will raid the ACC for two more schools -- North Carolina and Georgia Tech.
The source said that current and scheduled 2013 Mountain West members New Mexico, Colorado State, UNLV, Air Force, Wyoming, Nevada, Fresno State and incoming Utah State and San Jose State -- and Hawaii in just football -- have pledged a commitment to the Mountain West. The hope is Boise State will reconsider and come back to the Mountain West.
The remaining Mountain West members are attempting to convince Boise State that it would have more security staying put rather than going to a conference that could still lose two key members in Cincinnati and UConn if there is more movement by the Big Ten and ACC. Cincinnati and UConn were public about their desire to join the ACC, but Louisville was chosen over the two rivals.
At this point, both schools have to stay in the Big East, but sources at Cincinnati and UConn are under the impression, even if it's not known to be true yet, that the Big Ten will raid the ACC for two more schools -- North Carolina and Georgia Tech.
Both Cincinnati and UConn sources have said they ultimately think their schools will be in the ACC.
Of course, the Big Ten may not move beyond 14 members. Still, ACC schools that could be ripe for poaching -- Florida State and Clemson for a possible Big 12 play and NC State and Virginia Tech as a possibility to the SEC -- are waiting to see what happens with a lawsuit over whether Maryland has to pay a $52 million exit fee to join the Big Ten.
Boise State hasn't made any public statements that it won't continue its Big East commitment for 2013. But a decision would have to be made soon because of scheduling issues that would arise the longer this continues.