The biggest news that has emanated from the Big East's annual spring meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., is that Boise State athletic director Mark Coyle said the Broncos are headed to the league next fall.
That's good news for the Big East (a league that really needs some) because Boise State – a team that technically isn't even in the league yet – will be the only football program in the conference with any type of national cachet. Had the Broncos backed out and stayed away, the national perception of the Big East would've dropped even more.
Boise State is entering its second season in the Mountain West, and some observers thought the Broncos would do the same thing as MWC foe TCU: renege on an agreement to join the Big East and instead go elsewhere. In TCU's case, it was to the Big 12. Boise State didn't have the Big 12 as a fallback; had it not gone to the Big East, it would've had to stay in the MWC, at least for a while.
There were reports of discussions between Boise State and Mountain West about remaining in the league. But while Coyle said the talks didn't occur, MWC commissioner Craig Thompson released a statement Monday saying that they did. Regardless of the he-said/he-said gamesmanship with Coyle and Thompson, it's evident now that Boise is moving on. And that is huge for the Big East.
TCU's decision to move to the Big 12 was a blow to the Big East. The same goes for West Virginia's walking away from the league after this academic year and joining the Big 12. In addition, Pittsburgh and Syracuse already have announced that they are leaving the Big East to join the ACC; both hope to be in the ACC starting with the 2013-14 academic year.
Had Boise State also reneged, the Big East's football banner would've been carried by ... Cincinnati? Louisville? Connecticut? USF? It would have been enough to make any Big East fan shudder – and fans of teams in other leagues chuckle.
The Big East is bringing in Temple this season, four teams from Conference USA (Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF) and two from the MWC (Boise and San Diego State) next season and Navy in 2014. While the four C-USA schools are coming aboard as full-fledged league members, the other four are football-only members. And there is no doubt that Boise State is the lead dog in that pack.
"For a whole variety of reasons, the conference is a fabulous platform for Boise," Big East interim commissioner Joe Bailey told reporters Monday.
Frankly, Boise serves the foundation of that platform. And, yes, there is a somewhat surreal aspect to a league based in Rhode Island depending on a school from Idaho to salvage its football reputation.
• ESPN/ABC made it official Tuesday afternoon, announcing it would televise the Alabama-Michigan game in prime time on Sept. 1 from Arlington, Texas. While it always was assumed that would be the case, you now can write it in stone: ABC, 8 p.m., from Jerry Jones' palace.
• Some other contests officially were announced as TV games, too. ESPN will televise Washington State at BYU on Aug. 30 at 10:15 p.m. That's the first game for new Cougars coach Mike Leach; it originally was scheduled for Sept. 1. ESPNU will show Texas A&M vs. Louisiana Tech in Shreveport, La., on Aug. 30, at a time to be determined; that game also was moved from Sept. 1. In addition, Connecticut moved its home game against Massachusetts from Sept. 1 to Aug. 30; it will be UMass' first-ever game as a FBS member. Alas, it won't be televised. (Which begs the question: Why move the game to Thursday then?).
• The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Ohio State had self-reported 46 secondary violations in all sports to the NCAA since May 30, 2011. Most are incredibly minor and indubitably ludicrous. Among them: Linebacker coach Mike Vrabel used chewing tobacco on the sideline during some games last season, which is against NCAA rules. In addition, then-running back coach Dick Tressel, when responding to a text message from the parents of a recruit, texted back and told them which gate to use to enter Ohio Stadium. Texting the parents of a recruit was a no-no.
• Exactly 100 days from today, the 2012 season opens.
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