Who doesn’t like a good underdog story? The little guy from humble beginnings that rises to prominence. If it sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it in a thousand sports movies. Saturday Boise State met the midnight deadline to exit the Mountain West. The Broncos will make the move to the Big East in the hope of finally finding recognition reserved for BCS conference schools. Sometimes the grass is not greener. In the case of Boise State football, that statement couldn’t be more true.
Hollywood can’t help themselves from selling the rising from the ashes story line. Moneyball,Miracle, Seabiscuit, Rudy, and all the other movies that you just thought of. The BSU football program is right up there. What gets lost in the glossy retelling of BCS wins, and can-do spirit, is the road traveled to get there.
The Broncos didn’t join the NCAA until the year 1970 as a Division II program. It took a mere 26 years for BSU to rise to Division I-A or the recently branded FBS. The ascent was rapid. Picture an orphan from the working-class neighborhood suddenly finding him or herself at a Harvard undergrad cocktail party. Perhaps the unknown drifter suddenly walking into the Western saloon only to be met with silence by poker-playing patrons. The Broncos have arrived, but not without several skeptical glances.
Perhaps the Broncos “welcome to the big time moment” came last year when the NCAA cited major violations within the football program among other sports on campus. Just this past Friday the NCAA announced that it will reconsider the penalties levied, specifically the reduction in scholarships.
BSU self-imposed a reduction of three scholarships for this past school year, whereas, the NCAA added on three more reductions for the 2013-14 year including limited contact for spring practices. The spring practice penalty will hold, but BSU’s appeal on the additional scholarship reductions will be granted.
Always being the little guy, I have no doubt the Broncos have a chip on their shoulder the size of an Idaho potato. If it is validation the Broncos are looking for, they will not find it in the Big East.
Both Syracuse and Pittsburgh are leaving the Big East with San Diego State and Navy set to join in 2013 and 2015 respectively. What is ironic, is the Broncos looking for credibility in the least credible BCS conference. Furthermore, the Big East is losing its Automatic Qualifier status and the new four team playoff for 2014 will blow up the BCS anyway. In other words, the Big East might as as well be the Mountain West.
When the Broncos join the Big East they will not be among the titans of college football. The Broncos will be the same as they are in the Mountain West and were in the WAC, the baddest boy on the bloc.
It doesn’t take a geography professor to know the logistical nightmare of Boise State having to play conference football with teams scattered around the Eastern and Central time zones.
According to the Statesman and Review Journal the Broncos will lose $2.5 million in the move. The loss isn’t as much as the $5 million penalty Boise State would have incurred had they missed the June 30 deadline. The point is moot. The Broncos aren’t moving up to the East Side like they think they are. If the goal of the entire exercise was to guarantee a BCS bowl game with every conference championship, than the Broncos can waive goodbye to that idea.
Major conferences like the Pac-12 and Big-12 are less than impressed with Boise State’s athletic department, facilities, and academic standing. The Broncos are a mid-major program. The Big East does not change that.
What made the Boise State program so endearing was how they embraced the underdog role. How the Broncos ignored the naysayers before every big game opposite a BCS opponent. If there a school that symbolized the overachiever it was Boise State. In rapid ascension it appears the Broncos have forgotten who they are.
Wear the chip with pride Broncos fans. It isn’t going anywhere.