Boise State and the B1G?

Conference expansion has come and gone, at least for now. Much to the dismay of Bronco Nation, Boise State was not invited to what are now called “Power-5” conferences. Instead, Boise State is confined to what are known as the “Group of 5”. In other words, the newest AQ and non-AQ designations.

While this may seem like old news, but lets be real, it is still fun to discuss potential outcomes for the Broncos. Lets take a look at one possibility, the B1G.

Geographically, Boise State’s placement in the B1G makes about as much sense as Boise State’s placement in the American Conference, formally known as the Big East. But what would happen if the B1G came knocking and extended an invite to the Broncos? Would Boise take it? Probably. They’ve already indicated that travel may not be an issue for them since they were willing to join the Big East/American. But how would Boise fit in the B1G?

Currently the B1G is sporting 14 members: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Rutgers, and Wisconsin. The conference is then divided into the West Division, which is home to Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, and Purdue and the East Division, which houses Michigan State, Ohio State, Maryland, Michigan, Rutgers, Penn State, and Indiana.

If Boise were added, they would most likely be placed in the West Division. Obviously the conference would need to pick up another school in order to balance itself out if it invited the Broncos. As a place holder we’re going to use Notre Dame. With the addition of Notre Dame, the conference would be sitting at 16 teams, and it may look a little something like this:


Anyone with half a brain could tell you that Boise State and the B1G don’t add up all that much geographically. In fact, Boise State’s campus is exactly 1,173 miles from the nearest B1G school which is Nebraska. The furthest school, Rutgers, is 2,461 miles away from Boise State. That’s far. On average, Boise State would be traveling well over 1,300 miles in order to play the conference.

Currently, Boise State’s longest in-conference road trip is Hawaii which is just under 2,800 miles away. However, the Bronco’s don’t play the Warriors every year, and the location is alternated between the schools.

Academically and Financially

Unfortunately, the Broncos don’t add up here either. While is it well known that rankings can be subjective, and they often are, the B1G is loaded with plenty of academic muscle. Here are the current 2014 academic rankings listed from highest to lowest:

Rank School
13th Northwestern
29th Michigan
42nd Illinois
47th Wisconsin
T-48th Penn State
T-54th Ohio State
T-62 Purdue
T-62 Maryland
70th Rutgers
71st Iowa
T-71st Minnesota
T-76th Indiana
T-85th Michigan State
T-99th Nebraska

*All rankings are taken from U.S. News and World Report’s Annual Academic Rankings

In short, these are all major academic institutions. All of these universities are considered national universities with major research distinctions. Boise State is tied at 63rd and is only considered a regional university.

One huge factor to consider is that 13 of the 14 B1G schools are part of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization whose members are devoted to research and strong academic performances.

Nebraska, who was a member from 1909-2011, is the only B1G university that is currently not a member. To emphasize the importance the B1G places on having its members be a part of the AAU, Nebraska Chancellor, Harvey Perlman, stated that the B1G would most likely not have extended an invite to Nebraska were they not a member (Hine, 2010).

Boise State is not a member of the AAU, and it doesn’t seem as if they’ll be invited to the organization anytime soon.

Looking at the B1G financially, the conference has massive endowments. Rutgers has the lowest endowment of any B1G school at $783,492,000 (NACUBO). The highest endowment is the University of Michigan with an enormous $8,382,311,000 (NACUBO).

Boise State’s endowment is a measly $83,399,459, which is $700,092,541 less than the B1G’s smallest endowment (NACUBO). If the B1G were to extend an invite to the Broncos, Boise State’s endowment would most certainly rise, and with it its academic standing and credibility.

Boise State has been fighting to obtain the distinction of metropolitan research institution, and the Broncos are well on their way to getting it. They are already considered a public research institution.

There are several other factors that would determine whether or not Boise State would fit in with the B1G, including the placement of other sports and television markets. Both of which Boise is lacking in when compared to the rest of the B1G. The B1G is also the oldest collegiate athletic conference in existence. The conference itself was founded in 1896.

The B1G’s youngest University is The Ohio State University which was founded in 1870. The oldest B1G university is Rutgers, which was founded in 1766. Boise State was founded relatively recently in 1934 as a junior college and became a four year academic institution in 1965. In 1974, Boise State became a state university. In short, Boise State is young.

It should also be considered that the B1G places more emphasis on factors other than recent football success. Just look at their latest members, Rutgers and Maryland, who for the most part have been less-than-stellar in football. However, both areas give the B1G an expanded market to work with.

Based on these factors, Boise State doesn’t seem to be all that great of a fit for the B1G. However, it would be interesting to see the Broncos take on Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin every so often.

What do you think Bronco Nation? Would Boise be a good fit in the B1G? What points would you consider? Sound off in the comments section below Bronco Nation.


About Mathew Douraghi

Mathew Douraghi
Mathew comes to Bronco Nation News from sunny Southern California. He completed his bachelors degree at Boise State in anthropology in 2012. From there he took his academic pursuits to the Bay Area where he recently completed his Masters degree in Medical Anthropology at California State University - East Bay. Mathew loves sports and like his co-author Steven, he loves all his sports teams down in Southern California. However, that doesn't mean he bleeds any less blue as Mathew has been following his beloved Broncos since 2005. After talking to his co-author and good friend Steven, Mathew joined the BNN staff to share is love of Bronco sports with Bronco Nation. He truly enjoys writing for BNN readers and hopes you enjoy his articles!

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