8. Boise State
The case for the Broncos:
No team on this list has the football resume of Boise State. The Broncos have survived coaching changes and lower level realignment, and have been consistently great, and at times, outright dominant. While we don’t expect Boise to win 10 games a year in the Big 12, all indications are that the team would be competitive. Football success has spread to other sports as well. Boise State men’s basketball has improved in recent years, making the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and 2015. With the blue turf, and exciting BCS/New Year’s Six bowl wins under its belt, Boise State has built a really strong college football brand. The Broncos would certainly make a splash, if they were one of the choices.
The case against the Broncos:
The biggest problem for Boise State is Boise. The Idaho capital has a population of just over 200,000, and is only the 112th-ranked television market in the country. While the Big 12 is largely comprised of smaller college towns, the conference has dragged its feat in expansion after being poached by the Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC, and would likely want a bit more of a value add if it increases membership. Idaho is not exactly a huge recruiting hotbed either. The Big 12 has shown that location is not the be-all and end-all with the addition of West Virginia, which is far removed from the rest of the conference, but adding Boise State adds another school on an island, and one that does nothing to bridge the gap between WVU and the rest of the league.
On the field, adding Boise State is a winner, and if that’s the main focus here the Big 12 could conceivably buck conference realignment trends. Virtually everything else is working against BSU, however, and that makes it hard to envision a scenario where it is one of the choices.