Over the past year, Boise State’s interest in entering the Power Five has become apparent, but how close are they to actually making it? Here is everything you need to know about the Broncos’ conference situation.
Boise State has dreamed about leaving the Mountain West Conference and becoming a Power Five school in the Pac-12 or the Big 12 for many years. Since the start of the 2021 football season, everything feels like it’s been kicked into a new gear.
The Power Five refers to the five biggest conferences in college football. These conferences include the Pac-12, Big 12, Big 10, Atlantic Coastal Conference (ACC) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). Since these conferences tend to get the most viewership and notoriety, schools that are not in the Power Five are always trying to work their way in.
“We are the front porch of this state, and I do see a lot of value in the things that we’re doing and have done over the past year and a half,” said Athletic Director Jeremiah Dickey. “We want to be elite and we very much have a Power Five mentality.”
The University of Oklahoma (OU) and the University of Texas announced their plans to leave the Big 12 Conference for the Southeastern Conference (SEC) on July 21, 2021. This led the Big 12 in a search for teams to replace their top-selling teams.
Because of the consistent success with their football program, Boise State was one of the many teams considered to be likely candidates to enter the conference.
The Big 12 announced their new additions to their league on Sept. 10, and the Broncos were left out for the likes of Brigham Young University (BYU), the University of Houston, the University of Central Florida (UCF) and the University of Cincinnati.
Dickey released a statement advising fans to “remain hopeful” despite not being invited into the conference.
“Our future is extremely bright,” Dickey said. “We’re in a great conference and we’re going to control and continue to control what we can. We need Bronco Nation, bottom line, and I’m excited about that.”
The Big 12 later elected to not rule out the possibility of adding a second round of new teams into their conference.
“I wouldn’t suggest this [recruitment] is the last move,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby in a press conference. “I think we’ll look for situations of opportunity when they present themselves. I wouldn’t say we’re out looking to expand, but I wouldn’t foreclose on the possibility either.”
On April 7, Boise State announced their plans for an Athletics Master Village. These plans would enhance the Broncos Athletics programs and allow a better experience for more fans.
These led multiple fans and media outlets to wonder if these plans had any correlation with Boise State’s intentions to become a Power Five school.
In an interview with the Idaho Press about the Athletics Master Village, Dickey acknowledged that the University of Central Florida announced similar plans three weeks after being accepted into the Big 12.
This was followed by a current Boise State soccer player implying that the Broncos will be entering into the Big 12. The information was originally posted to a TikTok by the soccer player, and first reported on by The Arbiter.
The Arbiter article spread quickly and triggered an immediate response from Bronco Athletics.
A Boise State spokesperson said “there is no truth to these rumors” in a text message to The Arbiter later that evening.
Despite the statement, fans did not stop hoping that Boise State will switch conferences soon.
Their hopes would soon have added fuel to the flame with the news that the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) are leaving the Pac-12 Conference.
Despite everything that had happened between Boise State and the Big 12, everything started to shift gears towards the Broncos possibly entering the Pac-12 after the news broke.
The news also prompted the Pac-12 Board of Directors to meet and explore expansion options on July 1.
“We are actively exploring expansion opportunities,” said Pac-12 Conference Commissioner George Kliavkoff. “As we consider these opportunities, we will look at media value, athletic strength, academic and cultural fit, and geography from a recruiting and student-athlete experience standpoint.”
As the Pac-12 looks to make their next move, multiple media outlets have explored and listed out the teams most likely to be accepted into the conference if they were to recruit teams.
Boise State, along with their rivals, San Diego State, are the top prospects that the Pac-12 should be looking into according to The Athletic, KTVB, Sports Illustrated and many more news sources.
Regardless of whether things end up transpiring between Boise State and any Power Five conference, Dickey made it clear that Boise State will not remain complacent and will constantly be looking to expand and improve.
“As I look at the future, everything is ahead of us,” Dickey said. “It goes back to the day I arrived here; we’re not going to let our foot off the gas. We are competing with ourselves. And we are going to define those expectations. And in this chaos, it’s allowed me to really push forward some things that I think will improve our situation. I think the future is extremely bright for us.”