How the Big East can stay relevant

October, 18, 2011
10/18/11
11:15
AM ET
The BCS field is muddled. With so many teams sporting perfect records and no playoff to decide a champ, our bloggers take on the ultimate task: making a case for each team with a title shot.

How about a little trivia question?

Name the only team in the nation that has started in the top five of the BCS standings the past three years.

A. West Virginia
B. Cincinnati
C. UConn
D. We already know it could not possibly be a Big East team

Yeah you got me. There is no Big East team that comes even close. So it must be a team from the SEC.

Nope.

Big 12?

One more try.

If you guessed Boise State, then give yourself a helmet sticker.

[+] EnlargeMoore
Troy Babbitt/US PresswireBoise State is the kind of marquee program the Big East needs to insure its survival.
My little quiz perfectly illustrates why the Big East is going after the Broncos as a football-only member. Let’s face it. This is a league that has struggled for years to be nationally relevant. Sure it was nice to see the Cincinnati Bearcats go undefeated in 2009. They even finished ahead of the Broncos in the final BCS standings. But how badly did it hurt the Big East when the Gators clobbered ‘em in the Allstate Sugar Bowl?

Probably not as bad as an 8-4 UConn team giving Oklahoma no challenge in the Fiesta Bowl last season, sparking outrage that a team with four losses was allowed into a BCS game.

There is no getting around what ails the Big East.

This league has an image problem. Boise State may not make the Big East the best conference in America, but the Broncos would make it better.

Boise State has a national following as perhaps the most polarizing team in the nation. Do you love the moxie of Boise State, the little team that could, taking on the big boys and beating them every time?

Or do you hate the super-easy schedule, blue field and over-the-top praise? Either way, you are paying attention to what happens in Idaho.

When the BCS standings were unveiled for the first time Sunday night, undefeated Boise State was there at No. 5. The only Big East team was one-loss West Virginia at No. 15. We are in the middle of October, and already the Big East is irrelevant.

Now an undefeated Boise State may or may not make it to a BCS national title game as a member of the Big East. But it just might have a better shot. The Big East has never gotten a team into the national title game, something that surely everybody in the league wants to change.

Would Boise State compete for titles in the Big East? Absolutely. The schedule will be tougher than the WAC or Mountain West. But Boise State is one of the best-coached teams in America. This team would hold its own.

Will the Broncos fall apart when Kellen Moore departs? They went to a BCS game before Moore became the starter, and are in a much stronger position today than they were in 2006.

Will Boise State allow the Big East to keep its AQ spot? Who knows.

But at least with the Broncos on board, the conference will have a shot -- and be much stronger at the top. Remember back to Big East media day, when coaches were asked what the Big East needs to get more respect.

“Competitiveness as a conference doesn’t get national attention,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said in August. “The national people want a major player to the point where you get a chance to be in the title game. That’s what gets you exposure from a national standpoint.”

The Big East already has the perfect candidate in mind.

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