Big 12 should add Boise State

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Boise State is not a member of the Association of American Universities, which bills itself as association of 61 leading research institutions.

Boise State is also not among the top 200 institutions of higher learning ranked by the magazine U.S. News and World Reports.

If you’re wondering why the Pac-12 picked Utah and Colorado over Boise State when it expanded last season, market size and academics are your answers.

But now the Big 12 is looking for another member and the schools that have been mentioned as most likely targets have been independent BYU, Louisville and West Virginia from the Big East, and Houston from Conference USA.

TCU, in the MWC but headed to the Big East next season, makes sense geographically, but interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas has said there is resistance among some current members about adding a school from a market the league already owns.

So how about adding a football program with a national brand? Boise State has become, like Notre Dame football and Duke basketball, one of the most polarizing teams in the nation.

Some people love the Broncos, those plucky BCS busters who knock off bullies from power the traditional power conferences.

Some people hate them, with their inflated record, built on a schedule loaded with patsies.

“There are other schools that are in major markets, but don’t deliver their markets in any shape or form,” Benson said. “But how many television sets does Boise State turn on? It’s probably greater than other programs from automatic qualifying conferences that are in major markets.”

Neinas said that he doesn’t like the idea of far-flung leagues, and BYU and Louisville have campuses much closer to the current Big 12 footprint than Boise.

But if the Big 12 wants to bring in a member that will create a buzz nationally and spark interest in the conference beyond its borders, it should invite the Broncos.

Or it can invite a basketball school (Louisville) in the 50th ranked TV market.

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