Bronco Stadium could host first Big East title game

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 1:12 PM

Brian Murphy

BOISE, Idaho -- The Big East will hold its football championship game in home stadiums beginning in 2013 after the league's football coaches and athletic directors voted unanimously Tuesday.

That means Boise State, which plans to join the Big East in football only in July 2013, could be in position to host the league's first-ever title game.

With the addition of Boise State and six other programs, the new-look Big East is expected to have 12 football-playing members and two divisions in 2013.

The "best" division winner will host the game,though it was not decided how that team will be chosen, said Nick Carparelli, the league's senior associate commissioner.

"We discussed some concepts about a tiebreaker ... and how the host will be determined was discussed, but we did not conclude that discussion," he said from the league's meetings in Florida.

Boise State Athletic Director Mark Coyle is attending the meetings. Football coach Chris Petersen is not at the Big East meetings.

Former Big East Commissioner John Marinatto had floated the idea of holding the inaugural championship game at Yankee Stadium in New York, a neutral site. The coaches and ADs, however, opted for an on-campus site, like the Pac-12.

Picking a neutral site and getting fans to attend the game could be a problem in the geographically stretched Big East.

Now the league must divide its 12 members -- newcomers Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU, Temple, Memphis and Central Florida and holdovers South Florida, Connecticut, Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati.

Several models were considered Tuesday, including splits not based on geography, Carparelli said. He said three criteria for creating divisions emerged from those discussions:

-- Maintaining and/or developing rivalries;

-- Maximizing the fan experience;

-- Maximizing the league's value to television.

The league office will do more research on the potential alignments, including talking with television consultants about which model would be most attractive. The league will meet again in late July in Rhode Island to select a divisional format so it can create a schedule in the fall.

No matter which alignment is chosen, Boise State and San Diego State are expected to play each season -- as are geographic rivals like Houston-SMU and South Florida-Central Florida.

One benefit of having non-geographic divisions -- like the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12 -- is to put teams from talent-rich states Florida and Texas in different divisions, allowing each school to visit those states every other year at least.

The Big East also favors using a formula/ranking rather than a selection committee to select participants in the proposed four-team postseason playoff, Carparelli said. The league favors allowing only conference champions into the playoff.

"We felt rewarding conference champions was important," Carparelli said, citing protecting the value of the regular season.

He said the league is committed to helping Boise State find a stable home for its non-football programs. Boise State is supposed to join the WAC in most non-football sports in 2013. But with the league on the verge of collapse, Boise State is exploring its options, including joining the Big West.

Carparelli said the Big East is committed to helping Boise State find a stable home for its non-football programs.

"We're open to helping them in any way," he said. "If there's anything they come up with or that we think of that can facilitate them finding a home for all their non-football sports, the Big East is committed to doing it."

Carparelli said Boise State has not asked for anything specific at this point.

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