College football has done a terrific job of stripping the game of traditional rivalries the past few years. Conference realignment has ended annual meetings between Texas-Texas A&M, BYU-Utah, Pitt-West Virginia, Kansas-Missouri and Boise State-Idaho.
So when the conference shuffling gives us something good like the 12-year series between Boise State and BYU it should be celebrated, revered and treasured.
This is the type of series and budding rivalry that college football needs and Boise State, too. The type of game that sells out a stadium, that fires up the fan base, that leads to a week of anticipation and actual intrigue about what will happen on the field.
It has all the ingredients to be a wonderful series for fans and players. Regional rivals. Respected programs. Close games. National television appearances.
So naturally there are already signs that the series wont last the length of the contract. Boise State coach Chris Petersen threw a wet blanket on the whole idea Monday.
Thats a lot of years strung together, he said.
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall, once a proponent of the series, agreed with his friend. I would probably say the same. How do you know after four (games) what is going to happen or who is going to be where? So I think its probably too much, he said.
Yikes. Ill take the under on a 12-year series. Like four.
Yes, 12 years is a long time.
Twelve years ago, Boise State was in the middle of a 10-win season that ended with a Humanitarian Bowl victory under coach Dirk Koetter, who then left for Arizona State.
Twelve years ago, BYU was in its second season in the new exciting Mountain West and legendary coach LaVell Edwards was in his final year.
Twelve years from now, the Broncos and Cougars could be conference mates in the Big East or Big 12 or Pac-16. One or both could be left behind by college footballs great schism the one that turns the SEC & Co. into a minor-league for the NFL and leaves the have-nots playing mere mortal college ball.
Or football as we know it could be over, done in by studies that conclude the game is simply too dangerous.
I get it.
Coaches who want to schedule every second of every minute of every hour of every day have no time for 12 years from now. Chances are neither coach will still be in the same position when the series expires after the 2023 game. But right now and until something changes both programs need the game.
And should embrace it.
Boise State is set to join the Big East with games all over the country, including California and Texas, but also Connecticut and Tennessee.
The Broncos need games in the West, for fan and player travel, for regional relevance.
Its why Boise State has agreed to home-and-home series with Washington (2013, 2015), Utah State (2014-15) and Washington State (2016-17) and a road game at Oregon State (2016), plus BYU.
Boise State needs games like this to sell out the expanded Bronco Stadium. Did you see all the empty seats for Miami (Ohio)? Tennessee-Martin, next years patsy game, wont fill it, either. And even with the move to the Big East, some conference foes (Temple and Memphis, for example) wont attract the same buzz and interest BYU will.
Boise State needs games like this to earn a Thursday night date on ESPN the type of exposure the program desperately craves. It is the lone ESPN Thursday nighter this season without a BCS-conference team.
BYU, playing as an FBS independent, needs games. Period. The Cougars have done a nice job finding games, but part of that is this long-term series with the Broncos.
Boise States annual game with Idaho is no more. Series with Fresno State and Nevada, which have developed into rivalries, are ending with the conference move. Is San Diego State really going to be the Broncos rival?
Id prefer BYU, one of the main reasons Boise State joined the Mountain West.
And I think 37,000 people at Bronco Stadium on Thursday night will back me up.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444; Twitter: @MurphsTurph