Boise State had just put the finishing touches on a Senior Day smackdown of Colorado State a game reminiscent of so many in the past when the Broncos simply overwhelmed their foe in the first half and used the fourth quarter to empty their bench and yet there was little time for Athletic Director Mark Coyle to soak it in.
Coyle instead was on his smart phone, reading the latest reports of conference realignment, reports that, if they come to fruition, will shake up and scramble the college landscape once again.
Big East founding member Rutgers and ACC charter member Maryland are deep in negotiations with the Big Ten about changing leagues, ESPN and nearly every other outlet reported Saturday afternoon. The reports confirmed days of message board and talk radio chatter that Maryland was talking to the Big Ten.
Things become scar tissue because nothing surprises you anymore, Coyle said.
There is a certain numbness to conference realignment. Whatever excitement it generated in its early days, the conference moves have happened so frequently and left such fractured traditions and spawned such an intense rumor mill, that there is little emotion left.
The impacts, however, must be dealt with and the reported moves could really scramble the Big East, Boise States future football conference.
The league is currently negotiating a television contract, seen by many as a make-or-break moment for the league, and losing Rutgers certainly wont help. The ACC could raid the league (again) to find a replacement for Maryland, perhaps taking Connecticut or Louisville.
Thats two signature members gone from a league that has already been destabilized time and again.
An even scarier thought for the Big East and Boise State: This move triggers a series of other moves by the Big 12, the SEC and the ACC that leaves the league even more depleted.
Then what for the Broncos, who have been counting on a big-money television deal from the Big East?
Perhaps their Dec. 1 game at Nevada wont be the final Mountain West game for Boise State in the league it once coveted but quickly discarded when the Big East came calling.
In the 11 months Ive been here, weve talked about how all of us are trying to make long-term decisions with a shifting foundation. That foundation continues to shift for all programs, not just Boise State, Coyle said. I think thats one of the challenging aspects of this job across the country for all ADs. Youre trying to make long-term decisions on a shifting landscape.
This reported Big Ten move is all about television. The league wants to expand its lucrative Big Ten Network into dense East Coast markets such as New York and New Jersey (Rutgers) and Baltimore and Washington, D.C. (Maryland). The schools see the Big Tens money-making abilities which outstrip the ACC (by enough) and the Big East (by more than enough) as a way out of current fiscal problems.
Television and markets not football prowess are driving these changes. Its why the Mountain West cant hope to generate the same type of revenue as the Big East despite a comparable on-field product.
The lure of TV money is what drew the Broncos to the Big East. The lure of TV money might be what destroys the conference before the Broncos can get there.
Theres no question if you want to compete at a high level those resources are critically important to all of your programs, Coyle said. TV has shown theres a value for live college programming. You see these conferences trying to create as much live programming as they can to create that revenue for all their programs.
So the chase for additional dollars goes on and on and on. Boise State jumped aboard a while ago. The Broncos are on this ride until it ends.
Wherever and whenever that is.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444; Twitter: @MurphsTurph