Now that Boise State has officially become a member of the Mountain West Conference, many of the MWC fans might be wondering just what the Boise State Broncos will be bringing with them besides a football team. To be honest, everyone knows that the Boise State Broncos will be bringing one of the best football programs in the country, along with what some MWC members consider to be a ridiculous, blue-colored "smurf" turf.
But the Boise State Broncos are not just a one trick pony. By now most MWC hoops teams are aware that the Broncos have a young and much improved mens basketball program as well. Under new head coach Leon Rice, this past year the Broncos showed they were on the cusp of something good and much more than just the step up from the old WAC doormat they have been seen as in previous seasons. Rice's Broncos finished 2nd in the WAC last year with a record of 22-13 and a trip to the CBI Tournament where they beat Austin Peay in the 1st round, Evansville in the quarterfinals, before finally losing to Oregon in the semifinals. But for the loss to Utah State they would have ended up at the big dance.
The Broncos basketball are getting better. In 2008 the Broncos joined the "10-20-20" club (10 football wins, 20 men's basketball wins, 20 women's basketball wins) for the 2007-08 season, only the 20th school since 1980 to achieve the feat. But besides football and both men's and women's basketball teams there are a lot of other Boise State sports programs with excellent records and good levels of competitiveness that the Boise State Broncos will be bringing.
For instance, not many know that Boise State has won six different conference championships in 12 sports of the 2010-11 school year. For the third time in four years, the Boise State gymnastics team won the WAC championship this past March — joining the BSU football team (WAC), the men’s cross country squad (WAC), the men’s indoor track team (WAC), the swimming and diving team (WAC) and the BSU wrestling team (Pac-10) with their championships.
Yes, I said the Pac 10 championship. The Broncos Wrestling team is actually in the Pac10 (now the Pac12) and have been since 1988. This year, the Bronco wrestlers captured their sixth Pac10 Championship title in program history, and in March sent a record 10 players to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to compete in the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. But the wrestling team is the only one of seventeen varsity sports teams that won't be coming with the rest of the Broncos to the MWC.
The Boise State track and field teams will be a great additon to the MWC. And the coaches have produced good teams in both the mens and womens programs this past season. The men tyed Utah State in the 2011 WAC Indoor Track and Field Championships, giving the Bronco men their fifth WAC team title in eight years, while the lady Broncos captured a fourth-place finish for themselves. Two of the men Broncos advanced to the NCAA Track and Field Championships recently in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Boise State cross country teams also won a WAC Championship this past year. They concluded their final season in the WAC in November competing at the 2010 NCAA West Region Championships at Springfield Country Club, where the Bronco men made history by earning a seventh-place team finish out of 25 teams, the best in school history.
Boise State gymnasts has an excellent sports program. This past season they rolled to a regular season WAC title and earned a second consecutive league championship. The Bronco team won the WAC championship three times in the last four years. The women gymnastics team will be competing as an indepenent this season as the WAC has refused a request to let them stay on as an associate member.
Boise State Swimming and Diving has a short five year history but they are already a championship calibre team. The Broncos are the three-time defending WAC champions, having won the meet in 2008 and 2009 as well as this past year. They look forward to adding their sportsmanship and competitive spirit to the MWC.
The problems associated with the BSU women's tennis will soon be behind them once the NCAA makes their ruling. The coaches that violated the rules that brought the progam before the Board of Infractions are gone, replaced by new coaches who vow to move forward into the future with a highly competitive team built around fairness and honesty. What forms of punishment will be metted out to the tennis team is still to be finalized.
So where is the Boise State Baseball Team? Well, they really do have one. It's just not one that can be sanctioned by the NCAA and be part of the MWC. Largely because of Title IX, it competes in the National Club Baseball Association in the Northern Pacific Conference, West Division, along with a University of Utah Utes club team, the Montana Grizzlies, Weber State, Montana State, Utah State and Idaho State.
But Boise State brings teams in both men's and women's golf; and women's sports that include soccor; volleyball; and a pretty descent softball team that finished 3rd and a 13-8 record in conference play..
And the Broncos have a great cheerleading team. The BSU cheerleaders have shown they can compete with the best in the country. The Cheer Squad won first place in the Division 1-A small coed category of the 2011 USA Collegiate Cheerleading Championship this year. It was the squad’s third national title in the last four years. They also won in 2008 and 2010 and placed third in 2009.
To sum up the value of all of the Bronco's sports that are now part of the Mountain West Conference, you can use this one award as a measure: the WAC Commissioner's Cup that is awarded to the school that performs the best in each of the conference's 19 men's and women's championships. Points are awarded in order of finish, equal to the number of teams that participate in each sport and are averaged between a team’s regular season finish and its WAC championship finish. The 2010-2011 Commissioner's Cup was won by Boise State for the second consecutive year with a score of 95.50.
Beyond athletics, Boise State has plenty for the MWC to be proud about. U.S. News & World Report has twice named the school as a top university. With an enrollment of nearly 20,000 and 168 academic programs, the school offers 201 degrees in 190 fields of study, along with over 100 graduate programs and doctoral degrees. Grant funding has nearly tripled since 2004 to more than $50 million.
Yes, Bronco football has had a lot to do with making Boise State a nationally known institution, but as you can see it has so much more to offer the MWC than just football.