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What if Boise State was in a different Conference? 1st Edition: The AAC

There are roughly 9 weeks until Boise State football kicks off against UCF in Orlando. Over these next several weeks I want to look at how Boise State football would fare as a member of each Power 5 conference and the AAC. 1st Edition - The AAC .

Boise State Broncos look at move to American Athletic Conference

We will start with the lower tier conferences and work our way up each week in the following order: AAC, BIG12, Pac12, ACC, B1G, and SEC.

This Week: The AAC.

I've been looking forward to writing this one. 1. Because this almost happened back when BSU accepted an invite to the then Big East. 2. Because there is always debate about whether the AAC or MWC is the top G5 conference. and 3. The AAC and Boise State have been a little flirty lately.

The AAC (previously the Big East) was once a Power Conference during the days of the BCS. However, after some major fallout during the big conference reshuffle several years ago, The Big east lost its BCS(P5) status as well as their name. The newly branded AAC reloaded with several C-USA schools and has been one of the top G5 conferences ever since.

FUN FACT: Boise State was once A P5(BCS) school as a part of the Big East. Unfortunately that didn't last long as the Big east started to crumble apart shortly after and BSU decided to rejoin the more stable MWC.

We’ll use the F+ ratings available at FootballOutsiders.com. The two components of F+ (S&P+ and FEI) both adjust for opponents and strength of schedule, so this should theoretically give us a pretty good idea of how well the Broncos would fare outside of the MWC.

Let's take a look!

BSU in The AAC

School

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

Boise State

35

30

22

20

19

Cincinnati

7

31

26

109

98

East Carolina

93

117

111

127

102

Houston

64

83

77

36

30

Memphis

67

17

47

22

40

Navy

104

25

106

49

48

SMU

50

40

94

75

90

Temple

116

62

48

71

36

Tulane

53

42

90

76

97

Tulsa

38

68

99

111

44

UCF

28

13

10

8

67

UConn

Left Conference

126

130

120

124

USF

114

103

91

25

47

As you can see, Boise State would have their work cut out for them on the road to the conference championship. The AAC has averaged 5 teams ranked in the top 50 for the past 5 years. If we look at the top 75, that number of teams jumps to 6.6 on average. The AAC also averages only 3 teams per year who are ranked 100 or lower.

Ok, so now let’s break down the table a little bit. (Note: F+ rankings in parentheses.)

So then, by the numbers in 2020 BSU (35) would have been the #3 team in the The AAC. With the biggest challenges coming from UCF (28), Cincinnati (7), and Tulsa (38), and. The solid teams in the AAC don't stop there though. There is still SMU (50), Tulane (53), Houston (64), and Memphis (67). BSU would definitely have some big hurdles to win the conference and I believe they would have made the title game but fell to Cincy.

Boise State looks like they would be very competitive in the AAC over the last 5 years. If we go solely by the rankings the Broncos would have come in 3rd, 4th, 2nd, 2nd, and 1st in the conference respectively. We also know that rankings are definitely not everything in college football meaning they could beat higher ranked teams or possibly lose to lower ranked teams.

I believe Boise would be a regular contender for the conference title in the AAC. It would definitely be a tougher schedule than the Mountain West Conferences though.

Head to head results over the past five years

2021 - BSU at UCF - TBD

2018 - BSU 62 vs. UConn 7

Predicted Records:

2020 - 11-2 (7-1) (2nd in conference)

2019 - 11-3 (7-1) (2nd in conference)

2018 - 11-2 (7-1) (2nd in conference)

2017 - 12-2 (8-0) (1st in conference)

2016 - 12-2 (7-1) (1st in conference)

*For the above records I kept the broncos out of conference record the same and adjusted their in conference record for playing the AAC slate instead of the MWC. Also I based the 2020 record as if they had played a full conference schedule plus BYU.

The Broncos wouldn't have a whole lot of room for error on their way to the conference championship every year. They would regularly have 3 to 4 solid teams they would have to get through each year (A down season here would likely mean no hopes for a conference title).

I would expect a floor of 8 wins, and really no ceiling.

To sum it all up: The AAC is a jump in competition compared to the MWC. Boise would still be very competitive and compete for the title on a regular basis.

Up Next : BIG12