Thanks for your post. I don't disagree with Idaho being and succeeding at being a Division 1-A college football team, especially if it joins the WAC and aligns itself with more western schools, instead of being in the Sun Belt where your closest conference rival, UNT is located what? 2,000 miles away. or maybe its 1,500 to 2,000 miles away.
The problem I see is that Idaho may take an extremely longer time to reach the status of a "BCS State", whether that means UI, or BSU or both, because of what I have explained already. Or for that matter, both schools ending up in the Mountain West Conference. The only way I see UI joining the MWC is Colorado State, the Air Force Academy and the University of New Mexico leave to join the Big 12 (maybe the Big 16 with TCU leaving too), and Utah, BYU, Fresno State and/or UNLV and San Diego State all leave to join the Pac 10 (or I guess the Pac 14 or Pac 16). There would need to be a major realignment of western schools for the MWC to reach UI. Its the same as what has happened to the WAC, which used to be on the same level as the MWC. Mass-mass realignment has occured with western schools since 1996. UI is the last stop on the realignment of the WAC wave, and it would be the last stop for the MWC after major realignment occured. The why is because Logan, UT, Las Cruces, NM, Boise, ID, Reno, NV, Fresno, CA, Honolulu, HI and even Ruston, LA all have more market appeal than Moscow-Lewiston-CDA in what they offer as new markets for a conference. UI may well also be the last stop of the mass realignment of College football that has happened over the last year that began with the ACC taking 3 teams from the Big East and the dominoes from other conferences followed. Why is UI the last stop, because it is the most remote, and least populated market that it offers to college football.
You said you know of more remote and smaller markets for Div 1-A college football. I can't think of any. Name anything east of the continental divide. I can't see one. Washington State University is actually as remote, but its a major flagship state university in the 15th most populated state, Idaho is the 39th.
I don't say this to be mean to UI fans. I am just pointing out what I observe to be some major hurdles for the State of Idaho to be a BCS state or a complete MWC state with both BSU and UI are members of that conference.
Thanks for pointing out the history of Idaho and why UI is located there. I just see the need for the major flagship state universities to be in the major cities (or major populated region) of each state in the west because the population density outside of those cities are more sparse than that of states located completely east of the Continental Divide.
On my wall of my cubicle at work I have a Year 2000 Population Distribution Map of the United States. Its from the U.S. Census Bureau. The map has an overwhelming black background and it does not show any boundaries of the US States nor the national boundary of the nation as a whole. What it does show is intensely white dots, where each dot represent 7,500 people. When you look at the East Coast States, there is a very intense concentration of white dots that run from Richmond, VA to Portland, ME. This instensity also exists from Albany, NY running west to Buffalo, NY then to Cleveland, OH then to Toledo, OH then to Detroit, MI then to Chicago and then curves northward and picks up Milwaukee and Green Bay, WI. These instensities exist quite a bit around all major and mid-major metro areas east of the middle of the Great Plains states (Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas), and running eastward to the coast. Where there are no mid-major or major metro areas, there is a constant network of small dots, each representing the 7,500 people from the Great Plains states eastward to the East Coast. In other words there is a critical mass of people that are located in a continuous network of small towns, small metro areas, mid-major metros and large concentrations of intense white dots around all large metro areas, all throughout this eastern half of the US and all located relatively close to each other.
When you get west of the middle of the Great Plains states, this network of population center (small towns to large metro areas being 1/2 hour apart from each other) dissipates and disentigrates. There is more sparseness of the 7,500-people white dots, they're farther apart, more sparse, until you reach the "intense island of white dots" that comprise such western populations centers as Denver/Front Range Megalopolis I mentioned, and Albuquerque, and SLC/Provo/Wasatch Megalopolis, Boise, Las Vegas, Tucson, Phoenix and Environs, El Paso, Las Vegas, Reno, Spokane, and so on. Outside of these areas is very sparse white dots and a whole lot of black. So the west only has the critical mass located in very close proximity to each other in the major metro areas and mid-major metro areas, and outside of these areas it is very sparse, like Moscow. Thats how I come to my conclusion on the complication of western population geography, and the existence of Urban grant schools overshadowing the major flagship universities especially when the urban commuter school is located in the largest market in the state and the major flagship state university isn't.
My post is not to offend anyone, but to make a point of observation on Inter-Mountain West College Sports Population Geography.
Last edited by sportsgeog on Wed Jun 02, 2004 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.