The Big East is in desperate times and now needs to make a desperate move: it needs to extend an invite to Boise State.
The Big East wants to expand its current batch of six football playing schools to 12 and is considering a hodgepodge of schools throughout the country. Central Florida is expected to be the first school to get an invite into the Big East, according to reports, while the service academies of Air Force and Navy could also join in the near future.
But it's Boise State -- not UCF and all the other rumored expansion targets -- that can actually help the Big East keep its BCS automatic qualifier status, which is all that really matters.
There's been some speculation that Boise State could get an invite -- football school athletic directors are certainly pushing for it -- but most still put the Broncos as a longshot to join the Big East.
Distance is one factor. Boise State, on average, is more than 2000 miles away from the current Big East member schools.
The Mountain West school is also currently dealing with NCAA violations for improper football recruiting.
But none of that should really matter.
Is Boise State extremely far away from the rest of the Big East?
Sure it is. But so is Texas Christian -- which was set to join the Big East in 2012-- and so is Air Force.
But the difference between Boise State and Air Force -- besides about 700 additional miles in travel -- is that Boise State is actually good at football.
The Broncos have gone and won two BCS games in the last five years, including a memorable overtime victory over Oklahoma in 2006, and are poised to make another BCS bowl game this season. Boise State is currently No. 5 in the polls, has an incredibly strong, young coach in Chris Peterson, and has emerged as a clear media darling over the past few years.
Boise State is actually good at football and although the Big East might have tried to ignore the notion as much as possible, football is what drives the money train.
The wild scrambling of schools from conference to conference has been driven on making more money through football. The conferences with the best brands of football -- the Big 10, Pac-12, and SEC -- earn the most money from television contracts.
So in order to make more money and add stability it'd make sense to add the best available football programs, right?
The Big East clearly hasn't mastered that notion if its rumored expansion targets are any indication. Central Florida, Temple, and the service academies are all great in their own right, but none of those programs bring much to the football side.
The addition of those programs isn't going to bring in more money and won't do anything to convince BCS officials to give the Big East another extension on its AQ status.
The Big East has been slow moving, inconsistent, and has poorly executed all of its proposed moves up to this point. It got badly caught off-guard by the departures of Pittsburgh and Syracuse. It also promoted that all of the schools affirmed their commitment to the conference only to see TCU bail for the Big 12 days later.
Now it's time for the Big East to at least think boldly and take a few chances to survive. It needs to add Boise State in the worst way possible to at least give it a chance to keep its AQ status - otherwise say goodbye to the relevancy of the Big East.
And for good measure it should add SMU and Houston to Central Florida and the other rumored targets it is pursuing. Add some good football, some good television markets, and strong fanbases.
Sounds pretty easy, right?
It should be and might be the only chance Big East has to survive in the ultra-competitive college football world.
Or the conference can continue to focus on adding irrelevant football programs that will do nothing to prevent the Big East from wilting away into obscurity.
Your move, Big East.
Want to reach this writer? You can email John Talty at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @jtalty.