Boise State true-blue addition to MWC

After spending years trying to get into the Mountain West Conference -- at least the MWC that included Brigham Young, Utah and Texas Christian -- Boise State officially realizes its dream Friday.

The Broncos are so excited to join the Mountain West, their website provides an explainer for those wondering if there is more to the school than blue turf, trick plays and coach Chris Petersen.

The website boasts about winning 11 Idaho Professor of the Year awards since 1990, though it's not as if Boise State is going up against Cal and Stanford.

But Boise State has plenty of reasons to be proud about its school, twice named by U.S. News & World Report as a top rising university.

The school has an enrollment of nearly 20,000 and 168 academic programs, and grant funding has nearly tripled since 2004 to more than $50 million. Football has had a lot to do with that increase because it made Boise State a nationally known institution.

The rest of Boise State's athletic program isn't nearly as renowned, but it recently won its second straight Western Athletic Conference Commissioner's Cup for overall excellence.

And now Boise State will try to become the face of the Mountain West. With TCU exiting next year for the Big East Conference, the Broncos should have few challengers.

■ UNR BLEEDS RED -- Shortly after UNLV announced it would have a surplus of up to $200,000 for this fiscal year, which ends today, UNR said it expects to face a $1.5 million deficit.

That's a sunny forecast compared to what's coming because the Wolf Pack won't receive WAC revenue in its final year in that conference. Conference money won't begin flowing to UNR until 2012 when it joins the Mountain West.

"We anticipate that the revenues in the Mountain West will be more lucrative because of better TV contracts and sharing revenues," UNR interim president Marc Johnson told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Times are tough when a school looks forward to inheriting the Mountain West's TV contract.

■ AN EVEN TOUGHER TRIP -- UNLV already figured to feel as welcome in Madison as a teacher's union representative in the Wisconsin governor's mansion.

But now the Sept. 1 season football opener will be an even more difficult challenge for the Rebels when they play at Wisconsin.

The Badgers picked up quarterback Russell Wilson, a transfer who threw for 3,563 yards and 28 touchdown passes last season at North Carolina State.

Wilson won't have to sit out a year because he graduated early.

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema isn't promising the job to Wilson, who has one season of eligibility left, but dropped a large hint about whom the Rebels could expect to see under center.

Bielema, according to The Associated Press, told Wilson, "As a guy with one year of eligibility, I'm not bringing you in with the intention of seeing how you sit on the bench."