Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thoughts On: the Boise State Broncos

There's only one question that matters for Boise State this year: can they make it to the BCS championship game? Let's break this down pro-and-con style:

PRO: the team itself
There are nineteen starters returning from a team that went 14-0 last season, including a victory in a BCS bowl. The coaching staff has been pretty stable, the quarterback is good, and this is a group of players that don't really know how to lose--the team has only done so four times over the last four years (and three of those were in 2007, when even the "national" "champion" LSU team lost twice). As Pat Forde would tell you, there's a very strong case to be made that Boise State should start this season ranked #1.

CON: They absolutely must go undefeated.
When a team plays for a conference outside the big six, no matter what else they have going for them, they cannot ever lose a game and hope to make the championship. Depending on circumstances, Alabama could lose a game at some point and still make it to the big game. Same for texas or Oklahoma or Ohio State etc. Boise cannot. Even if we had another 2007-style year, with contenders losing left and right.

Their schedule is tough, opening against Virginia Tech in a hostile environment (Maryland which, if everything I've heard about Maryland is true, is pretty hostile to everyone anyway). They also play Oregon State, and their other two non-conference games are against non-BCS but still respectable opponents, Wyoming (at Wyoming) and Toledo.

PRO: Their schedule is tough.
They've done about all they can, scheduling-wise, to make up for being in the WAC.

CON: They're still in the WAC, though.
It's not just the BCS that won't give credit to the smaller conferences; there are even fans out there who can't make themselves believe that a minor conference team could be better than a major conference team.

PRO: If they can ever do it, this is certainly the year.
Their years of consistent excellence have finally put Boise State in a good position to start the season. One of the worst things about college football is that if a team doesn't start the year ranked highly in the preseason polls (which are just guesses), they can't climb to the top of the polls even by the end of the season. The system being what it is, Boise is very fortunate to be starting at #5 in the coaches' poll (which is the one that matters) and #3 in the AP poll (which doesn't officially matter, but is still nice for some prestige). With not that many teams ahead of them, there aren't that many teams that need to lose once or twice to oblige Boise.

CON: But who's to say they can ever do it?
We are only one year removed from the BCS, faced with the qualification of two non-BCS teams, matched them up against each other. And that's Boise State's biggest con, right there: the people who run the BCS are cowards. Unmitigated cowards. They are terrified of teams from outside the club showing up the teams from inside the club. If they can find any half-decent excuse, or even if they can't, they will keep Boise State outside of the title game. They will.

In conclusion, I would like to see Boise State dominate all of their games and make it to the championship--even if they don't win a championship, it sure would be nice if they (representing all the little guys) finally got a shot. But do I think that's going to happen? No I do not.

Either A) they'll lose to Va Tech right off the bat, making all the speculation moot or B) at least two major-conference teams will go undefeated, pushing Boise State out of contention or C) the BCS will just screw them over some way, somehow.

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