Don't put Boise State in the BCS title game just yet; more mail
Boise has far more obstacles blocking path to title game than remaining opponents
Beamer deserves plenty of praise, but at some point Hokies have to win big game
Florida and Texas also struggled in Week 1, but Oklahoma has biggest concern
Given eight months to think about it, I still had no earthly idea how Monday's Boise State-Virginia Tech game would play out. The only thing I could see coming well before the first Kellen Moore pass or Tyrod Taylor scramble was the inevitable public reaction if the Broncos won.
And ... here it is.
Now that Boise State has finished its season, who do you see in the other spot for the title game in January?
-- Jacob Moogberg, Huntsville, Ala.
Hardy har har.
Let me put all you alarmist BCS power-conference fans at ease: The Broncos have far more obstacles blocking their path to Glendale than just the 11 opponents left on their schedule. Carrying a No. 3 ranking today obviously gains them entry to the national-title discussion, but it doesn't assure them of anything going forward. Boise is the big story right now, and it may be again when it hosts Oregon State on Sept. 25, but once WAC play begins, it's going to fall back off the radar, just like it does every year.
In the meantime, teams like Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oregon, et. al., will be playing lots of big games and garnering lots of attention. If Florida, currently ranked sixth in the coaches' poll, were to go into Tuscaloosa on Oct. 2 and knock off Alabama, the Gators would pass the Broncos. If any of the Big 12's big three remain undefeated following the Oct. 2 Red River Shootout and Oct. 16 Texas-Nebraska game, that team will pass the Broncos. If Ohio State and Wisconsin are both undefeated going into their game the same day, and the Badgers win, they, too, will pass the Broncos. Meanwhile, the minute Boise has the audacity to only beat Toledo or Louisiana Tech by less than two touchdowns, it will probably drop a spot. The polls are all about "what have you done for me lately."
There are two scenarios where the Broncos can rise higher. One, of course, is that everyone else loses. That's where the high ranking really comes into play. In the past, the No. 2 team might lose but stay ahead of undefeated Boise. That won't be the case this time. And then there's the one that could conceivably take place as soon as this weekend. What if, on the same weekend, Miami beats No. 2 Ohio State and Penn State beats No. 1 Alabama? Would the 'Canes jump 13 spots to No. 1 and Penn State 17 spots to No. 2? I highly doubt it. Boise would be the new No. 1 team in the country, and No. 1 teams don't generally fall to No. 3 without losing. And then things could get really nasty, because ...
After watching Boise State being given the game by three terrible calls (the obvious hold on the 71-yard touchdown run, the "late hit" on BSU's game-winning drive and the no-call on the pass interference on the last play of the game) the prospect of them playing for the BCS title game absolutely sickens me. Their schedule is weak, bordering on ridiculous. You can't tell me that Boise State makes it through the SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12 conference schedules without two loses (I think they would go .500 through SEC and Big Ten conference play).
-- Nick, New York
Ah, yes. When in doubt, blame the refs. I will agree on one point: The "late hit" on Boise's game-winning drive was a joke. But that crew blew so many calls on both sides over the course of the night that I'm going to go ahead and give Moore his deserved credit. (It was a Big Ten crew, so at least we know the BCS fix wasn't in. Bill Hancock wasn't using his David Stern bat phone on the game-winning drive.)
As for the second part -- give it a rest already, would you? Did you actually watch the game? Or any other Boise game the past two years? This is a damn ... good ... football team. Neither Oregon, TCU or Virginia Tech could run the ball on the Broncos. Why would South Carolina and Arkansas? Why wouldn't Moore be able to lead that same exact drive against Michigan State? Harper, he of the aforementioned 71-yard touchdown run, could start for about 75 percent of BCS conference teams, and he's third on the Broncos' depth chart. Even the no-depth argument is starting to lose credence. On the game-winning drive, two of Moore's throws went to Mitch Burroughs, a sophomore who barely played last year, and Gabe Linehan, a redshirt freshman tight end listed fourth on the depth chart.
Seriously, people. These baseless hypothetical arguments about how Boise would or would not fare in another league are getting tired. You say the Broncos would lose four games in a major conference? Fair enough. I say, all but a small handful of major-conference teams would have lost at least one of Boise's three nonconference games against top 15 foes since the start of last season.
I'm actually a Gator grad, but want to talk about Boise. What grabbed me were the last two minutes. Forget the favorable calls. Look at how methodically Moore drove down the field with no timeouts, down four. That showed experience and coaching. Then Virginia Tech came out with two timeouts and a minute remaining. They threw one deep bomb, got sacked when they literally had seven blockers in the backfield, underthrew a tight end deep down the field, then had a receiver drop a 40-yard pass. That is where Boise showed its class. They faced adversity and knew how to handle it, and that's why they can stay on the field with everyone.
-- Paul Supple, Atlanta
Indeed. Chris Petersen can coach just a little bit. But let's talk about Virginia Tech for a second. In many ways, the Hokies are the anti-Boise. I know it's hard to take much umbrage with a team that wins 10 games every year and has three league titles in the past six seasons. But when it comes to the truly big games -- be it LSU in 2007, Alabama in '08, Boise this year -- they spit the bit. Their biggest nonconference win in the last seven years was their last-second miracle against Nebraska last season. On the one hand, Frank Beamer deserves infinite credit for building that program practically from scratch and for finding ways to win games and championships the last several years with almost no offense to speak of, but at some point, you've got to win at least one big one, don't you?
I have a question about sportswriting logic (not necessarily yours). In 2004, Auburn went undefeated while beating three top 10 teams (at the time they played them), yet they were denied a chance to play for the national championship because many media types thought their nonconference schedule was too weak. These same media types are now saying if Boise State, which plays one top 10 team and one top 25 team, goes undefeated this year it deserves a shot at the national championship. How can this uneven logic be applied in good conscience?
-- Jason, Altoona, Ala.
Auburn's biggest problem in '04 wasn't its nonconference schedule; it was that the No. 1 and 2 teams to start the season never lost. Also, at the time, most voters did not hold the SEC in any particular regard with comparison to the other conferences. Four straight BCS championships later, that's no longer an issue, to the point where I guarantee you a one-loss SEC champion will finish higher than undefeated Boise. It's the other one-loss champions I'm not as sure about. Would they be more "deserving" based on their schedule? We'll see.
It's not like the Broncos choose to play New Mexico State, San Jose State and Hawaii every year. The best they can do is schedule and beat respectable nonconference foes (which they have), then play the hand they're dealt. If, by season's end, they've won 27 straight games, and if there aren't two clearly dominant teams from tougher leagues, many (myself included) might say they're pretty "deserving" themselves. But we're only one game in. I'd like to see how this thing plays out before deciding one way or the other.
Shall we move on?
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