ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In Defense of Boise St.

The Broncos of Boise St. have gotten a bad wrap lately because of their weak schedule. This has prevented them from rising to the top of the overall BCS ranking because schedule strength is a huge component of the computer rankings incorporated into the formula. Boise is currently sitting at #3 in the BCS and at #2 in just about every human poll on the planet.

Despite their position atop the polls there is a general consensus among sports talking heads that they'll actually need to be #1 overall in order to get into the BCS Championship game. Why? Well because they think that no matter how many wins they acrue, their wins are not as worthy as some of the Big Conference School wins. Boise St. actually has 21 consecutive victories as of right now which is by far the longest streak of its' kind in the country. Those wins include victories over 4 ranked opponents including Oregon, TCU, Virginia Tech, and Oregon State. They have a shot at playing 2 more ranked teams this year in Nevada and Hawaii. Nevada is currently in 24th and Hawaii is the first team out of the Top 25, but if the Rainbow Warriors win against Idaho this weekend, they should sneak into the rankings. They have also won both of the BCS bowl games that they've played in over the last 3 years. I'm sure you remember their last minute victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.

To give you some idea of how that stacks up in terms of tough schedules, over the last year Alabama has played 10 Top 25 teams and lost once while Boise has played 4 and won them all. However a lot of Alabama's schedule strength comes from playing inter conference games. When you take out all the inter conference and bowl games you see that both Alabama and Boise St. have the same number of games against ranked opponents 2 and wins, 2. Boise St. has been left with the challenge of bolstering their schedule's level of difficulty in order to crank that up and come close to matching their peers in the Top 10. However, imagine how impossible that task must be for their Athletic Director.

"Hi Rich Rod, it's me Gene Bleymair the AD at Boise St. and I wanted to know if we could get our boys together for a game in 2012?"

"Hi Brian Kelly, it's me Gene Bleymair the AD at Boise St. and I was wondering if you'd be interested in setting up the Irish to play a Home and Away with us Broncos in 2012."
"Bless you Gene, but no Goddamn way."

"Hi Joe Pa, it's me Gene Bleymair the AD at Boise St. and I would like to see if we can put a game on the schedule with your Nittany Lions in 2012."
"Do you think we can play against one another in 2012?"
"Huh!? SPEAK UP!"
"Boise St. would like to challenge Penn St. to a football game in 2 years."

Sure those are all hypothetical but why would anyone accept a challenge to play against Boise St.? Only 2 teams have done so lately, the Oregon Ducks and the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Ducks makes sense because they are so close it's almost a neighboring state rivalry kind of game between to very good football schools. The Hokies however, show some serious bravado in taking on the Broncos to open the season even if it was on a neutral field. Plus you have you figure that Coach Beamer has a heck of a lot of job security. If a school is going to schedule a non conference opponent, they would ideally like them to be good but not that good. Therein lies Boise's double edge sword. They are that good, but nobody will play them and allow them to officially prove it.

Until Boise St. is able to convince some school's who are perennial Top 25 programs to play some home and aways it's going to be tough for them to crack that mystical #1 overall spot. However, we as fans can support them for being the exciting offense and shutdown defensive team that they've become. According to ESPN they have the 3rd highest scoring offense and 6th best defense in terms of points allowed, #1 Overall Auburn is 11th and 53rd respectively in those categories. Maybe we can start actually considering Boise St. for that top spot if they keep up their play through the rest of this season.


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