No. 3 Boise State knocks off No. 10 Virginia Tech by three – in a game marred with miscues and blown calls – and the result are seven more first place votes for the Broncos. Be careful what you wish for BCS buster enthusiasts.
Let’s make it clear; Boise State absolutely looked like a top five team last night and is deserving of their ranking. Solid line play. Big time quarterback. Talent and speed at the skills positions. Special teams that looked special. Good coaching.
The issue here isn’t necessarily Boise State as much as it’s a system which rewards teams that manipulate said system. The Broncos crashed the party a few years back in their Fiesta Bowl upset of Oklahoma, but have since made a career of playing a two-game season. Spend the entire summer prepping for a solid game one foe, beat up eleven nobodies the rest of the season and end the year getting a month to break down film regarding a bowl opponent.
As expected, the media and lovers-of-the-underdog are drinking the blue Kool Aid this morning – still believing that Cinderella will bring the flawed BCS to its collective knees.
The only shot the BCS has of being tweaked is a few years from now when TV contracts are reworked. Money has a chance of fine-tuning the BCS. The only thing Boise State in the title game does is create controversy – and as the old adage goes, there’s no such thing as bad press. Talking about the BCS keeps fans interested and wins new ones over … as does the notion that a perennial small school underdog can bring about change (which it won’t).
A few decades back Miami was a nobody and looked to build a name for itself, it adapted a mentality of “anyone, any place, any time” en route to dominating the collegiate football landscape. Howard Schnellenberger didn’t start the trend of facing top schools, but he was the first Miami coach to find success in being a smaller program that knocked off a giant when his unranked Hurricanes toppled No. 1 Penn State, on the road back in 1981.
That mindset carried Miami through the 80s and beyond. Even after joining the Big East and later the ACC, UM still agreed to take on all comers – proven this week with a road trip to No. 2 Ohio State.
In 1987, Jimmy Johnson’s squad went 12-0 after facing the following – No. 20 Florida, No. 10 Arkansas, No. 4 Florida State, No. 10 Notre Dame, No. 8 South Carolina and beat No. 1 Oklahoma for the national championship. Scary to think a Boise State title twenty-three years later would carry as much weight when facing the following: Wyoming, New Mexico State, Toledo, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, Hawai’i, Idaho, Fresno State, Nevada and Utah State.
Boise State shouted from the rooftops this off-season that they tried to book some bigger games … but conveniently left out the fact they were asking upwards of $1M for a one-time road game. (Ole Miss bit and paid the Broncos upwards of $900K to trek east – an astronomical figure.)
BCS voters and college football enthusiasts spend week in and week out talking about the importance of every game and how teams need to ‘show up’ every week – which is difficult when playing in a powerhouse conference, but much easier when you line up patsies and only have to bring it a few times per year. If teams are judged by their overall body of work, how can one even attempt to put Boise State on the shelf next to other undefeated or one-loss team’s at season’s end?
Boise State took down a pretty good Virginia Tech team last night, but all they proved is that (1) they are a force to be reckoned with when they have time to prepare, (2) that being a media darling excuses a piss-poor regular season schedule, (3) that America will give Cinderella or an underdog a free pass and (4) that people are so fed up with the BCS that they’ll abandon all logic in the hopes that things eventually come crashing down.
Everyone outside of Boise that celebrated last night’s win, let’s revisit this topic early December if the Broncos remain undefeated and are Glendale-bound. You’ll have several good teams from good conferences now vying for one slot in the title game instead of two.
Think back to 2004 when an undefeated Auburn was shunned of a title shot (Southern Cal whooped Oklahoma for the title). Three deserving teams and only two went. This year you could see a similar scenario and only one would go as Boise State worked the system for a few years, jockeyed for position and stole the inside track.
Solid team, but undeserving of a title shot based on this year’s schedule and not having to take care of business on a weekly basis. Here’s hoping someone steps up and pulls an upset along the way as it’ll take more than Boise State BCS busting to change anything. Mediocrity in scheduling doesn’t deserve to be rewarded. Period.
>>> Days before Boise State did their thing, another topsy-turvy kickoff to college football weekend. Nerves are always frazzled as there’s no preseason – just big time football right out the gate, even if the foes aren’t always big time.
Most survived the tasks at hand, but when you look at the Saturday scoreboard you see a lot of broken hearts, ruined seasons and coaches who will take a lot of grief before even prepping for week two:
– Houston Nutt called Saturday’s loss the worst of his career and when you think about how rabid Rebels fans are, you know where he’s coming from. Jacksonville State upset Ole Miss 49-48 in double overtime. The mighty proud SEC program was dealt a blow by a nobody from the Ohio Valley Conference and no matter where the Rebels go from here, this was akin to Michigan falling to Appalachian State years back – proving there’s more parity than ever, but still an unforgivable sin if it’s YOUR team who was made an example of.
– Preseason rags spent the whole off-season hyping John Brantley and his ability to replace Tim Tebow, citing his stronger arm and skills as a drop back passer. Seems someone forgot to teach Brantley how to field a snap. (OK, cheap shot as center Mike Pouncey was the main culprit with his poor snaps.)
Ball-handling aside, the Gators had 26 yards entering the fourth quarter against Miami … of Ohio – a squad that went 1-11 last season, fielding one of the worst offenses in the nation. Miami had virtually zero shot of upending Florida, but scored a moral victory in a 34-12 loss – one in which Urban Meyer continued his stat-padding, throwing on 4th and 15 with just over five minutes remaining and a 27-12 lead.
Will the Gators improve as the year goes on? Sure. Did they look like the No. 4 team in the country? They barely looked like No. 24 – further proving that preseason polls are idiotic, favoritism rules and that the media is clueless when it comes to voting. UF has talent, but it’s unproven and hasn’t come close to jelling. Chemistry and talent helped Florida go on a 26-2 run the past two seasons – not just five-star, over-hyped high school superstars. The Gators are replacing a ton this year and were just served some humble pie that will either make or break them as this year rolls on.
– Some hype for No. 15 Pittsburgh and sophomore running back Dion Lewis this off-season. The Panthers dropped their season opener in OT at Utah and Lewis only mustered up 75 yards on 25 carries.
– Southern Cal put up 49 on Hawai’i … but gave up 36 against an average offense, as well as 588 total yards. If the Warriors are dropping bombs on the Trojans’ secondary, what will Oregon do later this year? The Ducks just laid a 72-0 beating on New Mexico this weekend and head to Los Angeles on October 30th.
– National champ runner up Texas took care of lowly Rice, 34-17 but only put up 172 passing yards and 369 total yards. Contrast that to the 317 yards Colt McCoy had in last year’s opener against Louisiana-Monroe (and 562 total yards) and another powerhouse looked good, not great against a much lesser foe this past weekend.
– Tons of chatter about No. 7 Oklahoma rebounding from last year’s shattered title dreams and 8-5 season, but the Sooners barely looked the part against Utah State in a 31-24 home win. DeMarco Murray proved he can do it on the ground (218 yards, two touchdowns) but OU was outgunned 341 passing yards to 217 and both teams had over 400+ total yards.
Florida State heads to town this weekend after their 59-6 pasting of Samford so the nation should have a better gauge on both programs by Saturday evening.
– No. 6 TCU found themselves in a dogfight with No. 24 Oregon State, tied 21-21 until the final minute of the third quarter. Like Boise State, a run of cupcakes for the Horned Frogs – Tennessee Tech, Baylor, Southern Methodist, Colorado State, Wyoming, BYU, Air Force, UNLV, Utah, San Diego State and New Mexico. Including the Beavers, two foes barely in the top 25 (Utah currently #20).
Like the Broncos, TCU has a great coach, legit defense and is a quality team. Too bad they refuse to take on more than one good team a year.
– Turner Gill did a great job at Buffalo and earned his shot at Kansas, replacing Mark Mangino, but the offensive-minded coach faceplanted in his opener — a 6-3 loss to North Dakota State. Ugly game. Quarterback controversy. One can only imagine how quickly Miami fans would’ve run Randy Shannon out of town had he lost his opener against Marshall back in 2007.
Gill and Buffalo stole the MAC title last year, upsetting Ball State and when finally getting a coveted Big XII head coaching gig (a real coup for a former Nebraska quarterback), was dealt a brutal blow.
– Lastly, kudos to North Carolina for hanging tough against a pretty good LSU team. Few thought that game would go down to the final play with eight Tar Heels starters sidelined, but Butch Davis’ squad hung tough, knew their assignments and never gave up – even when down 30-10 at halftime.
Anyone who is anti-SEC (which is anyone without a horse in that conference race) wanted to pull for the ACC and the Heels … but in the same breath, the fact that the program is running amok, it’s tough to root on the perceived bad guy … even if they are undermanned.
T.J. Yates threw for a jaw-dropping 412 yards and three touchdowns – two of which came in the final quarter (one a 97-yarder to Jheranie Boyd) and he almost had a fourth on back-to-back plays that tight end Zack Pianalto couldn’t reel in.
Are the Tar Heels THAT legit, or did they simply rise to the occasion big time? Time will tell. Davis’ team is off this weekend but returns next Saturday at home against Georgia Tech. How will a second-string defense respond to a triple option and does Yates have anything left in the tank?
College football is underway and in full force – complete with controversy, crazy wins, upsets and big time players. Up next, arguably the greatest line up you’ll see all season. Miami @ Ohio State. Penn State @ Alabama. Florida State @ Oklahoma. Georgia @ South Carolina. Oregon @ Tennessee. If you can’t be in Columbus, the next best place is in front of your LCD with GamePlan in full-force.
Tune in later this week for UM / OSU coverage and all the scoop.