Rewind: Week One officially in the books…

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.

Not quite.

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.



10 thoughts on “Rewind: Week One officially in the books…

  1. I'm with you. Boise State winning was the worst thing for college football and anyone who misses that is too caught up in the underdog aspect of things.

    I highly doubt Boise loses another game this year and is absolutely headed to the title game. They went 14-0 last year and look better this year. Of course like last year they play nobody.

    Only way they don't reach the title game is if two other teams go undefeated. I absolutely think they go over a one loss team because they've captured the sympathy vote and have pulled one over on a sports media that isn't giving their grief for their lame schedule.

    As you pointed out, college football is supposed to be about overall body of work and doing it every week. How come the Broncos aren't being held to that same standard?

    This isn't going to destroy the BCS. The fact that a smaller team got there will only make the BCS feel like they've finally gotten in right and aren't showing favoritism, which in turn they really are by not making Boise pay for scheduling wimps all year long!!

  2. +1000 on Boise state, but who didn't know it was over when vt got the ball w 109 and 2 time outs left…Miami or FSU would have easily beaten BS…can't wait for this weekend, but really hoping for undefeated Canes and Noles this year….one other thing on BS…number 3 over number 10 is not a Cinderella win…stop giving them that underdog fluff and pray there is a pretend giant killer on that weak schedule…maybe the bullseye will save us all and bring them down….highly unlikely i know because they did look good and should be healthy all year so all we can do is hold our collective breathe…PAYBACK this weekend….GO CANES.

  3. Completely agree with you about the favoritism statement. Case in point: College Gameday this weekend is in Tuscaloosa. I mean, if "Gameday" is all about the 'compelling' storylines they portray, how is Miami v. Ohio State not the marquee game? Don't get me wrong, it will be a matchup between two Top 20 teams in Alabama, but if my math is right, two Top 15 teams should provide for a better game (at least on paper), right?

  4. I am definitely one of those BCS buster enthusiasts and a weak, schedule wise, Boise State is exactly what I want. I will only root against them if by losing the Canes get into the championship game.

    Division IA football championships are an insult to competitive sport. An "undeserving" champion like Boise State is what makes the BCS look weaker. If they played and won a schedule like 1987 Miami did, who could complain? Its by winning it all with one or less ranked teams on the schedule that will fuel the playoff push. Any team that helps make playoffs happen will always receive my support. I know it will take more than one chump team winning it all to make playoffs happen but it sure as hell will help.

    You say it won't bring change but you don't know. You're guessing same as the rest of us. What if it happens twice? Every four years? or never again? Pro-playoff sentiment can't get lower with these results, at worst it stays the same and in a likelihood increases.

    I don't care if Boise wins the next five titles as long as the Canes aren't the team bounced. A Boise State dynasty is exactly what Division 1A deserves for nearly a century of meaningless bowl games and not one true champion. Including the 2001 Canes who were the greatest team to never be able to prove it.

  5. We can find the teams who deserve to be ranked higher than others by putting strength of schedule back in the BCS formula, or make it more weighted if someone claims it is already taken into consideration. Playing one tough game (and the first game at that – before a team finds itself)in a season and being rewarded is a joke. You know a schedule is weak (98th to be precise) when the national press is already saying a team has clear sailing after winning THEIR FIRST GAME! Whatever gets us a playoff the fastest, I am all for however.
    -Columbus Cane

  6. You say it won't bring change but you don't know. You're guessing same as the rest of us. What if it happens twice? Every four years? or never again? Pro-playoff sentiment can't get lower with these results, at worst it stays the same and in a likelihood increases.

    Nobody "knows" … but this is the real world and money talks. We ALL know that.

    The BCS got it wrong in 2000, sending Florida State instead of Miami.

    Folks in 2001 felt Oregon was more deserving than Nebraska.

    Miami and Ohio State were the only undefeateds in 2002, but there was still talk that two-loss USC might've been the best team in the country.

    USC got shut out in 2003 as there were three one-loss teams – including a once #1 OU squad that got throttled 35-7 in the Big XII title game.

    Undefeated Auburn won the SEC and was shut out of the title game in favor of undefeated USC and OU.

    Florida got the nod against OSU in 2006 instead of a Michigan / Ohio State rematch.

    Two-loss LSU went against OSU in 2007 instead of two-loss Virginia Tech, Oklahoma, Georgia, Missouri or USC.

    One-loss Oklahoma and Florida went at it in 2008, while one-loss Texas was on the outside looking in.

    Undefeated Alabama took on undefeated Texas … while undefeated TCU, Cincy and Boise State were all left out.

    What has changed after a decade of injustices? NOTHING. So why the mindset that IF Boise State crashes the party this year that things will FINALLY be worked out?

    TV contracts are up in 2012 and at that point there will be some talk. Maybe we'll see a plus-one system. Maybe we'll see a playoff.

    Either way, there's been controversy just about each and every year this decade — so again, why the thought process that Cinderella FINALLY getting there (after getting snubbed last year) that we'll see change? If anything, it's just proving that the BCS thrives off controversy and gets out of trouble by throwing someone a bone or fiddling with a rule. (Changing strength of schedule, head-to-head, etc.)

    System is a joke and BSU's sched is a bigger joke. Two wrongs don't make a right.

  7. After Boise State won against Virginia Tech, I kept hearing about how Boise could not handle a tough SEC schedule.

    In my view, UF has maybe 3 tough games, so I don't see much of a difference.

    The so called big boys of college football want no part of Boise State.

    That's why they got to go against TCU in their bowl game.

    If they win out and Alabama or Ohio State have at least one loss, they need to be playing for a National Championship.

    I don't think Alabama beating Penn State is a sure thing and I know that we all want to see the Buckeyes go down.

    The Miami & Ohio State game is probably going to come down to which QB makes the fewest mistakes.

    Assuming that we have some serious improvement in the offensive line, that will hopefully be JH.

  8. I was thrilled to see Boise State win because the opponent was Virgina Tech. That gives us a leg up on an in-conference opponent in the race to the conference 'ship and the National 'ship.

    Let's Go Canes! Destroy Ohio State!

  9. Allcanes,

    I am aware of the importance of money in preserving the awful bowl system. I think, however, that you are greatly discounting public perception as a means to an end. Increased public perception that "undeserving" teams become champions, or that deserving teams are shafted does make a difference. You say nothing has changed but thats not the case. I'm guessing you have been watching college ball longer than I have but since I was a child the loyalty to the Bowl games has dwindled and the calls for playoffs have gotten much stronger. Maybe it just seems that way to me because of the internet but I don't think so. The BCS itself is a reaction to a call for playoffs. If there was no noise at all we would still be in the old bowl system, which I would prefer because there was no pretense of a real championship game.

    I may be wrong that a Boise State championship will help the playoff push at all but I may be right. If I'm wrong nothing changes and we're stuck with the same old crap but if I'm right and it helps usher in playoffs then the payoff is wonderful NCAA football tourneys for rest of my life. So for whatever its worth I root for crappy championship games if the Canes can't be involved.

    Going back to the original point about money being the driving force, I acknowledge that. I'm just a fan. I will never go to a bowl game and if ever presented with a TV ratings book will never write in that I watched one. That is the extent to which I can affect the system financially. To make a non-football comparison, I am like one of those countries in the UN that has no army or economic power. All they have left to them is words so that becomes the solution to every problem. If I could do more I would , but I can't so I use what is at my disposal.

  10. Carl, I don't see how it helps either way.

    It keeps No. 3 Boise State ahead of Miami – and on a clear cut path to Glendale as they play nobody. Take out No. 3 and let sorry-ass Virginia Tech win, as we know they'll fall again somewhere along the way.

    Plus, it was a non-conference game so it does nothing for Miami / Virginia Tech in terms of the ACC.

    Wish there was a way both teams could've lost … but in a lesser of two evils, I was pulling for Virginia Tech because at least MIami gets them at home and can knock them off. Boise State is smooth sailing against losers the rest of the way.

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