Green's Tuesday Throwback Report
October 5th, 2010 By Patrick Green
Boise State spent its Saturday afternoon throttling New Mexico State 59-0 en route to a 4-0 record. Across the country, South Carolina sat idle over the weekend, out of pads, most likely grimacing at Alabama’s 31-6 manhandling of Florida. The Gamecocks woke up Sunday morning with the same 3-1 mark they had going into the weekend.
The only relationship between these two squads is the fact that they are ranked nationally. So with the Broncos winning handsomely and the Gamecocks out of action, it would of course make sense that Boise State slide in the rankings while South Carolina moves up from No.20 to No.19 in the AP poll.
Amazingly, this is not a misprint. The Broncos went into the weekend as the third-ranked team in the country, in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls. Today, Boise State finds itself down a notch behind Oregon in both polls, as the fourth-ranked squad in the nation.
The argument for the Ducks’ ascension is a strong one. Oregon knocked off previously ninth-ranked Stanford 52-31 in Pac 10 matchup of top 10 teams and is also undefeated. However, Boise State toppled a winless (0-4) Aggies club that is the lone Western Athletic Conference team without a victory this season.
The timing is symbolic to the problem here, in that the Broncos were demoted in the rankings just as they opened defense of their WAC title. Surely, the truth settles in now for all supporters of the Broncos, the WAC, or the little guy in general. Saturday’s result demonstrates firmly that it is irrelevant if Boise State wins by 50 or even 70 points from this point on; what jumps off the page is not the margin of victory but the names New Mexico State, San Jose State, and Toledo.
The reality is that Boise State is apt to continue its poll decline even while winning, as nothing on its schedule appears to give the Broncos credibility outside of its November 26th matchup against Nevada, which is 5-0 and ranked 21st in the AP poll. On the other hand, programs such as TCU, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Auburn have contests on their schedules that would likely propel them over the Broncos if they prove victorious.
Head coach Chris Peterson is in an unfavorable position. His David will never fight Goliath. Peterson has to attempt to keep his Broncos focused, something that hasn’t been an issue in the past, with no guaranteed pot of gold at the end of an unblemished season. He must also pose as a politician campaigning for his team’s cause, something he hasn’t felt a need to do consistently in the past. Many would argue that he shouldn’t have to.
This season has been enlightening in that it quelled the value of the preseason rankings as it applies to Boise State. In the past, the Broncos had to climb the rankings from the abyss, which always left onlookers questioning Boise State’s chances if it had not had to fight from the cellar. This season has provided a reversal of roles. The Broncos began ranked No.3 in the nation and have only moved backward after five weeks and no losses.
It’s evident that alternative measures are needed. Boise State can’t do anything more than win. Peterson can’t channel Winston Churchill’s power of persuasion, and the voters cannot ignore the strength of schedule factor in their decisions.
No, at this point Boise State has done all it can, with its best victory coming this past summer when it was announced that the Broncos would be relocating to compete in the Mountain West Conference in 2011. Essentially, Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier and company’s decision was the best thing to happen to the state of Idaho since the potato.
In order to challenge the power of college football’s heavyweights, Boise State needed to remain part of an underdog and it will do that even in the Mountain West. The essence of an underdog, remarkably though, is that it has an actual opportunity to be the victor. Being in the WAC, the Broncos never had a true shot at a BCS title.
The perfect marriage here would have been that Boise State competed as a WAC member, only playing a ceremonial conference schedule. Bleymaier and WAC commissioner Karl Benson could have determined the Broncos conference schedule based on the three highest preseason ranked conference teams. Boise State would fill its remaining schedule with non conference opponents from power conferences. Having more Virginia Techs and Oregon States on the calendar would help prevent the possibility of being leap-frogged after a 59-point victory.
In this way, the WAC would increase its chances of being home to a national champion and Boise State would get a fair opportunity to shine on the biggest stage, perhaps. If this option seems ridiculously extreme, it’s because it is. The only other course of action the Broncos could have taken would be to take a stance and publicly ask the NCAA ranking systems to exclude Boise State’s name from the ballot.
Outside of a moral victory, nothing would have changed. The Broncos would still be on the outside and Boise State’s enrollment manager’s job would be that much more difficult when it came to recruiting. Beyond the stream of unattainable avenues, Boise State chose the right one – play out its contract with the WAC and set up tent in the more competitive Mountain West.
Sadly, Peterson can only imagine what this season’s prospects could have been if the move was already complete. The Broncos would now be 4-0 with upcoming contests against conference foes TCU, Utah, and Air Force. Truly, it’s unlikely that Oregon would bypass Boise State if the Broncos had knocked off the Horned Frogs, ranked fifth in the country, the Utes, ranked 10th, or the Falcons, ranked 25th, respectively.
And while it’s colorful to envision Boise State’s progression once in the Mountain West, it’s no guarantee this Broncos team will even look the same.
Junior Kellen Moore is an All-American quarterback in the running for the Heisman trophy, and in four games, has already thrown for more than 1,000 yards, with 11 touchdowns tossed and only one interception. If the lefty can cement him self as a high draft commodity, he may bolt for the NFL.
As well, Moore’s primary target, Titus Young, is a senior. The All-Conference wide out and kick returner, reeled in 79 passes for 1,041 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, and this season, already has 20 catches for 379 yards and two touchdowns. The team’s second leading receiver, Austin Pettis, is also a senior. In Peterson’s favor, the Broncos will have leading rusher Doug Martin returning for his senior season, and on defense, Boise State only starts three seniors now.
In some way, something still appears wrong. The language of this assessment alone is tragic, that going into Week 6, the most promising news for Boise State is that the season is almost over, and it is one game closer to escaping for a chance to fully contend. Right now, unfortunately, when the Broncos should be celebrating a high ranking and working toward a national title chance, they instead are still pleading to merely belong.
Got an item? Please send an email to [email protected]
Want to read the rest of this DraftNasty.com Article for FREE?
Register an Account for FREE by clicking here.
Already got an Account? Login by clicking here.