How Boise State Wins It All This Year

28 Aug

Boise State QB Kellen Moore finished 4th in Heisman voting last year and is one of the front runners this year.

By Chris McCoy

America loves the underdog.

It’s the embodiment of the American dream – seeing the little guy make it from nothing to something; defy all odds to come out the victor. We even love to bet on them and make a large capital gain – in our capitalistic society it’s only right, right?

Well in this case, the underdog is the winningest program in the Football Bowl Subdivision (I-A) over the last ten years. Boise State is 114-16 since moving to the WAC in 2001, including two BCS Bowl wins, four undefeated regular seasons (two that included bowl losses), and only three with three or more losses: 2007 (10-3), 2005 (9-4), and their first season in the WAC, 2001 (8-4).

From the outside looking in one might wonder how on earth the Broncos are underdogs. Inferior competition. The competition in the WAC in no way compares to that of the SEC, Pac-12 or even the Big East for that matter. If Boise State played #4 LSU, #20 Mississippi State, and defending champion – #19 Auburn in the course of a month, as title contender Alabama does in November, would they still enter the bowl season unscathed? We all know that Boise State can play with anyone – just ask Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State… and yes even my Hokies, but could they beat all four of those teams in a row? How about in a season?

Oklahoma knows first hand that Boise State can play with anyone. Exhibit A: The 2007 Fiesta Bowl

While the Broncos have moved from the WAC to the Mountain West this year, which also includes fellow non-BCS Juggernaut TCU, the eight team league is top heavy, and also includes bottom feeders such as Wyoming, New Mexico, UNLV and Colorado State, which went a combined 9-40 last year.

In addition to a weak conference schedule, the Broncos only play two ranked teams this year, in #22 Georgia and conference foe #15 TCU. So there’s absolutely no way the Broncos could make it to the BCS Championship Game, right?

Not exactly. I’ve played out a few season scenarios and the only ones that would seem to work out for Boise State include it winning all of its games this year.  So there can be no missed field goals in overtime this year. In fact it would behoove the Broncos to beat all their conference foes handily; while margin of victory may no longer factor into the BCS formula, the Harris and USA Today Coaches Polls are HUMAN polls, style points STILL count. Impress us, remove any inkling of doubt.

Even if they win all of their games though, Boise still needs help, as evident by them getting jumped in the polls last year. For those unfamiliar with the situation, BSU got as high as #2 in the AP and USA Today Coaches Polls, only to be jumped by Auburn in both polls in weeks 10 and 11 respectively. They started last year at #5 in the USA Today Poll – the one that factors into the BCS – this year they’re starting from the seventh spot, so they need a little more help to rise to the top.

They pretty much need bedlam to break loose. EVERYONE ELSE NEEDS TO LOSE AT LEAST ONCE. The likeliest scenarios don’t get Boise State into the top spot by the time the BCS Rankings are released in mid-October, but the front runner almost never makes it to the championship. The following scenario has them vaulting into the top spot in Week 11:

  • #1 Oklahoma losing to #5 Florida State (September 17th)
  • #3 Oregon defeats a Jordan Jefferson-less # 4 LSU (September 3rd), but falls to #6 Standford (November 12th) in one of Andrew Luck’s Heisman sealing performances.
  • #5 Florida State must fall either @unranked Clemson (September 24th) or at home to Miami (November 12th)… can anybody say wide right?
  • #6 Stanford losing @ unranked USC (October 29th) or to #3 Oregon (November 12th)

The Broncos can’t just watch the teams in front of them though; if you’ll recall Auburn started #23 last year. They also must watch the teams beneath them; hoping these chips also fall into place:

  •  #9 Texas A&M takes out #8 OK State (September 24th), but falls to #1 Oklahoma (November 5th)
  • #10 Wisconsin defeats #11 Nebraska at home (October 1st), but falls to #17 Michigan State on the road (October 22nd)
  • It’d be great if #12 South Carolina lost to #22 Georgia in Week 2 after having lost to Boise State in Week 1, but that’s unlikely. Look for South Carolina to stumble @#20 Mississippi State (October 15th).
  • You all know I’m a Virginia Tech fan, but the #13 Hokies seriously may cause problems for this scenario. It is very plausible that the Hokies won’t lose until they face #5 Florida State in the ACC Championship.  Georgia Tech always seems to cause the Hokies problems though. VT must lose that game in Atlanta (November 10th).
  • #14 Arkansas beating #2 Alabama (September 24th), only to fall to #9 Texas A&M the following week (October 1st).
  • With all the turmoil in Columbus, the #16 Buckeyes could very well lose @unranked Miami before they even see #17 Michigan State and #10 Nebraska, but expect them to lose those games too.
  • #22 Georgia has to win about nine games to help their strength of schedule too.

All of this could very well happen; 2003, 2006, and 2007 saw no undefeated teams. In fact 2007, saw only one one-loss team, and 2008’s only undefeated team was former Mountain West and now Pac-12 member Utah. Boise State needs help, but if they get it they’ve already shown they’re the little engine that can: they have the Heisman contending quarterback as well as 15 other returning starters from a team that was #2 in both total offense and defense last year. If things start to fall in their favor, the human pollsters are still HUMAN, with all of the scandals abounding in college football, Boise State, although they violated this offseason too were not on the level of a Miami, LSU or OSU, would be the feel good story the humans would keep on top of the polls, which would offset slightly lower computer rankings.

The bottom line is I don’t quite see all of these chips falling into play. I don’t see Florida State or Oregon losing a game this year, and that’s my early championship pick: Oregon 34 Florida State 27. Boise State does end up in another BCS Bowl Game though, hopefully someday soon they’ll end up in a better conference like conference foe TCU, who’s found a home in the Big East beginning next year because it’d be such a shame to never get to see Boise win it all.


3 Responses to “How Boise State Wins It All This Year”

  1. Sharmen Kay Schwertfeger August 28, 2011 at 9:26 PM #

    Nice!!!!!!! It would be a shame to not see Boise win it ALL!!!!

  2. Demetrius Anderson August 29, 2011 at 9:39 AM #

    I like the way you broke that down… I agree, it could happin

  3. Anonymous September 10, 2011 at 9:47 PM #

    They are going to win it all, it’s going to be Kellen Moore’s “Swan Song”. After seeing the Georgia game, and the Georgia\ SC game today, how can you not be convinced of it. Boise State is over the “Hump” and are officially an LSU, Alabama, Wisconsin, and Oregon killer from here on out. Boise can play with anyone in the country, week in week out. I live for football and consider myself very observant and detail orientated, and Boise State is at a level of play that is historic, and people should watch and enjoy it for what it is, ENTERTAINING. They play as a team well, coached well, execute plays to perfection, and most of all, never are out of a game. Even if you are not a biased Boise fan, but a fan of Americas most loved sport, FOOTBALL, how can you not love what these Broncos are doing.

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