Given eight months to think about it, I still had no earthly idea how Monday's Boise State-Virginia Tech game would play out. The only thing I could see coming well before the first
And ... here it is.
Hardy har har.
Let me put all you alarmist BCS power-conference fans at ease: The Broncos have far more obstacles blocking their path to Glendale than just the 11 opponents left on their schedule. Carrying a No. 3 ranking today obviously gains them entry to the national-title discussion, but it doesn't assure them of anything going forward. Boise is the big story right now, and it may be again when it hosts Oregon State on Sept. 25, but once WAC play begins, it's going to fall back off the radar, just like it does every year.
In the meantime, teams like Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oregon, et. al., will be playing lots of big games and garnering lots of attention. If Florida, currently ranked sixth in the coaches' poll, were to go into Tuscaloosa on Oct. 2 and knock off Alabama, the Gators would pass the Broncos. If any of the Big 12's big three remain undefeated following the Oct. 2 Red River Shootout and Oct. 16 Texas-Nebraska game, that team will pass the Broncos. If Ohio State and Wisconsin are both undefeated going into their game the same day, and the Badgers win, they, too, will pass the Broncos. Meanwhile, the minute Boise has the audacity to only beat Toledo or Louisiana Tech by less than two touchdowns, it will probably drop a spot. The polls are all about "what have you done for me lately."
There are two scenarios where the Broncos can rise higher. One, of course, is that everyone else loses. That's where the high ranking really comes into play. In the past, the No. 2 team might lose but stay ahead of undefeated Boise. That won't be the case this time. And then there's the one that could conceivably take place as soon as this weekend. What if, on the same weekend, Miami beats No. 2 Ohio State and Penn State beats No. 1 Alabama? Would the 'Canes jump 13 spots to No. 1 and Penn State 17 spots to No. 2? I highly doubt it. Boise would be the new No. 1 team in the country, and No. 1 teams don't generally fall to No. 3 without losing. And then things could get really nasty, because ...
Ah, yes. When in doubt, blame the refs. I will agree on one point: The "late hit" on Boise's game-winning drive was a joke. But that crew blew so many calls on both sides over the course of the night that I'm going to go ahead and give Moore his deserved credit. (It was a Big Ten crew, so at least we know the BCS fix wasn't in.
As for the second part -- give it a rest already, would you? Did you actually watch the game? Or any other Boise game the past two years? This is a damn ... good ... football team. Neither Oregon, TCU or Virginia Tech could run the ball on the Broncos. Why would South Carolina and Arkansas? Why wouldn't Moore be able to lead that same exact drive against Michigan State? Harper, he of the aforementioned 71-yard touchdown run, could start for about 75 percent of BCS conference teams, and he's third on the Broncos' depth chart. Even the no-depth argument is starting to lose credence. On the game-winning drive, two of Moore's throws went to
Seriously, people. These baseless hypothetical arguments about how Boise would or would not fare in another league are getting tired. You say the Broncos would lose four games in a major conference? Fair enough. I say, all but a small handful of major-conference teams would have lost at least one of Boise's three nonconference games against top 15 foes since the start of last season.
Auburn's biggest problem in '04 wasn't its nonconference schedule; it was that the No. 1 and 2 teams to start the season never lost. Also, at the time, most voters did not hold the SEC in any particular regard with comparison to the other conferences. Four straight BCS championships later, that's no longer an issue, to the point where I guarantee you a one-loss SEC champion will finish higher than undefeated Boise. It's the other one-loss champions I'm not as sure about. Would they be more "deserving" based on their schedule? We'll see.
It's not like the Broncos choose to play New Mexico State, San Jose State and Hawaii every year. The best they can do is schedule and beat respectable nonconference foes (which they have), then play the hand they're dealt. If, by season's end, they've won 27 straight games, and if there aren't two clearly dominant teams from tougher leagues, many (myself included) might say they're pretty "deserving" themselves. But we're only one game in. I'd like to see how this thing plays out before deciding one way or the other.
Shall we move on?
The obvious answer would be Florida because that offense looked so incredibly inept, but while the Gators may struggle early, I have a feeling they'll kick it into gear once their starting offensive line is back intact. They won't be 2008-'09-level Florida, but nor will this be a return to the
The one I'm suddenly and surprisingly concerned about is Oklahoma. I'm worried
That said, OU has made it to national championship game with shaky secondaries before, because its offense was so unstoppable.
"Dooley" noted. Starting next week, I'll be sure to include a shout-out in College Overtime for every team that beat up on an FCS opponent. Be warned, though: The column will now be 10 pages long.
See note above. (Though technically the Hilltoppers are an FBS foe.)
Ole Miss, no question. While the 6-3 loss was indisputably embarrassing for
Here's the crazy thing: If
If, however, they go 5-7, Nutt will find himself right on the hot seat he tried so hard to avoid. Remember, the past two Cotton Bowl teams were comprised almost entirely of
No wonder he called it "the worst loss I've ever had."
Yeah, they told me to make a "bold prediction," and "Oklahoma State will go 7-5" wouldn't have been all that bold. I'm sure I'll end up eating those words. I loved watching Hunter in 2008 and it's good to see him back healthy.
Having said all that, be warned that reading into a rout of Washington State is not that different from reading into a rout of UT-Martin.
I'd say it was definitely encouraging for the RedHawks. It takes two sides to hold a team below 20 yards for nearly three quarters, even if one couldn't snap the ball correctly, and Miami's defense should get its share of the credit. Really, it's bewildering how the RedHawks ever got so bad to begin with. The Cradle of Coaches lost its way during the brief
C'mon, man. Your alma mater always comes first.
Oh, that's easy. I dream of being Roger Sterling.