Why Boise State can’t play for the BCS championship

Everyone loves a Cinderella story, especially in sports. We love to see the underdog prevail. It brings us to tears when the little guy beats the big guy.

But having said all that you have to understand that, barring a total collapse of the major conferences, there is no way—at least no logical way–that No. 5 Boise State can play for the national championship.

The Broncos, who gave college football one of its most enduring memories when it beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl a couple of years ago, are ranked No. 5 in both this week’s USA Today Coaches poll and the first Harris Interactive poll. Those are the two human polls that—along with the average of several computer polls—make up the BCS Standings, which will be released for the first time on Oct. 18. On Dec. 6 the finally standings will be released and the top two teams in those standings will play for the BCS national championship on Jan. 8 in Pasadena, Calif.

There has been some discussion about what would happen if the Broncos went 13-0 (they play an extra game because they go to Hawaii this season) and the winners of the Big Boy conferences all have one loss. After what happened to Utah last season (the Utes went undefeated and didn’t get a sniff at the national title), would the voters in the human polls decide that it was time to give a little guy at shot and see what he could do in the big game?


They can’t. Not if they are doing their homework.

Here are the 12 Division I-A teams on the Boise State schedule for 2009. The Broncos have a 13th game against UC-Davis, a Division I-AA team. The teams are listed in order of ranking from a poll on CBSSports.com which ranks all the Division I-A teams 1-120.




Fresno State—69

La. Tech–76


Bowling Green—80



New Mexico State—103

San Jose State—107

Utah State—114

Miami (Ohio)—118


The Broncos have a quality win against Oregon, which looks even better since the Ducks beat California so decisively.

But after that, here are the cold, hard facts. Eleven of the 12 Division I-A teams on the Boise State schedule are rated 67 or worse.

Of those 11 teams, four are rated 103 or worse. To put it another way, there are 18 college football teams that rank 103 or worse. Boise State plays four of them.

If Boise State goes 13-0 this season I have no problem with the Broncos getting to one of the BCS Bowls. But I will say this.  Based on the schedules, Houston and TCU look like they would prevail over Boise State as the lone BCS Buster from the Coalition conferences.


Houston (3-0), ranked 15 and 13 in the human polls,  already has wins over Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. The Cougars of Kevin Sumlin could pick up another quality non-conference win next week at Mississippi State.


TCU (3-0), ranked 10 and 11 in the human polls, has gone on the road and won at Virginia and Clemson from the ACC. The Horned Frogs play in the Mountain West Conference, which is the best of the Coalition.


The bottom line is this: If there is only one spot in the BCS championship game available and it’s between a 13-0 Boise and a one-loss champ of the SEC, Big 12, Pac-10, or maybe even Big Ten, it has to go to the latter. Those conferences are simply playing a different level of football.


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352 comments Add your comment


September 29th, 2009
2:33 pm

Thank you BILLIEGOAT…you are so impressive. How quaint of you to let us know how classy you are-


September 29th, 2009
2:36 pm

Maybe the reason Fresno is dominated by Boise every year is that they have injuries that take away from their depth due to playing a tough schedule with lots of traveling. I admire Fresno’s attitbue Boise could learn from it.


September 29th, 2009
2:37 pm

*attitude I hate these small text boxes


September 29th, 2009
2:43 pm

You’re right; BSU could never play for a national championship. Florida, on the other hand, can play high schools, and it doesn’t seem to count against them.

To all of you who think BSU couldn’t play with an SEC team, I bet you said the same stupid stuff last year before Utah dismantled Alabama.

Techie Since '59

September 29th, 2009
2:44 pm

kautzie -
I’d like to see a home-and-home between Ga. Tech and Boise State. Tech’s played on the famous blue field recently. By the way, this year Tech plays an 8-game ACC schedule, one “patsy” (Jacksonville St.) and 3 SEC teams. Teams scheduling 3 or more “patsy” games because their conference is “so tough” is pathetic. I’ll give props to UGA for manning up this year, playing OK. State.


September 29th, 2009
2:45 pm

Jay, when you have 3 teams in the Top 4 in your own conf. and play FSU who just happened to kick BYU’s but for an OOC game you can play HS teams and still make the big dance.


September 29th, 2009
2:52 pm

If you really hate the BCS formula as I do, you must root for chaos at the top. Root for the big six to kill each other and BSU to continue to roll. The best possible scenario would be Cinncinatti to win out to earn the big east title and Boise to roll through the schedule. All other conferences finish with 2 loss champions and you would destroy the BCS credibility forever. The big six would then be VERY motivated to look at this formula if it would allow such a travesty to happen.


September 29th, 2009
2:56 pm

O.K. Boise State has a pretty good team and can compete with the big boys.If they are serious about getting a shot a the prize they need to switch conferences, About they move to the Pac 10 There’s room for them and one more good up and coming team.Then the mighty pac 10 can have a conference playoff which will help decide a national champ. Also the Big 11 needs one more team and then a playoff.


September 29th, 2009
3:00 pm

Potatodawg echoes my feelings as well, the PAC 10 needs to add both Boise State and BYU to complete 12 teams, have a playoff like the other major conferences (little 10 not withstanding). Then we start a pseudo National Championship with all of the reps coming from conference playoffs. After all, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

Slide Rule

September 29th, 2009
3:01 pm

Let’s look at the flip side. Playing Florida, Alabama, Texas, etc. means a lot for the athletic department (big paycheck) for these smaller schools. Sometime it works so well the littler guys grow up, for instance Boise State (obviously) and U of South Florida. I bet nobody’s lining up to play Central Michigan, either.


September 29th, 2009
3:05 pm

How can you tell who is a good team to schedule 2 or 3 years in advance? They play VA tech next year….That’s a start.
How can you really blame the broncos? Their WAC teams aren’t helping them. Fresno used to always be a solid team.
If 4 years from now Boise plays Oregon state, Auburn and Kansas would that be good enough? Even if maybe those three teams each finish with losing records? What if the WAC has a good year and has 2 or 3 other top 25ers. IS THAT ENOUGH FOR SOME BOISE ‘QUALITY WINS?’
There is no way of knowing….based on THAT YEARS rankings. A win is a win.


September 29th, 2009
3:06 pm



September 29th, 2009
3:12 pm

I love Boise State. They’re what college football needed. I also agree that schedule strength is a problem. But let’s say you are Coach Pete. Would it be fair to schedule an LSU or Florida if they demand that 2 of those 3 games are played at their home? A lot of what Boise is offered are these silly two for ones. Not just one season, one game. Why? Because if Florida or LSU gets beat in their non conf games…..Their rankings, their $, their season and their backers are screwed and upset. It’s not as easy as just scheduling a tougher schedule. They are attempting to do just that.


September 29th, 2009
3:14 pm

Again I ask Tony and any other pollsters who may see this, one simple question:
If based on Boise St’s schedule they don’t deserve to play for a National Championship, then WHY do they deserve a top 5 ranking?!

The pollsters are voting on who they feel are the best teams in the nation correct? If you feel Boise St is right now today the 5TH best team in the nation, then how can you turn around tomorrow and say well they don’t deserve to play because of their schedule?

You can’t have it both ways. Either they are a top 5 team – in which case they would deserve a shot if they make it to number 2
They are not a top 5 team in which case they should be ranked accordingly.

This is why the whole BCS thing is BS. How can you have a system which relies on pollsters who basically talk out of both sides of their mouth?

I’m not saying Boise St deserves to play in a national championship game and I’m not saying they don’t, but if the Coaches (sports information guys) and the media all agree that today they are the number 5 team and at the end of the season wind up with a #2 ranking then how can these SAME voters who would put them there turn right around and say well your schedule isn’t up to par? If the voters TRULY feel that way then DON’T RANK THEM IN THE TOP FIVE PERIOD!


September 29th, 2009
3:23 pm

To even be ranked in the top 10 is ludicrous given their strength of schedule. Are the polls rewarding an undefeated schedule, or are they looking for the best team(s) in the country? Yeah, the Broncos had one night where everything went right for them (Oklahoma game), but the outcome of most BCS match-ups that include Boise State will result in something like the beating UGA handed to Hawaii, or even the one administered to the Broncos by the Dawgs a few years back. Boise is good, very good, but they aren’t great.


September 29th, 2009
3:25 pm


You beat me to the punch. I was questioning the same logic.

Big Dawg

September 29th, 2009
3:34 pm

Sautee Dawg

I agree with you 100%. Let them schedule some tougher games, wasn’t that the case a few years ago whenever an undefeated Auburn team got pushed aside for a team that had a tougher schedule.

Sautee I would like to correct something Oklahoma and USC did not have tougher schedules, Auburn was pushed aside because they started the season ranked like 18th and USC was ranked # 1 and Oklahoma was like 2nd or 3rd. The Orange and Sugar bowls proved that Oklahoma was overrated as they got absolutely crushed and embarrashed by USC while Auburn won handily in the Sugar Bowl.

So I would say your argument about Strength of Schedule doesn’t really apply and has been backed up the last few years by the ACC, Big East and Big Ten conferences in the bowl games as I believe as a whole each one of these conferences have done very poorly.

Gen Neyland

September 29th, 2009
3:45 pm

Anthony : The logic is simple and you basically repeated me but overlooked the part about mindset in my previous post. The mindset is an intregal part of the game at any level. In college ranks with a one shot opportunity bowl, Alabama’s mental state was tripped up 3 different ways coming in and they didn’t respond to failure as they never had to during the season until the SECCG and beyond to Utah. A #1 ranked underdog losing the SECCG, it’s 12-0 season down the tubes and drawing Utah instead of playing for the NC. The question becomes ” Will Alabama be able to close the deal in 2009?” I did say in the earlier post Utah was the better team for 60 minutes that day last season even though they weren’t the better team and on that note, I’ll take a seat.

Jeremy Austgen

September 29th, 2009
4:01 pm

Yes, you’re wrong. Boise State could win (would be much harder) on any of the major conference schedules if they were given the opportunity. Truth is no major conference wants to play Boise.


September 29th, 2009
4:09 pm

Wrong..the frigging answer is a playoff. Oh that would mean that teams play to many games. BS…as you said Boise State plays 13 games and all other teams added a 12th a few years ago. All bowl games are meaningless exhibition games and the national championship game is a popularity contest. Boise State will deserve as much of a shot as any team.


September 29th, 2009
4:09 pm

Why is everyone so upset? Fla has already been anointed. Now they will get sympathy votes. Writers have the biggest story since the Gipper and they will write about it until we start throwing up.

I hope Tebow will be fine. The scary thing will be when he gets hit again. The 2nd and 3rd concussions are the career enders.

[...] Mr. College Football is right on in this one.  We railed against Utah and Boise last week. (AJC) [...]


September 29th, 2009
4:25 pm

They don’t deserve to be #5 now and based on schedule don’t deserve a shot at the title. Could they win? Sure anything is possible Likely? no

The answer is man up and play anyone anywhere like Fresno does. If you have to take deals with no return trips so be it.


September 29th, 2009
4:31 pm

For Boise St to get into the BCS championship game this is what must happen.

1) Boise St goes undefeated.

2) All or all but 1 of the major colleges have at least 2 defeats.(It happened a couple of years ago)

3) Boise St would need to be in the top 10 for the bulk of the regular season.

4) Boise St must win big in each of there reg season games. (i.e. no close calls)

That should do it. In fact…if that does not put them in the bcs championship game….it’s an unfair sham of a joke infested system.

LSU is next(for Florida)

September 29th, 2009
4:35 pm

Same reason UGA can’t play for the title, they are not good enough. The Bowl people want to see a game not a 49-10 blowout.

Disappointed Guy

September 29th, 2009
4:39 pm

Very sad that they let teams play at the I-A (FBS) level, yet do not give them a chance to win a championship. Why is it so difficult to get a true playoff system in place? I only hear a bunch of lame perspectives about the bowl system and student-athlete time. You can still have all the “fun” bowls and package up the championship bowls into a 16-team playoff. The student-athletes in the FCS and other divisions seem to survive and graduate.


September 29th, 2009
4:42 pm

hey Guys- what’s all the fuss over- I could have sworn UF won the National Championship in August. Didnt you hear? I know it was all over ESPN, CBSportsline, AJC. Seems like a moot point to be debating. ESPN is already covering the trophy presentation- they are just waiting for Urban to approve the time and place.


September 29th, 2009
4:45 pm

LSU is Next for God and Company…..no so much a God anymore? looked very human to me. better humble up Gators- as you see, it’s just a simple play away and your season is up in smoke.

Sugar Fly

September 29th, 2009
4:49 pm

No way in HELL Boise ST. gets in the BCS.


September 29th, 2009
4:52 pm

Much of the disagreement it seems from a misunderstanding of what college football is. College football, like any sport is a competition to determine who can defeat whom, give the rules of the game. It it common to celebrate and crown the best team in a given season. For all sports other than college football means the crown goes to the team that has defeated more foes than any other (sometimes quality win is included too see soccer). Standard playoff brackets are convenient binary structures that magically ensures that only one team can defeat more than all the others and makes the champion very clear. If the champion is crowned not from the number of defeats, then it isn’t a sporting competition and is simply entertainment like the national cheerleading competition or America’s got talent. What is the difference, in substance, from calling in votes on American Idol and the AP poll beyond the number of voters.

Denver Dog

September 29th, 2009
5:26 pm

m and others, the only problem with a 16 game playoff is that the ACC will not get a spot. The SEC should have at least 4 and the Big 12 also, BIg 10 3, Pac10 2, 1 to Notre Dame, and one for at large.

Even then, you are talking about a media darling show. Whichever teams show well in the media will get the bids. It is that simple.


September 29th, 2009
6:00 pm

No, you are absolutely correct.

However, I do wish the BCS would make a few changes. Namely,
1) Bring all six BSC conferences up to 12 teams, two divisions with a conference championship at the end of the year.
2) Limit the number of non-BCS teams played each year to one, or eliminate them all together.
3) Create a new Division for all the non BCS conferences (and teams that do not join a BCS conference including Notre Dame) and let them go play by themselves. They can have their playoff if they want and we won’t have to put up with their constant complaining.

WAC Stuck

September 29th, 2009
6:16 pm

Boise State lost to Oregon State & Georgia 2005, beat Oregon State 2006, beat Oklahoma 2006, lost to Washington 2007, beat Oregon 2008, lost to TCU (the darling of the non-AQs by many)by 1 point 2008, beat Oregon 2009. They have beat Fresno (known as the anywhere, anytime, any place giant killer) seven out of the last 8 meetings including 2009. Many you folks have talked about Boise getting up for only one game each year as an excuse to justify the beating of the big boys. Do you not believe that every mid-major team that Boise plays circles that game on their calendars and plays over their heads. Boise has had a target on its back for years. If it goes undefeated this year it will be four of the last six. Do they belong in the NC game? Probably not at this time. But don’t take anything away from them. They are a very good team. They could ruin a lot of the AQs undefeated seasons if given a chance.


September 29th, 2009
6:18 pm

Nope– you are not wrong. The mid-majors have to play up– or stay out.


September 29th, 2009
6:34 pm

If they are left out this year and run the table, win a BCS game against USC or whoever. What about next year Moore is only a Soph and this is a very young team that could start out next season in the top 5 and run the table again.

Well said.

September 29th, 2009
6:35 pm

You aren’t wrong at all. You’re the most right out of anyone probably on here. They don’t deserve ANYTHING. What if every team decided to go independent and schedule how BSU schedules? Should we make an extra 10 BCS games?

Boise State is exactly what their initials state…BS. They try to pad their record every year and play ONE team..most of the time NOBODY. But if they get that BCS conference team win..they feel they are entitled to the money from BCS games that BCS conference teams work so hard to generate.I’d say a 2 loss team in a top BCS conference deserves it more than BSU. We saw Texas beat UTEP..cool. Now they play real teams and have to get through a tough conference schedule. BSU doesn’t…they’re a joke.


September 29th, 2009
6:49 pm

The reason you are wrong is because your entire premise is based on THE POLLS. The Human Polls are so fallible it is laughable. Usually the “BIG BOYS” are right where they should be; however, we have learned this year in particular that the polls just don’t add up. OLE MISS is #4 one minute and drops like a stone the next, while USC also loses a close one a drops fewer spots. HUH? Too many programs are banking on “TRADITIONAL” currency. The are being given credit for the success of those that came before them. The problem with being a “TRADITIONAL POWER” is that it is translating in the polls, instead of the only thing that matters…wins and losses. Now I know some real small school doesn’t compare with the likes of Alabama or Florida for instance. But, too much weight is given to pre-season and early polls which is throwing the system out of whack! Maybe…just maybe in the event all have one loss except the Broncos; maybe they should get their shot. I mean Florida’s out of conference schedule looks like it was designed with the Broward County High School system in mind. Maybe a total shake up will get us to the six or eight team playoff all college football fans deserve.

[...] The BCS media is now only 4 weeks into the season and they are worried to death that a Top 5 ranked Boise State team could get into the Bogus BCS national title game, as Tony Barnhart proved with his column this morning:  Why Boise State can’t play for the BCS champi….  [...]

WAC Stuck

September 29th, 2009
7:10 pm

Utah and Boise have won 3 of the 4 BCS games they played in. Yes Boise beat Oklahoma in overtime, but they lead that game 28 to 10 well into the late 3rd quarter. Many of you folks can only discuss the one BCS game Hawaii got nailed and try to use some BS excuse as to why Alabama got nailed by Utah last year. Your arguments are extremely biased. I think Oklahoma has lost 4 of the last 5 BCS games. Does that mean they don’t belong in those games. If the big boys are really that superior, I’d suggest you start beating the non-AQs the big games from time to time.

SC Rules!!!

September 29th, 2009
7:25 pm


First and foremost until the BCS is replaced by some other format to determine the participants in the NC game all this “speculation” is jsut that nothing more. The SEC is clearly still the most dominant conference, the BIG12 is still trying to figure out how to play D (Except Texas) and the PAC-10 is closing ground on the SEC. The stakes are so HUGE $$$$ wise that we may NEVER get a reasonable format to determine the real champion, sadly. My prediction at the begining of the season and still holding to this day is TEXAS winning over FLA in Pasadena. Sadly, AGAIN my beloved Trojans shot themselves in the foot and can only wonder what might have been. The PAC-10 champion will continue to have to play spot on to get into the game vs an SEC team with one loss, but that is the way it is, not gonna cry about it.
Of much more concern today in Trojan land is the health of Stafon Johnson; he is still in crtitcal condition after the surgery on his throat. Will post more when known. I simply ask all SEC fans to pray for him as we would for one of y’all. Fight On!!


September 29th, 2009
7:38 pm

Tony, all rankings are waste of time and unrealistic, just ask every expert about his/her top 5 you will get different answer. if Boise play Georgia’s schedule they wont win more than 4 games. again what all this crap from the media why Oklahoma who lost to BYU at neutral site is #4 on many experts top 5 and Georgia is # 24, its unbelievable!!! South Carolina is # 5!! what the hell!!!why is Texas #2? because they beat very pathetic Texas Tech, oh come on!!!! when DID TexaS TECH BECOME A SOLID FOOTBALL TEAM!!! Penn state is ranked higher than Georgia?!!!!!! why why? they didnt play anybody and lost at home to unranked Iowa! what the hell. USC lost to Washington!!! and still # 7, gimme a break will ya? seriously a lot of Bull$hit is going on and smell really bad


September 29th, 2009
9:12 pm

Yeah. BSU could not beat Oregon last year. Then it was you can only win 1 in 10 games…now what is it?

BSU couldn’t beat OU in the Festa Bowl…Now, they probably couldn’t do it twice.

It’s always the same with fans and media from AQ conferences. It never changes. As soon as one hurdle is crosed (several times), another shows up.


September 29th, 2009
9:57 pm

what about a 1-loss ACC or Big East team? Should they get the nod over Boise St?

TB is and SEC homer. And since ABC and ESPN have paid $3B to show SEC games for the next 15 years, who out there thinks that’s going to change any time soon? I don’t know if TB has affiliations with those networks or not (forgive the insinuation if you don’t, Tony), but an awful lot of people voting in the polls do. And they have an investment to protect.

Until there is a playoff the non-BCS conf will get blocked out of the big game because the BCS (and specifically ND, SEC, Big12, and Big10) control the sports media, and that’s the way they want it.


September 29th, 2009
10:03 pm

If it weren’t for the current CFB ranking system, then we wouldn’t have these Cinderella stories to enjoy pissing and moaning about, would we? It is **so** cool that Boise State is out there, playing on their little smurf field and bragging about being giant killers. Thank God they don’t have to prove it, or the whole charade would very quickly just go up in smoke. Where would we be then? We’d be stuck with nothing to talk about except for the small percentage of games that really matter at the end of the season.

And it is the end of the season that really matters. All of the indignation about who got placed in the wrong slot in the polls in August is just dust in the wind by the time November rolls around. Ole Miss didn’t really deserve to be number 4, did they? And where are they now? Is LSU qualified to hold their current position simply because of their recent history? We’ll find out over the next few weeks. I promise you this: If they don’t belong, then they won’t remain. Complaining about early season polls is an exercise in futility. The polls change every week. It works out in the end. And the end is all that really matters.

Alabama came up from nowhere last year and they were ranked number 1 in the polls for about 5 weeks. But when they lost to Florida, it was over. Nothing to do at that point but wait for next year and try again. It’s a hard road to the National Championship. Boise State doesn’t travel on that road. I agree that it’s not fair. They shouldn’t be placed into a division in which they have no real shot at winning it all. They need their own division. But then they couldn’t be the makings of a Cinderella story, could they?


September 29th, 2009
10:09 pm


http://espn.go.com/college-football/rankings/_/year/2006 Take a look at the final 2006 rankings. Tell me the BCS isn’t screwed up. One undefeated team after all the bowl games. Boise State with it’s win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. And don’t give me the “…look how close the OK/BSU score was…Florida would have walked over Boise.” You know this for a fact how?

SOS is pure BS and a poor excuse to exclude any team! Every game has it’s own dynamics and games are played at different levels. My 2 cents on why the #4-LSU/unranked-MISS ST game was so close….. They play each other year in and year out. They get to know their opponents really well, and the same goes for WAC and any other conference games. Take a look at the #6-Cal/unranked-Oregon game. I guess Cal thought it would be a cake walk since Oregon lost to BSU on their opener. Look who’s laughing now….

A team can have the best players but if they don’t work together as a team you can be 0 and 12 at the end of the year. There are still 11 players on each side of the ball. Trash the polls, and lets have us a play off system. The bcs conferences have the “best” players, right? What do they have to lose? Oh wait $$$$.


September 29th, 2009
10:17 pm

If Boise is such a weak team and can’t play with the “Big Boys”, why is it that no one wants to play them in non-conference games? Some teams will (Virginia Tech in 2010) but ask them to come to Boise for a home and home……won’t do it, they are to scared of what will happen to them. Oregon, Oregon State, and BYU have tried, they failed.


September 29th, 2009
10:27 pm

Scott, Boise State played Georgia in 2005 and they got killed 48-13 and Georgia could have put 100 on them!!

[...] Why Boise State can’t play for the BCS championship | Mr. College Football [...]

King of gom jabbar

September 29th, 2009
10:33 pm


You must be a subject on my planet of gom jabbar cause you sure as hell don’t live on this planet. Where in the hell do you get the idea that nobody wants to schedule Boise? Its actually the other way around. Fresno schedules games left and right with bcs conference teams. Boise scheduled Georgia one year, got wallopped 49-14 and said “No sir, I don’t want anymore of that”


September 29th, 2009
10:50 pm

You Georgia fans crack me up, you want to go back 4 years to try to make a point, that game has no relevance to today, none, zero, nada. There are ZERO players on Boise today that were there playing in that game, heck, even the head coach has changed.
The very next year Boise won the Fiesta Bowl, what does that have to do with today? none, zero, nada, but the FB was only 3 years ago so it should have more relevance than a game that was 1.5 years before that.
The Boise team from 2006 that won the Fiesta Bowl had 5 players on it that are now playing on Sunday’s and several other players who got a look from the NFL as well as 3 that are on practice teams for the NFL…. and I am telling you that this years Boise team is bigger, faster, and stronger then the 06 team, and its the youngest team in the country with only 2 seniors on their 2 deep of 44 players, so we understand why you all are so afraid.