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.


Am I wrong?


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352 comments Add your comment


January 30th, 2010
2:07 am

I love how people talk of their soft schedule yet they still beat BCS ranked teams. Ha Ha denial isn’t it great?

Chill Dogg

September 2nd, 2010
4:20 pm

Some of the comments about the Utah-Alabama bowl game are a bit overblown. Alabama came out flat, after having lost the SEC championship game, and turned the ball over. When they got going, they cut the score to 21-17 in the early 3rd quarter. With 2 of their best offensive linemen out, Bama didn’t run as well as usual, and settled for a few long FG attempts, 2 of which were missed. Had they made a few more 1st downs on some of the 3rd and short plays, it would have been a lot closer and they might have pulled it out. BSU played very well, but it’s one thing preparing for a month for a game vs. playing 8 SEC teams throughout a season.