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


September 29th, 2009
6:20 am


September 29th, 2009
6:25 am

KC in Athens

September 29th, 2009
6:28 am

Boise deserves a shot in a playoff system just like everyone else. It’s a shame they won’t get an opportunity because this game isn’t about what you do, it’s about how good you look doing it.
Honestly, I should become an NFL fan because no one worries about how bad someone got blown out. Or whether or not a win was a stupid “quality win” I swear to God if I hear that phrase again I’ll probably lose it. It’s win or lose and that’s it in the NFL.
Now, everyone pretty much assumes Florida will go all the way. And they might. But we all know that most likely there are several teams in the country just as good if not better than Florida. We all know those teams will be trumped by Florida in the polls if they post a similar record.
The college football system makes me sick, and even moreso when the sportswriters who vote in the polls gleefully play along with a system they know rarely produces a legitimate champion, which is supposed to be the best team in the nation.

KC in Athens

September 29th, 2009
6:30 am

And after all that, a 13-0 Boise team probably isn’t a national championship caliber team. It just sucks the world will never know.

Tom M

September 29th, 2009
6:37 am

You are so right sir. I said it many times before and will say it many times later- Boise is a nice story, but in the long term of things they couldn’t hang with the big boys ALL season if they tried. It’s one thing to beat a team with over a month of planning (Utah over Bama, Boise over Oklahoma, Boise over Oregon)- but I highly doubt if they had to play week in and week out any of the 5 real conferences [Big East is a joke] they’d do well, but not get through without 2-3 losses each year. Hell throw Vandy into their schedule and they may only drop 1 game, if that. TCU or Houston play a much harder schedule…


September 29th, 2009
6:39 am

Without a playoff the media and coaches must guess the best teams. But to say Boise State isn’t the best because they play a weak schedule is a logical error. What you can say is that we don’t know that Boise State is the best, because they only had one hard test. So your conclusion, they are not playing the same level of football doesn’t come from the arguments you posit. Utah last year should have been in the the NC game, they may have been the best team in the nation. Boise State may be able to beat Florida or Texas this year.


September 29th, 2009
6:46 am

If Boise State played SEC teams week in and week out, then they would be in the SEC or at least a BCS conference and would have a share of the disproportionate wealth that big conferences so stringently protects, and would be able to recruit more 5 star recruits. So given the incredible success and quality Boise State is able to produce on a tiny budget and 3 star athletes, I strongly suspect if they were playing the big boys every week, they would be as dominate with the bigger budget and better athletes that would follow.


September 29th, 2009
6:46 am

Boise State is a slave to their conference. They cannot get into the Pac-10 or Mountain West, so all they can do is win the games they do have. It is just a shame that the system is designed to prevent them from winning a national championship. The current system is antiquated. The gap between the biggest and best teams and the mid majors is closing. Utah absolutely dominated Alabama last year and Alabama was #1 for a good portion of the season. A 8-team playoff a the end of the year would do a great deal for college football.

Top Dawg

September 29th, 2009
6:48 am

You are correct, TB.


September 29th, 2009
6:51 am

I understand your point but what about Cinn. or south fla. if one of these teams go undeafeated would they get over looked by a 1 loss team. It has never happened where a 1 loss team gets in the BCS title game over a undeafeated BCS conference team.

Sautee Dawg

September 29th, 2009
6:55 am

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. As far as strength of schedule where does Boise St. rank in that category? Around 60, out of 119 teams? no way should they even be mentioned into the equatuion. Boise St. getting into the BCS game would be about as unfair as was LSU getting in with 2 losses a few years ago.

Karl Childers

September 29th, 2009
6:58 am

Enter your comments here

Tony, you may be right about what will happen but it’s not what should happen. Utah was the best bowl team I saw last season and after beating the tar out of Alabama they should have been given serious consideration for AP champion. An undefeated team from a BCS conference should play for the title otherwise they should go back to the old bowl system.


September 29th, 2009
7:00 am

boise state needs to schedule tougher teams and that includes playing in the big boys conference.


September 29th, 2009
7:02 am

Quite frankly, who cares who plays for the so called NC! It’s nothing more than a beauty contest among college football teams. Nothing more!

Tuesday morning buffet « Get The Picture

September 29th, 2009
7:11 am

[...] Barnhart says the schedule will do in Boise State’s national title chances.  I agree that it should, but still think [...]


September 29th, 2009
7:11 am

You are very wrong.

BCS Joke

September 29th, 2009
7:19 am

I might as well proclaim myself the national champion. College football rankings are a joke. There is No national champion. Fans need to stop recognizing the polls. Utah has every right to put up a banner in their stadium that says they are the 2008 National Champs. I voted in a poll the other day that Cris Arreola would beat Vitali Klitschko in a boxing match. They fought the fight and Vitali won. Under BCS-Bowl game logic, the fight was meaningless and the polls decide the championship. So Cris could still become champ even though he lost in the illogical world of college football.


September 29th, 2009
7:23 am


September 29th, 2009
7:25 am

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

You make me laugh. Did you look at the first Harris poll, which supposedly does not reflect the pre-season assumptions of the Coaches (and the meaningless AP) and supposedly represents a fresh view of the teams after week 4? The top 7 teams are identical, the Harris 8 is 9 in the other polls and vice versa and the exact same 25 teams are in the Harris and Coaches polls. AP has Tech instead of Missouri at 25, otherwise they have the same other 24 teams as Harris.

You think Harris Poll voters “did their homework” to arrive at this? They came up with LSU as the 4th-best team and Auburn unranked by ignoring pre-season expectations and studying the body of work so far?

I don’t think Boise will make the title game, and it’ll be because the human pollsters decide in lock-step that they don’t deserve to be there. But to say this will be a result of some deep analysis by the 170 or so people who decide such things is an absolute joke. ESPN opinion will shape the AP and Coaches/SIDs poll and the Harris will crib off of that.


September 29th, 2009
7:26 am

On one hand, I hope you are right since they would not deserve it. There are probably 20 or 25 teams at least that could go undefeated with that schedule. On the other hand, the BCS system is so screwed up, maybe having Boise slip into the NCG would be the disaster needed to force change…since interest and ratings would be microscopic..can you imagine if it was Texas vs. Boise St…the spread would be 30 pts. .no one wants that..

And no knowledgeaqble college football fan can make a case for Boise; undefeated doesnt mean anything if you havent played anyone.


September 29th, 2009
7:37 am

Everyone: here is this weeks schedule of activities relating to the injury of Tim “Godlike” Tebow.

*ESPN cancels all college football games this week. Kirk Herbowstreet unable to function due to distress. He will be staying at the Tebow family home.
* ESPN will replace college football games this week with highlights of Tim Tebow’s High Scool games.
* Larry King Live:
Tuesday- Tim Tebows High School Coach
Wednesday- Tim Tebows high school girlfriend and her family
Thursday- Tim Tebow doctor
Friday- Urban Meyer- live from the bedside of Tim Tebow
*Thursday- President Obama hold a press conference from the rose garden with Tebow Family
Flags will be flown at half mast until UF plays their next game
College Gameday will be held from the Tebow Home a week from Sat when they resume broadcasting games.
Kurt Herbowstreet to join Christine Amourpour for a special CNN Presnets: Tim Tebow- the greatest ever.


September 29th, 2009
7:40 am

Would Houston or TCU have better credentials? Yes.

Would they have a better argument than Boise State? Yes.

Are they better than Boise State? No.

Would they create more interest than Boise State? No.

Boise State has a crappy schedule, but I think they could compete in any BCS conference if given the chance.

War Eagle

September 29th, 2009
7:41 am

LMAO…can we add Tim Tebow National Holiday. LMAO


September 29th, 2009
7:42 am

Of course you are right Tony. Of course you will be attacked by fans of programs which don’t have a shot at the title. Allowing Boise State to play in the BCS Championship would be tantamount to allowing a welterweight into a heavyweight boxing match.

That said, I wouldn’t have a problem with Alabama playing Boise State in Pasadena. The whiners will whine no matter what happens and Bama would still own the NC trophy. But, first things first — the Tide has to run the gauntlet of the SEC before they can talk about National Championship dreams. Boise State doesn’t have to do that.


September 29th, 2009
7:48 am

Yes, you’re wrong. Miss St- a quality win? Please. Boise deserve a shot if they are ranked in the top two, which they probably will be at season’s end. They are already #2 in Sagarin’s computer ratings. It’s going to happen and you know it which is why you’re already panicing in September! Look for a Boise State vs Texas matchup in the national title game.


September 29th, 2009
7:52 am

I would love it if Boise got in the BsCS national championship game. Then the playoff cry will get even louder.


September 29th, 2009
7:57 am

Yes you are wrong.

Their schedule looks like some of the sec schedules…so what is the big deal?

Is your memory so short? Do you remember Utah stomping a mudhole in alabammer in the mecca of the sec…the Sugar Bowl???

We need to get your sorry opinion out of football….and everyone else’s sorry opinion out of it too.

Boise St. should be included just like anyone elxe.

We need to get rid of this sorry low down BSbcs…it is an abomination.

We need a 16 team playoff…based on conference champions and at large teams chosen by computers only….NO HUMAN OPINIONS allowed…expecially complete tools like Tony Barnyard.

The current system sucks so bad..Tony why can’t you just be honest and admit it????????????????

Gen Neyland

September 29th, 2009
8:15 am

Bearcats and Broncos in the BCSNCG..! Hey, they both took down Fresno ST and if Cincinnati gets by the USF team that waxed FSU, ladies and gentlemen, who needs Florida-Oklahoma or Alabama-Texas NCG’s..?


September 29th, 2009
8:19 am

I was going to comment on your opinion about Boise State’s qualifications for a place in the National Championship game, but….after reading some of the inane comments posted by some of these nitwits, any intelligent discourse would be a serious waste of time and space.

But on the other hand…..what the hell, NO ! BSU’s schedule is just that – Bull$#!+ Underscored.

Paul Dietzel

September 29th, 2009
8:20 am

“You can learn more character on the two-yard line than anywhere else in life.”


September 29th, 2009
8:20 am

Hey Brucedawg, do you have the time listings for those programs? I need to set my tevo for the dawg trainer Tebow! Sorry Tony, Boise St.’s presence and record, coupled with what teams like Utah, over the past few years have made a mockery out of this system. Nothing short of at least an eight team playoff will settle this tired old arguement. Haven’t you heard of the phrase, ” that’s why they play the games” .


September 29th, 2009
8:24 am

TB; I totally agree.

BTW, all of you “playoff” fans: a “playoff” allowed a multi-loss, wild-card NY Giants team to beat a 17-0 Pats team (who had already beaten the Gmen in the regular season) in the Super Bowl and lay claim to the championship of the NFL. Anyone really think the Giants were the best team in the NFL that year? Just got hot at the right time. Playoffs are often no better at determining the “BEST” team than polls.


September 29th, 2009
8:25 am

Tony, I agree with you there is no way in hell that a Boise could ever in the history of college football hang with say an Oklahoma?


September 29th, 2009
8:31 am

Hey Secondguesser- last time I checked- Tebow is 1-1 against UGA.

and another thing

September 29th, 2009
8:32 am

the real travisty is an ncaa system that does not allow a team like boise to move up to better competition. they proved that they will never not dominate the wac. the pac ten should be forced to expand or drop a hanger-on team like washington state.


September 29th, 2009
8:33 am

And the big boys probably won’t schedule Boise either, dammit. Who was the genius that brought football to Idaho anyway?

Tony, the more I write Idaho I am now missing those has browns from Waffle House. Thanks.


September 29th, 2009
8:34 am

To “Mike” – Saying Boise is “already #2 in Sagarin ratings” shows you have no idea what you are talking about. The are CURRENTLY #2 in Sagarin because their schedule TO THIS POINT looks good relative to other teams. They will drop like a stone in computer rankings once the big conferences get deeper into conference play and Boise starts piling up the wins over Cal-Davis and the like. The computers will recognize this; the question is whether the humans will.


September 29th, 2009
8:36 am

Agreed, Tony.

Boise knows that they are going to face this criticism every year, so they should be proactive in loading their schedule up with some competition. Maybe start another season off in Athens? UGA’s 3rd string QB could use the work, and that would take care of this debate from the start.

Fla Tide

September 29th, 2009
8:37 am


September 29th, 2009
8:38 am

One of the problems with Boise’s schedule is that many of the “BCS” teams don’t want to play them. We’ve seen in the past that Boise will travel down here to play if given a chance. Thank God they’re not playing GA this year cause this Petterson coached team is a hell of a lot better than the one that came a few years ago. I think they have every right to play in the big game if they’re undefeated and everyone else has a loss.

@ Ed-Covington

September 29th, 2009
8:39 am

At least it was settled on the field. Not by pollsters, not by computers. It doesn’t matter who is hot and who is not — it’s win or go home, and if a team can’t get up for that they deserve the latter.

Tom, Resident Georgia Fan

September 29th, 2009
8:41 am

Boise just needs to go away until it schedules tougher teams.


September 29th, 2009
8:41 am

Your right, but a FLA, UGA, Va Tech, Alabama, or Miami needs to travel to Idaho and beat them by 30 point on their home field. Then this nonsense with the WAC and MAC will end.

No BcS

September 29th, 2009
8:43 am

Why not give Boise St a chance to prove themselves? Everyone says they should play a tougher schedule….well, why isn’t YOUR team playing them hmmmmmm? Playoff, playoff, playoff, playoff. No BcS.


September 29th, 2009
8:44 am

Wrong whiners!!! Boise State made their bed with what has to be the softest schedule in the nation! They want national respect and not just from the few liberal sissies on here, they better start manning up and playing more than one decent team a year. I worry about those of you who look at their schedule and then complain they are getting the short end of the stick. The weaker conferences would improve their recruiting, dollars, exposure, respect, etc if they stepped out and played stiffer competition win or lose, especially if they were to win a few. 12 of 13 games against teams in the bottom half of the country…..jeez, Duke would be a powerhouse for crying out loud


September 29th, 2009
8:45 am

UGA’s obsession with Tebow and UF > GT’s obsession with UGA


September 29th, 2009
8:46 am

Yes sir Mr. Barnhardt


September 29th, 2009
8:48 am

GetOverit…no UGA does not have an obsession with Tebow or UF- ESPN does- hence the coverage on Sat when he went down. Even UF people said it was a bit much. He is a football player like any other 18-20 year old. He is not God. Maybe this was a omen for those people that thought so.


September 29th, 2009
8:49 am

Who knew Tebow was human. Turns out he’s the Michael Jackson of college football. Sure, he has some talent, but he’s not invincable. Since his little injury, it seems that he’s more of a media circus than anything else. Football is a very physical and violent game. People get hurt. BFD! Boise State…not worth the discussion. The polls are a joke. Miss St actually scored on that first and goal play at the end of the game. The refs missed that call big time. And LSU moved UP in the polls. It’s disgusting.


September 29th, 2009
8:50 am

My GT friends tell me they play on a blue field. That’s reason enough.

Will give them credit though. How do you recruit athletes to Boise Idaho?

Remember when they came to Athens a few years ago and all of the ESPN gurus were calling for an upset. When they ran out of the tunnel I thought it was a high school squad. It was over before I poured my first Beam & Coke.