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Friday, November 5, 2010

Broncos--Buster, or busted?

I'm writing this in direct response to my boy B. Joyce of Big Blue Homer. In this post, he claims that an undefeated Boise State is still less deserving of a berth in the national championship game than a one loss team--Alabama--who plays in the Strongest Ever Conference. I respectfully disagree. And here's why.

First off, let me lay out the methodology here: I'm doing just what Brian did and laying this out at Boise State vs. Alabama. In other words, if one national championship spot is sewn up--let's say, for the sake of argument, by Oregon--who deserves the second, an undefeated Boise State, or a Bama squad with one loss? If I had a vote to cast, it would be with Boise State.

Yes, the SEC is better than the WAC. Yes, Bama plays a far superior schedule. But X-0  > X-1. And once you've lost a game, you have no unalienable right to play for a national championship, not when there are undefeated teams still around. Proponents of the BCS will without fail parrot the following platitudes: Every game matters! The entire season is exciting! Who needs a playoff? The whole season is a playoff! It is for that very rationale, the tenet upon which a flawed system is based, that an undefeated Boise State MUST go to the MNC game over a one-loss Bama. You can't tout the all-season playoff nature of the system without then accepting that same reality when it could stand to harm one of your blue bloods.

While I know all teams are supposed to be judged on the merit of the year at hand, that simply isn't the case in college football. A team's performance in previous years factors into their rankings and thus their potential aptitude in any given year. The Boise State Broncos are in the middle of their third consecutive undefeated regular season. This has warranted a preseason top 3/top 5 ranking, the latter of which is in the Coaches Poll, a factor in the BCS. What's more, each of the teams ahead of them in each poll has lost. This inertia should mean something, as it has for every other team in that position. That it should not happen for Boise State--after not just one but multiple successful seasons--is indicative of the glass ceiling that non-AQs face. If this continued excellence can't earn them a spot in the title game, what can?

Finally--and I hate that the system we have forces me to do this--but if Boise State were in certain other conferences, we wouldn't be having this conversation. I am an alumnus of a Big East program, and I love the conference for as long as they are my conference (or are a conference...). But the fact of the matter is, if this were an undefeated Big East school, there'd be some scuttlebutt, but not nearly as much, and quite frankly, you'd have to work pretty hard to convince me that this year's iteration of the Big East is qualitatively better than the WAC. And while we're focusing on Boise State, I'd remind folks that fellow non-AQ (and hopefully future Big East member *ahem*) TCU is sitting pretty high in the polls as well, and quite frankly would be even more deserving of the spot should they remain undefeated.

Boise State has defeated all comers for years,  scheduled as tough as is within their power (I'd love to see the power schools that have ducked them) and done everything possible to earn a spot in the MNC game, should they be the only or one of only two undefeated schools. What more do you want?
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