Sunday, October 17, 2010
Stranger than fiction
Boy, isn't everything just falling perfectly for the Boise State Broncos (and the TCU Horned Frogs)?
For purposes of not sounding redundant and annoying, for the duration of this article, anytime Boise St. is mentioned, an additional TCU mention is implied. Take one to mean both. The reason is TCU is in essentially the same position as Boise, except they would need Boise to lose to Nevada, and no one else in the country would be rooting for America's favorite heavily-favored underdog to go down like that.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece briefly touching on how daunting a task it would be for Boise St. to have a chance in the title game. Not only would they need to go undefeated, but they would need everyone above them AND everyone closely behind them to lose. We saw evidence of that necessity after week four when Boise put up a ridiculous 59-0 victory and was hopped by Oregon in the human polls. Well, the chips are falling, and it seems as though Chris Petersen is the one dropping them. The problem for the rest of the nation is he's more accurate than a Plinko contestant.
The first horse down was Texas. With both Oklahoma and Nebraska coming up, two top 10 opponents, Texas would have been primed to move into the top three, if only they hadn't lost the dreaded "looking ahead" game to UCLA. That dropped them from title contention, whether they beat Oklahoma the next week or not. Texas was out of Boise's picture.
In comes Florida, creeping up to number seven in the nation with a date at Alabama. A win would have assuredly bumped them ahead of the Broncos, yet they lost, badly. Urban Meyer's club took the news worse than expected, because they then lost twice more after that. It is the first time any Urban Meyer team has ever lost three games in a row. The first two was all Boise needed to check Florida off.
Two Pac-10 teams were making top 10 waves at the same time. Stanford was ranked 9th in the AP with a trip to Oregon. Much like Florida, a win on the road against a top five opponent would have most certainly had them jumping Chris Petersen's club. But, again like Florida, they lost, badly. The Pac-10 still had hope in the form of an Arizona club with a number of tough opponents left to bulk up their computer rankings. Unfortunately, they couldn't get past unranked Oregon State. There were two more teams for Boise to check off its list.
We know what happened after that. Number one Alabama went down. This was a dream come true, and could not have been timed any better with the BCS rankings coming out the following week, Boise would almost be guaranteed a top two computer ranking right out of the gate.
But the good news wasn't over. Just yesterday, a day before the first BCS rankings of the year are released, number one falls again, this time Ohio State. But there's more! Also falling from the ranks of the unbeatens was number five Nebraska. Two more title contenders fall and Boise could not be happier.
So here we stand, half way through the college football season. Boise St. is 6-0 with six wins remaining. I say six wins because that part of the equation is implied. For Boise to reach the National Championship, they must win out, obviously. But that was always the easy part. The rest of the picture is unfolding so nicely, Broncos fans must think it is meant to be.
Oregon still remains ahead of Boise St. in both the human polls, yet Boise doesn't need to end the season number one overall, just in the top two. So we are fine with that. The teams behind Boise with blood lust and title hopes are slim. Auburn, LSU, and Oklahoma are the only remaining foes in the way of an unprecedented title run.
Yet Chris Petersen lucked out again, if you can believe it. Next week, Auburn plays LSU. One will lose. There is no getting around that. In my opinion, Auburn is the better team. But it doesn't really matter which one pulls out the victory, Both also still have Alabama on their schedule. The problem is if either wins out they will pass Boise St. faster than you realizing the Idaho turf is supposed to be that color and it's not your television contrast. But still, the optimist points out, between the two SEC clubs, there is only one to worry about. We will find out which one it is next week.
Oklahoma wraps up the list. They have a couple more ranked opponents on their schedule but are going to be favored to win each game. The Sooners are the team Boise St. fans must worry the most about. Even though this is not one of Bob Stoops' better clubs, they will still pass Boise over with an undefeated campaign.
Some of you may bring up MSU. Michigan State is highly ranked and still undefeated, yet with only one more ranked opponent on their schedule and no match-up against Ohio State, they won't have enough to hop an also-undefeated Broncos team. They don't make the list.
So there you have it. A few weeks back, it looked more than daunting. It looked unimaginable. Boise State making the championship game was so unlikely I passed it off as a pipe dream. Yet here we are. Two number ones have gone down. A handful of other top ten teams fell as well. With six games remaining, only three teams stand in the way of a Non-BCS conference team breaking into the BCS' crown club. I guess that is what America will be rooting for: an Oregon, Oklahoma loss or for the Auburn - LSU winner to fall at the hands of Alabama. Then we will have our favorite underdog in the limelight...
...but wouldn't an Oregon - Auburn title game be awesome to watch?
(Image taken from replayphotos.com)