Does Boise State really have a shot at playing for the BCS national championship? That $18 million question has to be answered in the affirmative: Just look at the preseason BCS standings, as simulated by the Guru.
The Broncos check in at No. 5, behind Alabama, Ohio State, Florida and Texas (in that order). It's significantly different from 2009, when Boise State opened the season No. 15 in the Guru's simulated preseason standings, and was shut out of the title game despite an undefeated regular season.
Granted, another unbeaten run does not guarantee anything for the Broncos, who nevertheless need lots of help. But in the event that Boise State is the only undefeated team, it's nearly assured to gain a spot to play for the title in the University of Phoenix Stadium at the end of the season.
Being highly ranked in the preseason poll makes a difference. While the Guru used the AP poll to simulate the standings, we already know that the Harris poll more or less ape both the media and coaches polls when it's first released in October. Opening the season high in the polls diminishes the chances of a team getting jumped and forces the teams ahead of it to be dumped behind after a loss.
Nearly the same scenario exists for No. 6 TCU, which actually has an easier schedule than Boise State, with just one opponent ranked in the preseason polls (Oregon State). Should the Frogs run the table and no BCS conference team stays undefeated, they could end up playing for the title in Glendale, too.
Yes, it's possible that a Boise State-TCU rematch in the desert is in the cards. And this time, it'd be for all the marbles.
The Guru's Simulated 2010 Preseason BCS Standings
(Click Here for full spreadsheet version, with every team included)
2. Ohio State
5. Boise State
8. Virginia Tech
12. Miami (Fla.)
14. Penn State
16. Georgia Tech
19. USC *
20. North Carolina
21. Florida State
24. Oregon State
* USC is not eligible to be ranked in the coaches poll because of NCAA sanctions