Thursday, November 4, 2010

Boise State: Humanitarian-Bound

For Boise State, it had been a very bad week. So bad, that the Broncos now seem destined to be home for the holidays.

Despite a comfortable victory over Louisiana Tech last Tuesday, the Broncos dropped once again in the two polls that account for two-thirds of the BCS standings. And because of that, they're now No. 4 in the standings, being leapfrogged by their non-AQ competitor TCU.

What that means is: Never mind the BCS title game. A BCS bowl berth - at the Rose Bowl, no less - is slipping out of their clutch. If the season ended today, the Broncos would be consigned to play on their home blue turf, in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Oops, excuse me, the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl.

This isn't some kind of scare-mongering sensationalism, but the sad truth in the strange machinations of the BCS. OK, the Broncos probably will end up in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (my friend Doug Kelly's wet dream), but now we're splitting hairs.

Here's how everything would go down:

* Oregon would play Auburn in the BCS title game by virtue of being Nos. 1 and 2 in the BCS standings.

* TCU would play the Big Ten champ in the Rose Bowl, which is contractually obligated to take the non-AQ qualifier should it loses the Big Ten or Pac-10 representative to the title game.

* The Sugar Bowl, having the next two picks, would take the best SEC team available, in this case Alabama. And this is where it gets interesting. It could take Boise State, but after the Tide's humiliation at the hands of Utah two years ago, and having had two non-AQ teams there the last three years, the Sugar Bowl will opt for the Big Ten runner-up instead (either Wisconsin or Ohio State, or Iowa, after the Rose Bowl plucks the champ). It gets a game with two traditional powers, with the expectation that the SEC team would rout another Big Ten opponent.

* The Orange Bowl, up next, has the ACC champ. With its historical ties to the old Big Eight, it would grab either Nebraska or Oklahoma, whichever doesn't win the Big 12 title.

*Finally, the Fiesta Bowl would be stuck with the Big 12 champ and the Big East champ, be it Pitt, Syracuse or whichever team comes out a conference that currently does not have a single team in the BCS top 25.

That's it. Virginia Tech, a team that Boise State beat in a virtual road game to open the season, most likely will be in a BCS bowl, representing the ACC. The Big East is guaranteed a spot as well, even though it's being outnumbered, 4-0, in the current BCS top 25 by WAC and Mountain West teams.

And Boise State, potentially with a 12-0 record and a No. 4 ranking in the BCS standings, will be shut out of a BCS bowl and get a MAC team (not even the champion) in its home stadium. Or play the day before the BCS title game, on the field of a baseball stadium, even if it belongs to the newly minted World Series champ ... (ugh, those words shouldn't go together).

Oh, the indignity.

The pivot here really is the Sugar Bowl. If it opts for the aforementioned SEC-Big Ten matchup, as is probable, then Boise would be locked out. The Orange Bowl, which has had nothing but crummy games of late, won't even think about picking Boise State. And the Fiesta Bowl won't have a choice but to take a potentially 4-loss Big East winner.

Falling to 4th behind TCU is what gets Boise State in this predicament, and the likelihood, going forward, of the Broncos jumping back over TCU is remote, and here's why:

* The Broncos do not have a single game left that will give them a boost in the polls, not even Nevada, which is currently No. 23 in the BCS standings. TCU, on the other hand, will gain additional poll points if it defeats unbeaten Utah this week.

* With the poll gap shrinking further, Boise's computer deficit will be the decisive factor in keeping the Horned Frogs ahead in the standings.

So all Boise State has left, besides winning its remaining games, is hope for change, because the status quo won't do (hmmm, I need to get the election out of my head). Basically, the Broncos need these scenarios to develop:

* A TCU loss, to Utah this weekend or to a resurgent San Diego State next week. The Frogs' only remaining game after that is a laugher at New Mexico, which they might win by 70 (Oregon beat the Lobos, 72-0).

* An Alabama loss to LSU this weekend or to Mississippi State next week. And then an Alabama win over Auburn in the Iron Bowl. The loss knocks Alabama out of the BCS title race, the win over Auburn eliminates the SEC entirely from the title-game picture.

* An Oregon loss to either Arizona or Oregon State in its final two games of the season.

Should two of the scenarios occur, then the Broncos are back in contention for the BCS title game. Should only one of them take place, they'll have the Rose Bowl (not a bad consolation prize, all things considered). If Oregon, TCU and either Alabama or Auburn win out, then the Broncos would be effectively boxed out.

The next two weeks will prove crucial to the Broncos - particularly this Saturday. Maybe they should put the Alabama and TCU games on a split screen when they host Hawaii this weekend, as all three games will take place simultaneously. Whatever happens on the blue turf will have far less impact on the Broncos than the ones they're not playing in.

26 comments:

Bob said...

Say Utah beats TCU, and wins out. What are the chances Utah goes to the Rise bowl and enters the PAC 12 as the Rose Bowl Champions? That is what I, as a Utah fan, have been hoping for since the PAC 10 acquiring Utah announcement Utah still will play San Diego and Notre Dame, besides their may-not-even-get-bowl-eligible in state rival.

Nick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Underdog Rally said...

I've actually been wondering about this point. This comes down to some critical wording in BCS selection provisions 5 and 6.


From ESPN's BCS website:
"If any of the 10 slots remain open after application of provisions 1 through 5, and if no team qualifies under paragraph No. 5 and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 4 in the final BCS Standings, that team will become an automatic qualifier provided that no at-large team from the same conference qualifies for the national championship game."

Basically, the two provisions are designed to ensure that the #3 and #4 teams make it in (in practice, it's usually the top 5)... EXCEPT if one of those teams is non-AQ (which I guess would be part of the definition of "auto-qualifying"). Would this be the first time that a #4 team is left out? I'm actually pretty impressed the the BCS business arrangement had the foresight to make the provisions that specific! It's not an outcome I would have guessed at 10 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Guru

Your post really addressed everything that is so wrong with the bcs.. the conference tie in...if the 5 bcs bowls simply took teams 1 thru 10. Fine... but when you have an unranked big east team and a 23 vt team in....look for a new call for hearings..

Notice I haven,t gotten into a debate on Boise versus auburn etc...but the bcs with its aqs and conference ties ....crazy...

Anonymous said...

Wrong: ".....the win over Auburn eliminates the SEC entirely from the title-game picture." This is incorrect because Auburn could still win the SEC championship and be a one loss SEC champion. Most pundits think that a 1 loss SEC (such as Bama) will go over Boise State.

Anonymous said...

What happens if Oregon loses (or Auburn) and leaves Boise State #2, TCU #3 in both polls? Would the BCS computers then lift #3 TCU over #2 Boise State if the voting remains close?

Match34 said...

Really? "It gets a game with two traditional powers, with the expectation that the SEC team would rout another Big Ten opponent."???

You can take a flying leap, BCS Gaywad.

Anonymous said...

"It gets a game with two traditional powers, with the expectation that the SEC team would rout another Big Ten opponent."

You might want to check out the bowl record of the SEC vs. Big 10 over the last five or six years and delete that comment.

Anonymous said...

If this does come about then I hope 10,000,000 college football fans march on the US Capital and demand the end of the BSC.

Anonymous said...

"Wrong: ".....the win over Auburn eliminates the SEC entirely from the title-game picture." This is incorrect because Auburn could still win the SEC championship and be a one loss SEC champion. Most pundits think that a 1 loss SEC (such as Bama) will go over Boise State. "

Wrong. If Bama beats Auburn, Bama goes to the title game, as virtue being undefeated in the western conference, same number of conference losses, and the head to head tie breaker.

Basically, the winner of the Iron Bowl plays in the SEC championship game against South Carolina.

Anonymous said...

So no one cares that an un ranked big east team gets into a bcs bowl game and potentially a Boise st team doesn't

CuseFanInSoCal said...

I'd care about Boise getting left out if the BCS were playoffs, and I care that there are not playoffs, but do I care that Boise gets left out of a high-dollar entertainment event surrounding an essentially meaningless football game? Not really.

tyamdaly said...

Yea, right. They are a solid number 4 in BCS standings right now. If Auburn would get beat by Alabama in the "Iron Bowl" then they are probably number 3. The Big 12 and Big 10 are done. And I repeat Done. SEC only has LSU left, then there is Oregon, TCU, and Boise St.

Anonymous said...

wait, someone explain how Oklahoma State/Ohio State get in over Stanford? that doesn't make any sense, Stanford's only loss was to Oregon and they are in a power conference, they should be first of the at-larges not named LSU to get in

Anonymous said...

Please schedule four decent out of conference games ... then people just may want to correct a situation where BSU goes undefeated. Scheduling Toledo and Wyoming is laughable.

And please don't tell me that no one wants to play BSU. They do, BSU has learned how to schedule Oregon, OSU, Washington, now Michigan State. Other conference brethren have also learned how to do it as well.

BSU chooses to play Toledo and Wyoming. By doing that, they choose to put themselves in this predicament.

Anonymous said...

"BSU chooses to play Toledo and Wyoming. By doing that, they choose to put themselves in this predicament." I guess you weren't following college football back a year ago when the reports came out about how Boise State's athletic director was being turned down by BCS conference teams left and right when he was trying to schedule games. They do not choose to play Wyoming and Toledo. They would love to add Florida or Alabama to the schedule but those teams have zero incentive to agree to play Boise State. The fantasy world that you think exists is really nice though. Where teams can just choose exactly who they want to play and they don't need to opposing team to agree or anything like that.

Anonymous said...

Who's living in the fantasy world? The truth is Boise St and those supporting their agenda want you to believe other teams simply won't schedule them. What Boise St does, though, is demand home/home and exhorbitant amounts of money.

If they were really interested, why try to squeeze Nebraska for $900K to play @ Nebraska? Does Boise St. demand $900K from Toledo? No wonder other teams won't agree to play them.

I don't think BSU wants to play Nebraska, or any other major conference traditional power team. They just want to set the price tag so high they can CLAIM no one will schedule them.

Anonymous said...

900k is not an exorbitantly high payout for a BCS team.

Keep up with your elitist "They'd lose cause I say so!" attitude.

WAREAGLE said...

'' "Wrong: ".....the win over Auburn eliminates the SEC entirely from the title-game picture." This is incorrect because Auburn could still win the SEC championship and be a one loss SEC champion. Most pundits think that a 1 loss SEC (such as Bama) will go over Boise State. "

Wrong. If Bama beats Auburn, Bama goes to the title game, as virtue being undefeated in the western conference, same number of conference losses, and the head to head tie breaker.

Basically, the winner of the Iron Bowl plays in the SEC championship game against South Carolina.'' ''

ALL WRONG. AUBURN ONLY HAS TO BEAT UGA, THEN THEY CAN LOSE THE IRON BOWL AND STILL WIN SEC CHAMPIONSHIP SINCE BAMA LOST TO LSU. BAMA IS BOXED OUT OF SECCG IF AU BEATS UGA. AGAIN AUBURN CAN LOSE TO BAMA AND STILL BAMA CAN'T GO TO SECCG IF AU BEATS UGA. GET IT STRAIGHT.

Anonymous said...

What if Oregon plays TCU in the BCS title game.

Does Boise State get the Rose Bowl? The wording isn't clear. The Rose Bowl will take the non-AQ conference automatic qualifier if available. That would be TCU, who wouldn't be available since they're in the title game. Does Boise State count as a non-AQ AQ if they're the #2 non-AQ team?

The Guru said...

Re: The last note - The Rose Bowl is not obligated to take an at-large team, so that scenario, count on Stanford to replace Oregon in Pasadena. More - much more - on that in the next post.

Anonymous said...

I'm still laughing that a team returning 21 starters with a win over the likely ACC Champ and straight owning everyone...who ended last year beating TCU is gonna be left out.

Anonymous said...

This is why these little conferences need to shut up. Boise loses to Nevada (who is a good team) and TCU barely beats SDSU. They are not playing the high caliber competition week in week out like the SEC, Big Ten, etc... TCU has no business making the big game this year. Their schedule is a joke.

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy the BSU BS is gone forever. Best team in the country? Eat your words "guru"! Oh man, if only Oregon would lose and AU would play TCU -- how wonderful. SEC...SEC...SEC!!!

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