The Boise State Broncos started the season off with a loss to the Michigan State Spartans. That originally looked like it was the nail in the Bronco's BCS coffin before the coffin even got built.
The great news for the Broncos is that the Big Ten imploded over the next few weeks, the top five teams in the nation went from shuffling to spiraling downward so far that Boise had no other option except to return to the Top 25.
Now that Boise's in, all the Broncos have to do is keep winning. They've already risen to No. 19 in the BCS Standings, and the cutoff for the BCS bowls is at No. 16.
Boise has at least five teams ahead of them who could easily drop a game and help the Broncos get into a major bowl. Here are the major events that have to come together in order for Boise State to see the postseason in 2012. (Oddly enough, the last two years would have been perfect opportunities for the selection committee to put the Broncos in a BCS bowl.)
Texas Tech, USC, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Stanford, Clemson, Oklahoma and Oregon State are all between Boise and the BCS top 10. Louisville is at the No. 10 spot, and a loss for them isn't out of the question there, either.
Any team inside the top 10 would most likely have to lose two games to drop below Boise State, so we will avoid discussing those possibilities. They get a little ridiculous if you start calling for Florida to lose to Florida State and a non-AQ-conference team.
The most obvious factor is Boise State's performance. The Broncos absolutely must win all of their remaining games to get into the BCS picture.
Texas Tech can conceivably lose to either Texas, Oklahoma State or Baylor. Any one of those losses would put the Red Raiders below the Broncos. Just like that, Boise is at No. 18.
USC will lose at least one of the potential two games against the Oregon Ducks, unless we are all mistaken about the Ducks' abilities on the field. That loss will push USC below the Broncos. Boise State now stands at No. 17.
Texas A&M has been doing well in the SEC, but there are tough games left for the Aggies. They face Mississippi State in Week 10, and they host Alabama in Week 11. At least one of those games will be a loss, pushing the Aggies below the Broncos. Congrats to Boise, who would then be at No. 16.
Stanford will lose to either Oregon, Oregon State or both. That's a pretty clear argument for Boise's move to No. 15.
Now, Boise is in position to make the coveted BCS position, but these losses are still fairly likely to happen and push Boise even further up the polls:
1) Clemson vs. South Carolina
2) Oklahoma vs. West Virginia, Oklahoma State or TCU
3) Oregon State vs. Stanford or Oregon
Now the hard part. With Boise State sitting in excellent position for selection, how do they get selected? They have to finish ahead of at least one conference champion who hails from an AQ conference. This is where the Big Ten's implosion really helps Boise State out.
If Michigan State can take down Nebraska in Week 10, that's almost a guaranteed finish ahead of the Big Ten for the Broncos. If that doesn't happen, then there are plenty of opportunities for Louisville to drop below Boise. The Cardinals could lose to Temple, Syracuse or Rutgers over the next four weeks.
So, we have a Boise State team that's theoretically at No. 14 or better and ahead of at least one AQ conference's champion. That means BCS Bowl, right? Not hardly. Somehow, the Broncos got passed over last year in favor of a No. 11 vs. No. 13 Sugar Bowl that should never have happened.
The selectors must be left with a team that's ranked closely to Boise, but not from a conference that already has two teams in BCS bowls. This is where the Big 12, SEC and ACC can come to the rescue.
If things go as expected, the SEC will have a team in the BCS National Championship and in the Sugar Bowl. The Big 12 will have a team in the title game and in the contracted Fiesta Bowl. The ACC's champion will be in the Orange Bowl. The Big East champion is guaranteed a slot as well.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will finish the season undefeated and be pitted against a team with a huge resume. The Big Ten champion will face the Pac-12 selection for the Rose Bowl trophy.
This leaves two spots for Boise State to get into the big games: the Orange Bowl, and either the Fiesta or Sugar Bowl. Boise State will likely face the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl.
The other BCS qualifier that will be qualified and not ruled out as a third team from a major conference will probably be from the ACC. As unreasonable as the selection committee is, there's no way they simply throw an ACC team into the Orange Bowl against the ACC champion.
There's no way they screw Notre Dame by putting it there, either. Especially not after the dominating season the Irish have had.
There you have it, fans! Boise State goes to the Orange Bowl and faces the ACC champion.