I was recently engaged in a debate with a friend about the bowl-versus-playoff debate that so often finds its way any discussion on college football rankings. He sided with having a playoff, and I voiced my opinion that adding a "plus one" format would suffice in ending these pointless arguments.
Now, the purpose of this article isn't to discuss BCS-versus-Playoff debate. That's going to be a waste of time, because that topic has been covered ad nauseum by writers much more qualified than me. The reason I bring it up is to discuss Boise State, this year's most likely BCS "buster".
My problem with teams like Boise State is that every one of their fans bitch and moan when they are (deservedly) left out of a national title game at the end of the season. Yes, I'm well aware of Boise State's triumph over Oklahoma a few years back, as well as Utah's win over Alabama last year in the Sugar Bowl.
But one game does not define a team.
One victory doesn't qualify you as a national title contender. While teams like Oklahoma and Alabama have to face difficult conference schedules, the Boise States of the college football world cruise through a veritable poo-poo platter of teams on their way to a largely untested undefeated season.
Do I commend these BCS busters for their season-long effort? Yes. Going undefeated, no matter what the level of competition, is never easy. But to say that Boise State deserves a national title shot at the end of the year (which will be said by many pro-playoff pundits if the Broncos go undefeated) is just short-sighted.
Let's take a look at Boise State's schedule. All of the teams have their record and Sagarin rating next to them, as obviously the AP doesn't rank teams past 25.
Sept. 3, vs. Oregon (5-1, No. 6)
Sept. 12, vs. Miami of Ohio (0-6, No. 155)
Sept. 18, at Fresno State (2-3, No. 34)
Sept. 26, at Bowling Green (2-4, No. 83)
Oct. 3, vs. Cal Davis (2-3, No. 123)
Oct. 14 at Tulsa (4-2, No. 60)
Oct. 24, at Hawaii (2-3, No. 109)
Oct. 31, vs. San Jose State (1-4, No. 100)
Nov. 6, at LaTech (2-3, No. 104)
Nov. 14, vs. Idaho (5-1, No. 57)
Nov. 20, at Utah State (1-4, No. 124)
Nov. 27, vs. Nevada (2-3, No. 78)
Dec. 5, vs. NMSU (3-3, No. 149)
Not exactly murderer's row, is it?
Now, let me make clear that I understand that the Broncos can't control their conference schedule. It's not their fault that they have to play most of the teams they do. But where the Broncos (and every BCS buster for that matter) are at fault is their non-conference schedule.
Yes, Oregon is a good team. I'm not marginalizing that win in any way. However, if Boise State and other programs like them want to be in the National Title discussion at the end of the season, one good team will not be sufficient, particularly with the schedule they have the rest of the year.
For the Utahs, TCU's, and Boise States of the college football world, more will be required of them. An undefeated season with this schedule warrants an invitation to the BCS, but NOT the national championship game. A one-loss conference champion from the SEC or the Big 12, at least in my opinion, warrants a national title berth more than Boise State or any other "buster" team based on the fact they went through a gauntlet of very good teams, not one or two BCS-conference opponents.
Let me be clear: I have no ill will toward the Broncos. They are a good team, with some great players and a very good coach. But if they want more than a BCS berth; if they want a shot at the crystal ball, there's only one option: Those non-conference games have to be LOADED up.
Now, I understand that it may be difficult for the school to find takers from the elite names in college football. There may be some programs who look at it as a no-win situation. If you beat Boise State, it's expected.
If you lose, you become the target of criticism.
But surely, the Broncos can find teams from the big six conferences that would be takers for a home and home. I'm not saying you have to get Texas or Penn State, but what about Oklahoma State and Minnesota? A non-conference slate of those two teams, coupled with an Oregon or Cal, would be enough to get voters attention and give you the boost needed to climb into the national title picture.
Is it fair that the Broncos would have to start the season with three or four very tough games? Probably not. But is it necessary to warrant a berth in the national title game?