Boise St.: Why Oregon's Big Win Is a Double-Edged Sword
I admire the Broncos, one of the nation's most successful and most consistent programs in the BCS era.
With one of the nation's top QB's and the only defense to have stopped the explosive Oregon Ducks, the Broncos seem well on their way to their fourth undefeated regular season since 2004.
Unfortunately, it seems every time the Broncos have flirted with perfection, Utah has stood right in front.
Upstaging the Broncos, stealing the spotlight and taking the BCS payday to the bank.
The one time the Broncos have made it through, they provided one of the most exhilarating and most memorable games of all time on their way to defeating a national powerhouse. Putting a stamp of credibility and legitimacy to their program.
Despite the success, there has been no call for a second date.
Not in 2008. Not with Utah having beaten three ranked opponents including a victory over a red-hot Pac-10 team from Oregon that knocked off heavyweight USC.
Sound familiar? Ironically, while that same phrase helped bolster Utah over Boise last year, it was Oregon's victory over USC that will ultimately keep Boise out this year.
Yes, everyone remembers the shellacking Boise State put on Oregon to open the season this year. Since then, Oregon has been to the Pac-10 as Boise has been to the WAC; dominant.
Oregon's surprise success should seemingly be a boon for the Broncos. And it has been, until last night. While the Ducks garnered national credibility by pounding the Trojans, they all but locked in a berth to the Rose Bowl, leaving the Trojans as a prime candidate for an at-large BCS invite. Likely leaving the Broncos out in the cold.
These guys just can't win. Yet on the field, that's all they seem to do.
Even with Utah headed to New Orleans last year, there was still an at large berth available. Instead of a return ticket for Boise State to the Fiesta Bowl, The Ohio State Buckeyes got the call, despite losing twice to the only ranked teams they played.
We all know why. Ohio State is the bigger ticket. More fans, more ticket sales, higher TV ratings. Does anyone really blame the Fiesta Bowl? I doubt Boise State was ever given any serious consideration.
This year will be no different.
If TCU runs the table, they will claim the non-BCS bid. While TCU will not have a victory as strong as Oregon, the Frogs would have a much greater body of work and a substantially higher computer ranking coming from a better conference.
Not to mention, a head-to-head win over Boise State in last year's BCS-like Poinsettia Bowl that may stay fresh in voters' minds.
With TCU in, six automatic qualifying conference berths allotted and almost a guaranteed second berth to the SEC, only two at-large berths would remain.
Here's where it gets tricky for the Broncos.
If Penn State beats Ohio State and finishes the season with only one loss, which would seem likely at that point, the Nittany Lions would receive an at-large berth. (Assuming Iowa heads to the Rose Bowl as the Big 10 champion.)
On that same note, if Ohio State beats Penn State, they can virtually clinch an at-large berth by beating Iowa at the Horseshoe.
Which means (unless Notre Dame qualifies) the final BCS berth would come down to USC or Boise State.
Do we really have to guess which one the BCS would take?
Assuming Texas runs the table and goes to the National Championship game and Iowa and Oregon continue their collision course to the other game in Pasadena, here's how it might play out:
The Sugar Bowl will start first and take the SEC runner-up. The Fiesta will get the second pick and probably go with USC, due to proximity and draw. The Orange would go next and take the Big East champion, Cincinnati. The Fiesta would then go again at that point and take Penn State or Ohio State.
Even if it meant a rematch, the lucre of a second bout between the Buckeyes and the Trojans would be too tempting for the Fiesta Bowl to pass up.
Leaving TCU to the Sugar Bowl and Boise on the outside looking in. Again.
From what I can see, the only way Boise can make it to the BCS is if TCU falls or if Ohio State beats Penn State but loses to Iowa.
Ironically, while Boise State's perceived best friend, the Oregon Ducks ultimately may have caused harm, it's BSU's BCS busting nemesis Utah, that can become their new BFF by taking down TCU on Nov. 14.
As always seems the case nowadays, the most definitive and most meaningful games for the Boise State Broncos will take place far away from their own field of play.
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