BOISE STATE'S PROBLEM THAT WON'T GO AWAY

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BOISE STATE'S PROBLEM THAT WON'T GO AWAY
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

There are many who subscribe to theory that Boise State has a serious schedule problem. How will the Bronco's get the respect they so desire by playing one of the weaker schedules in college football? It's a problem that is likely not going away soon.

Next year (2010 schedule) Boise State has Virginia Tech (in Washington D.C.) and also Oregon State in Boise. Virginia Tech has been an outstanding program in recent years and Oregon State has demonstrated that they too have a formidable BCS program. Two good BCS teams. But it is enough to push the respect of the BSU program up another notch and silence the 'talking heads' who for some time now have been saying "but they don't play anybody?" There are many who doubt that by adding Virginia Tech and OSU will be enough. The WAC is their bigger problem. The Western Athletic Conference is not exactly full of powerhouse programs. On any given year the WAC is lucky to have 2 or 3 good teams and those programs are generally BSU, Fresno State and sometimes Nevada or Hawaii. Until Boise State is extended an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference (who knows if that will ever happen) they are doomed on the strength of schedule issue. BSU does have home and home games against BYU, Utah and Wyoming in the coming years but of course those programs are a part of the MWC and thus non-BCS schools.

The only way Boise State can garner greater respect is to schedule games with BCS programs but that presents some issues at least in the near term. First, most major programs schedules are negotiated far in advance. Second, BSU seems to want a large financial guarantee to play on the road against the elite BCS programs. Home and home scheduling with these BCS programs is very difficult at best primarily because Boise State's stadium only holds about 33,000 (standing room only) thus reducing the guarantee that BSU can offer in return. The solution to that problem is to attempt to schedule teams on perhaps a 2 (away) for 1 (home).

Boise State's scheduling problem was developed years ago when the Athletic Director failed to understand that strength of schedule was going to be a serious problem moving forward. As I mentioned before these schedules are negotiated years in advance. Did anyone at BSU see this issue coming? The University President, Bob Kustra did. When Athletic Director Gene Bleymaier's contract was tendered in 2008 suddenly a new clause was added that is an incentive to him to schedule BCS schools. Some, myself included, find it amazing that the University had to bribe Bleymaier $20,000 (bonus) per year to bite the bullet and schedule BCS opponents.

The really sad part of all this is that the Boise State football program deserves the chance to prove themselves against the 'elite' BCS teams. Regardless of who is on the schedule this year, BSU is an outstanding football team but they may not get the opportunity to prove it by playing in a BCS bowl game AGAIN this year. Last year Boise State was undefeated and was passed over because they were not the highest ranked non-BCS program. If they are not extended a BCS invite this year it will be the second year in a row they have posted an undefeated season without a BCS invite (providing of course they win their next 3 games). The major problem this year is the fact that TCU (member of the non-BCS MWC) had a stronger strength of schedule.

The Boise State fans can yell, scream and stomp all they want. The FACT is that BSU's schedule is what hurts them and the 'they don't play anybody' image is firmly intact. Oh, did I mention that there are quite a few who hate that blue turf too? Both problems that are not going away soon.

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