Should the AP Crown Boise State the National Champion If They Go Undefeated?
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e Associated Press released its first poll of the season and the Boise State Broncos were ranked third in the nation. The only teams ranked higher than the Broncos where Alabama and Ohio State.
The high ranking of Boise State poses an interesting dilemma for AP voters in that if Boise State goes undefeated but is not selected to play in the BCS Championship game, will AP voters select Boise State as their national champion if they go undefeated and the BCS Champion is a one loss team?
The above scenario occurring at the end of this college football season is not far-fetched.
First, Boise State needs the two teams ahead of them in the AP poll to stumble once during the year.
History is on the side of the Broncos that the Tide and Buckeyes will lose one game.
In the last five years, only four of the ten teams that started the season first or second in the AP poll ended up in the BCS Championship game.
The schedules of Alabama and Ohio State are also very difficult this year and make it likely that both teams will lose a game before the end of the year.
The Tide plays five tough teams in No. 19 Penn State on September 11, No. 17 Arkansas on September 25, No. 4 Florida on October 2, No. 21 LSU on November 6 and No. 22 Auburn on November 22.
In addition, Alabama must also be careful to avoid upsets bids against South Carolina and Mississippi.
Ohio State has four tough games on its schedule with No. 13 Miami on September 11, No. 12 Wisconsin on October 16, No. 19 Penn State on November 13 and No. 9 Iowa on November 20.
Throw in a possible upset bid by arch-rival Michigan and the Buckeyes have no cake walk to an undefeated season.
Second, Boise State needs the eventual BCS Champion to end the year with at least one loss.
Again history is on the side of Boise State in that in the last five years, three of the last five BCS Champions ended the year with one loss.
Florida’s last two BCS Championship teams ended the year 13-1 and LSU won its BCS Championship with a 12-2 record.
This season will likely result in the BCS Championship game being played by at least one team that has one loss and very likely will have two teams with one loss in the final game.
While Alabama and Ohio State have a difference in the discernible amount of talent on their respective squads than the other teams in the top 20 teams in the BCS poll, this college football season is wide open and there are at least a dozen teams that could win their conference title with only one loss.
The Broncos don’t need complete chaos among the top ten teams in the BCS poll just that parity be demonstrated by no one team running the table.
Finally, Boise State needs to do its part by going undefeated.
History once again is on the side of Boise State running the table. Boise State has gone undefeated in the regular season the last two years.
The Broncos also have a favorable schedule in that they play only two ranked teams in the AP preseason top 25 and likely will not play another team that will be ranked during the season.
Boise State opens the season against No. 10 Virginia Tech and then two weeks plays No. 24 Oregon State at home.
If the Broncos can beat the Hokies and Beavers, they should go undefeated.
Boise State’s remaining opponents are: Wyoming, New Mexico State, Toledo, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, Hawaii, Idaho, Fresno State, Nevada and Utah State.
Barring a defeat of the hands of Virginia Tech or Oregon State, Boise State will be 12-0 at the end of the season.
Assuming that everything falls into place for Boise State as discussed above and while most college football fans still will not recognize the Broncos as NCAA Football Champions, the AP should vote Boise State as their National Champion.
The AP should vote Boise State as their National Champion because there is simply no justifiable reason to rank the Broncos as the third ranked team in the country in your preseason poll and not elevate them to the number one position if they go undefeated and the two teams ahead of them lose a game.
While some will suggest that the AP pick whoever wins the BCS Championship game as their number team in the nation, there is really no reason to mirror the final BCS poll rankings because the AP poll is a separate and distinct poll from the polls that comprise the BCS poll rankings.
If Boise State does get voted as the National Champion by the AP, fans who support the BCS system should keep their mouths shut and not object.
BCS proponents who believe that their champion has been slighted need to keep in mind that the AP is not a part of the BCS poll rankings and the AP can therefore do whatever it wishes to do in selecting its No.1 team in the country.
Of course, the BCS Championship and big BCS pay day should mollify any team, its coaches and school officials who feel hurt by not also being named the AP National Champion.
Broncos fans can therefore take comfort in the idea that they won’t end the season empty handed if they go undefeated, right?
Well, Boise State needs one more thing to happen. The Broncos need to have the sportswriters that comprise the AP voters have enough courage to vote Boise State as its National Champion.
In 2008, Utah found itself in the position that Boise State may find itself in at the end of the year. Specifically, Utah went undefeated and had each of the teams ahead of them in the AP poll all suffer a loss.
Utah for good measure also went on to thump perennial powerhouse and No. 4 Alabama 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl.
Unfortunately for the Utes, the AP voters got cold feet.
While 16 voters selected Utah, 48 AP voters followed the herd and went with Florida, the team that won the BCS Championship game.
A lot of things have to happen before the Broncos are in the same position the Utes were in 2008.
However, if everything falls into place for Boise State it will be interesting to see if the AP has the courage this year to rank Boise State the top team in the land at the end of the season.
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