With the 2010 college football season fast approaching, fans and sportswriters alike love to speculate and debate with others about their favorite teams; a quick trip to any sports forum will show every kind of debate and ad hominem attack you could think of. Many debates revolve the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of the non-BCS conference schools, particularly the Boise State Broncos. Fans have debated just how worthy they are of a BCS bowl berth for several years, as the Broncos have had three undefeated regular seasons and two undefeated seasons including a postseason bowl, but are still not taken seriously as a college football power. On September 6, the #3 Broncos will take on the #10 Virginia Tech Hokies (AP Poll by the way) at FedExField in front of 91,000 fans.
The question is: Would a win over the BCS-conference powerhouse finally legitimize their own powerhouse status?
I believe the answer to that question is no.
Yes, Virginia Tech is a good team, but they're not a great team. The ACC isn't a terribly strong football conference (basketball is certainly their forte; I may touch upon that this winter), with the only other true football powers in the conference being Miami (FL) and Florida State. Clemson, North Carolina, and Georgia Tech have had moments of greatness, with UNC and Georgia Tech even beating the Hokies in 2009, but have never been consistently strong. Virginia Tech didn't earn a spot in the ACC Championship, and ended up in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in January and beat a paltry Tennessee squad. The fact that they're ranked as high they are is surprising.
In a Boise State-Virginia Tech matchup, Boise State could easily crush Virginia Tech in a one-off scenario. Boise State can run enough trick plays that could confuse their opponent for a single game. If they were to play Virginia Tech or a similar team ten times, the Hokies would win nine out of ten.
Therefore, a Boise State victory over Virginia Tech would be similar to be similar to their victory over Oregon last year. The only difference would be that Boise State could prove that they can play in front of larger crowds, considering their largest crowd last year was the 75,000 they faced at the Fiesta Bowl. Prior to that, the largest was the 37,000 at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii; Bronco Stadium generally sat around 34,000 last year.
In the end, the Broncos are a good team. But they're not a BCS-caliber team. With a weak schedule and average recruiting classes, they still don't deserve the legitimacy of a regular BCS bowl berth. They face a Virginia Tech squad that is certainly a contender, but not a power on the level of Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, etc. Perhaps a trip across the SEC would do the Broncos some good.
On a small personal note, I'm back at school now, so I won't be able to write as frequently as this week. Hopefully one or two a week for the foreseeable future.