How Did Boise State Turn Into The Most Hated Team in America?

Phil FriendCorrespondent ISeptember 10, 2010

Boise State's Kellen Moore.
Boise State's Kellen Moore.Geoff Burke/Getty Images

            Boise State is no longer the Johnny Come Lately underdog team that everyone roots for anymore. It’s a 50/50 split between adoration and vitriol – and the latter might be prevailing through more.

            I wonder if this is how people treated Hickory High in 1953 after pulling off the upset of the century over South Bend Central in the movie, “Hoosiers.”

            Like that state championship game, neither Hickory nor Boise State were perfect. The Broncos made numerous mistakes on special teams and that defensive secondary had more open holes than a Bree Olsen Saturday Night Hotel Special in Ft. Wayne.

            Hickory wasn’t perfect, either. It took more than a half before they realized that it was OK for Jimmy Chitwood to shoot the basketball every possession. They turned the ball over numerous times in the first half, but when it counted, they came through.

            And that’s exactly was Boise did on its final drive Saturday. The Broncos’ Chitwood-like field general, Kellen Moore, made it look easy is ripping out the hearts of Hokies fans. But, like South Bend Central, Va. Tech was undone with some careless strategy in the final minutes.

            Why didn’t the Hokies run the ball on third down with two minutes to go and Boise without any timeouts? That was the blunder of the game. But on that ill-fated last Boise possession, why did the Hokies go away from the game plan and not blitz the crap out of Moore and make him feel uncomfortable in the pocket? Instead, they played not to lose, and left Landover with their heads between their turkey legs.

            As great as Monday night’s game was, now it seems the school of thought has changed. Boise State is not the scrappy underdog that you want to take home and snuggle with anymore. Now Boise is overrated and got lucky. Geez, people, how many of these games do the Broncos have to win before they’re taking seriously?

            Oregon a couple times times, Oklahoma, TCU, Virginia Tech … probably a couple others I’m too lazy to look up. All they do is win, win and win some more, yet it’s the same rhetoric for those in the BCS pocket: they play a weak schedule, can’t compete with the S-E-C speed, blah blah crap.

            So does this mean that Ole Miss, who lost in dominating fashion to Jacksonville State on Saturday, cannot keep up with the O-V-C speed? The amazing thing about that game is that the D-II J-State squad got the winning touchdown and two-point conversion on ridiculously broken plays. You don’t see that too often.

            Let’s look at Auburn’s schedule. Its non-conference is Arkansas State, Louisiana-Monroe (the Rajun’ Cajuns!), Chattanooga and Clemson. Not exactly a murderer’s row. On top of that, eight home games overall and go on the road for Mississippi State, Kentucky, Ole Miss and ‘Bama. I’ll take Boise 11-1 with that schedule. And if you’re going to tell me that Arkansas and LSU are better than Boise, then clearly we’re not watching the same college football games.

            Yes, the WAC is not the SEC. I’m not going to ignore the fact that the week-to-week grind is tremendous. But hasn’t Boise shown that, when given the opportunity, they are on equal footing with the elites?

            To argue that they could not compete is not fair to what Chris Petersen has accomplished at the Big Blue Field. Aren’t Oklahoma and Virginia Tech part of the BCS Cool Table? If Boise can beat them, can’t they beat Florida since everyone believes OU and VT can beat them?

            Look, maybe that’s a weak argument, but at some point all these wins have to mean something. No BCS conference has asked them to join, most BCS schools don’t even want to play them because of events like tonight, and yet, everyone wants to hold the schedule against them.

            The recruiting at Boise is different than the BCS schools. They don’t have the resources to pay the top athletes or give them houses and/or vehicles to come to their school. They don’t have the alums with deep pockets to back the program – the playing field is different, yet here they are beating all of these teams BCS teams.

            The theory is, Boise should only be in the title picture if there is a playoff, and that same theory believes that Boise would lose because they couldn’t win four straight games against top-level competition. It’s an odd argument, because, let’s say Oklahoma is one of the 16 teams in a playoff and loses its first game. I don’t think the scribes/fans are going to say that Oklahoma is a BCS pretender and should never be invited back again. No one would call Oklahoma a joke and say ‘Get their asses out of there and go back to playing Nevada.’

            Both you and I know no one says that. But if Boise loses its first game, why does the prevailing logic say that because of one loss, Boise is now a joke and should never be invited back again.

            The politics in college football will never change, so this is what we’re stuck with.

Fans of both The Ohio State University and Alabama say they will win by 30 over Boise. Would those two teams beat Boise? Maybe. Probably. But the playing field is awfully close between these schools, even with the advantages Bucky and the Roll Tide elephant have.

            And then we have to deal with Alabama diehards like The Tuscaloosa News’ Tommy Deas, who tweeted this last week:

            “How many real games does it take for Boise State to win a BCS championship? Trick question - Division II teams can't win BCS title.”

            Great. Glad to have Alabama back in the national spotlight. Why can’t it go back to the Mike DuBose-Mike Shula era when they were irrelevant?

            I’m not going to stand on my soapbox and pull a Bad News Bears and chant, “Let them play!” and all that, but the idea that a team as talented as Boise should be clocked out is ridiculous.