College Football: What Is The Secret Boise State, Utah and TCU Are Hiding?

Gary BrownCorrespondent IIOctober 27, 2010

BOISE, ID - SEPTEMBER 25:  Running back Doug Martin #22 of the Boise State Broncos runs the ball against the Oregon State Beavers at Bronco Stadium on September 25, 2010 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

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Be very quiet. It is valuable information that Nick Saban, Mack Brown and other top coaches would do anything to get their hands on. Why? It would make life easier for them.

What is it that has to be guarded so closely? How Boise State, TCU and Utah manage to win ball games at a rate schools in the BCS conferences can’t. Not only are last year’s top two college football teams unable to win like these power teams from the WAC and MWC, but neither can any of the guys they play in the SEC or Big 12 each year.

Here is why the secret must be kept hidden from everyone else. Can you imagine what the outcome might be if Oklahoma, Auburn or Ohio State had the knowledge possessed by the football utopias in Salt Lake City, Fort Worth and Boise?

So, what is the secret to incredible success in college football? If no one will tell, then the mystery will have to be solved using our reasoning skills.

There is one logical place to begin. It must be the talent these schools bring in. That would have to be it. It was John Wooden who said, “I'd rather have a lot of talent and little experience than a lot of experience and little talent.”

Coaches and everyone else know it is talent that wins games, so that must be the reason for the great success these teams from the Mountain West and WAC experience.

If only it could be so simple. You see, the guys who rank recruiting classes don’t find the talent these guys sign to be all that attractive. That does not mean there may not be some good players, but as a whole most of them were not turning away USC and Michigan to attend their chosen school.

TCU’s 2009 class was ranked the 54th best in the nation. On their heels in the 55th spot was their fellow conference member, Utah. The best year for Boise State of the five checked was 2009. Their class ranked 60th in the nation.

In the SEC you wind up with talent like Vanderbilt when you recruit as poor as these schools do on a consistent basis. If you are in the ACC you get Wake Forest. Indiana is the kind of team produced in Big Ten play.

This means one of two things is true. Either the recruiting services have no clue regarding what they are doing or talent is not the key to winning for Boise State, Utah and TCU.

Heywood Broun said once that “God is always on the side of the team with the best coach.”

There it is. Coaching is what makes the difference. The guys leading these programs have insights into strategy and people that Lane Kiffin lacks (which is probably true). They have learned and experienced things that Jim Tressel can only dream about. Yes. That must be the key to their success.

Hold it though. When he was at Boise State current Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins was 53-11. The Buff’s would have fired him last year if they had the money available. Dennis Franchione started the run TCU continues today, but last he was seen Texas A&M was kicking him out the door for his abysmal results.

Urban Meyer may be the exception. He has posted tremendous results at Florida after his time in Utah where he went 22-2. Do you know what his record is for Gator teams without Tim Tebow? Try 13-6.

Hmmm. While Gary Patterson, Chris Petersen and Kyle Whittingham may be really good football coaches, it seems their predecessors were not able to maintain their high levels of success in other places.  

Options behind the incredible success for Boise State, TCU and Utah are starting to dwindle.

Possibly it is the places that are the trick. Boise State’s blue field must be the magic that keeps the Broncos winning. The purple field at TCU is probably even more intimidating and the red turf Utah plays on must really mess with the eyes and mind.

Hold on. TCU and Utah bit play on regular green turf. Another item to knock off the list.

Maybe, just maybe it is much simpler than all the above. Maybe, just maybe, it is the competition they play.

Playing Hawaii, Fresno State, New Mexico State and San Jose State in the WAC is not like having to face Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa. It is not even like having to face Indiana.

Squaring off in MWC games against the likes of New Mexico, Wyoming, Air Force and UNLV does not carry quite the challenge of going head to head with LSU, Auburn, Kentucky and Georgia in the SEC. It is not even like playing Vandy a week after facing Tennessee.

The reality is that they win because they have talented teams compared to their fellow conference members and are well coached.

Critics of the above theory will talk about how TCU and Boise lined up and beat Oregon State. Great. Oregon State is not a very good football team. Let TCU and Boise State come play their schedule and go undefeated. Then we will talk about them being great.

These same people will then point to Boise State’s close victory over Virginia Tech. Big deal. James Madison beat the Hokies worse.

TCU beat Baylor. Do you really think Baylor would have been invited to the Big 12 without the politicians getting involved? What TCU need if they wanted to play big boy football was better help in Austin when the big 12 was being created.

There is not a single school Utah has played that makes them worthy of anything. The biggest win they had was over Iowa State. How bad are the Cyclones? When they beat Texas there were people who actually suggested Mack Brown might need to go as the head man of the Longhorns.

No wonder some of the big guys seem a little uneasy with the prospects of Utah, Boise State and/or TCU playing for a national championship. The odds are high that they could not even win any of the “Big Six” conferences.

So, it is the membership of the WAC and Mountain West that must be kept a secret. Why? People who say TCU, Boise State and TCU deserve a shot because they win their games have not taken time to look and see who is actually on their schedule.

Their path to the top is just too easy. You can look it up.