The Boise State Broncos will likely finish the 2010 college football season with 12 wins and zero losses. In return, a flawed system will deliver them the glory of squaring off against another top-ranked team in a bowl played for something other than a crystal ball.
The Broncos may play one of the weakest schedules of the top-ranked teams, but quality wins over Oregon State and Virginia Tech prove that these Broncos can rise to any challenge. The win over Oregon State has been duplicated by TCU and Washington, but the Beavers were able to knock-off then-No. 9 Arizona.
The Virginia Tech victory, however, is the single biggest game on Boise State's schedule this season. The reason is that Virginia Tech after losing to Boise and stumbling in a trap game against James Madison looks poised to take yet another ACC crown.
The ACC conference is having one of its worst years in the recent past. Traditional powers Miami and Florida State have continued their recent struggles and Virginia Tech is still recovering from the loss to James Madison.
A closer examination of Virginia Tech's schedule reveals that in reality it is not much harder than Boise State's. Virginia Tech has played two games against ranked teams, dropping their opener against Boise State and defeating a then-No. 23 North Carolina State team.
Conversely, Boise State has also played two games against ranked teams, being their victories over Virginia Tech and Oregon State. Unlike Virginia Tech however, Boise State has another ranked team left on the schedule against No. 23 Nevada.
While critics will chirp that although Boise State plays a few ranked teams, their overall strength of schedule pales in comparison to the grind of the ACC.
For Virginia Tech, this grind includes a soft non-conference schedule as well as conference games against Boston College, Virginia, Duke and Wake Forest. These four teams represent half of Virginia Tech's conference schedule and have recorded three total conference victories between them to this point in the season.
Maryland and Florida State, two of the ACC's quality programs, are missing from Virginia Tech's lackluster conference campaign. In fact, according to one ranking system, Virginia Tech's schedule is ranked only seven spots higher than Boise State's.
Boise State could, should and would be the ACC champion if they were ever given a chance to make their case. Take Virginia Tech out of the conference title game and let Boise play. I don't see any ACC opponent accomplishing what Virginia Tech couldn't do and knocking them off.
Why does this all matter? It matters because if Virginia Tech was undefeated right now they would most certainly be No. 3 in the nation and in no danger of being passed by any one-loss teams. It can be argued that Boise State should be given a shot based on past results—based on victories over Oklahoma and based on last year's BCS victory over TCU.
All of these arguments can be dismissed as irrelevant to the present. Well here is one that cannot: If Boise State and Virginia Tech's records were switched, Virginia Tech would no doubt be third in line for the National Championship game.
Will Boise State be crowned champion of the ACC and given the respect they deserve? Absolutely not. Will Boise State whine and moan about how they were robbed? Absolutely not. Boise State has always been a classy program that has put their faith in a system that will never work to their advantage.
Simply as a fan of the game, I'm hoping Oregon and Auburn run the table this season, because I would hate to see the Broncos get robbed yet again.
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