Hearing the news of TCU’s jump to the Big East had me reacting in the same way as most of Bronco Nation. I immediately had the “oh no” moment for my beloved Boise State. First Utah, then BYU and now TCU? Who’s left? The Mountain West has now become what many have mockingly named the WAC 2.0. Well, after a little reflection, I started to realize that this could possibly be the best thing that has happened to Boise State all year. Let me explain.
Since 2004 Boise State (including this year given they maintain their 11th place ranking) has been “buster eligible” five times. In 04’ Utah beat out their ninth place ranking with a sixth place bid for the berth into the Sugar Bowl. In 06’ Boise State earned the Fiesta Bowl berth beating Oklahoma in an unforgettably epic game. 2008 was déjà vu when Utah once again out ranked the Bronco's ninth place slot to yet again, head to another Sugar Bowl. In 09’ TCU’s fourth place ranking would have left the sixth ranked Broncos in the cold had they not been the first non-AQ school to nab an at large bid. Now we get to this year: once again, TCU will outrank and head off to a BCS bowl game while Boise sits on the sidelines singing the blues. Meanwhile schools such as UConn and Virginia Tech (a team the Broncos beat this season, remember?) are playing in bowl games that I can certainly argue Boise State, Michigan State or the loser of the Big 12 champ game are more deserving of.
So why is the Mountain West’s loss Boise State’s gain? Five out of seven years Boise State has been impressively ranked in the top 10 yet only earned a BCS bowl berth twice. Who do they lose these buster bids to? Utah and TCU. Who’s no longer going to be a power non-AQ team standing in their way? That’s right, Utah and TCU. With those two schools now shifting to qualifying conferences, Boise State stands as the lone school vying for the buster bids. If they have the same record of success they've had for the past several years, you can expect to see a whole lot more of them cuddly Broncos on the big stage for seasons to come.
In fact, as a Bronco fan the more I think about it the more I’m starting to like this current BCS system (I say this semi-sarcastically). Given the way things are with the BCS offering the highest non-AQ team a bid (as long as they are 12th ranked or higher…which the Broncos often are) “Smurf Turfers” can expect to take advantage of every opportunity to earn their way into a big bowl game. This could very well be the last year the Broncos sit on the sidelines watching a different non-AQ team compete for some glory. As it stands in this current system, Boise has been invited to two BCS bowl games and have two trophies to show for it. That’s more than Auburn, Alabama, Oregon and Nebraska. I could go on but do I need to? Us Bronco fans are not complaining. The whining comes from those who sit in the big conferences with empty trophy cases and no invitations into a big bowl game. Many have been asking for a playoff but the BCS has sat back and ignored the outcries. OK, that’s fine with me. Boise State, now being the sole survivor of the power non-AQ’s will be earning a berth year after year and causing more and more scrutiny. Meanwhile Coach Pete will be polishing his team's many big BCS trophies and slowly becoming the school with the most shiny toys in his trophy case.
So you see, Boise didn't lose twice this year after all.