I'm not afraid of the "big, bad" Boise
I better get started now because I only have three more months to bash the Boise State Broncos and expose them as what they are: overrated. Why the rush? Well, once the season starts and the Georgia Bulldogs send Blue Horses back to their home “state,” with a loss, I’m pretty sure that my Boise-bashing bandwagon may be significantly more crowded.
While every season sees it’s fair share of Boise State critics (logical thinkers) and supporters (media), it’s worthwhile to spend some time taking a closer look at the Broncos under the lens of a few common evaluators of programs: high school recruiting, production of NFL talent and statistical output.
While nobody can be sure what the 2011 season holds for the Broncos, I’m prepared to make a prediction about the Smurfs’ next season. Lowly recruits will put up impressive numbers against even worse opposition before going undrafted next spring, and Broncos from the mythical state of Boise will receive entirely too much attention during the whole adventure.
So where did I originate this prognostication? Like so many other logical ideas, my hypothesis about Boise State football starts at the beginning. In this instance, it starts with recruiting.
Did anybody notice where Boise State’s 2011 recruiting class ranked? Scout.com had Chris Petersen’s class coming in at 64th in the country. In 2010, the Broncos brought in the 82nd best class in the country according to Rivals.com. Furthermore, in the preceding four recruiting classes (2006-2009) Boise State failed to land a player ranked in the top 150 of their respective class according to ESPN. According to the three largest recruiting services (Scout, Rivals, and ESPN) the Broncos aren’t bringing in very good horses for the stable of blue.
So why does ESPN and the rest of the media fall in love with this team after not recognizing an ounce of accomplishment in the form of recruiting classes? Well it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with how well these players develop into next-level talent.
Boise State has had a total of 11 players drafted since 2006. Of course, it’s not shocking that a team with consistently mediocre recruiting classes is averaging fewer than two drafted players per year. Much more surprising is the love the Broncos get while they’re in Boise.
While in the magical, unrecognized state of Boise, these Broncos manage to transform into some of the best athletes in the country for four years of unbelievable performance. Or do they? Last season the Broncos were second in the nation in both scoring offense and scoring defense. So the players must have been incredible, right? Or did these players who received little recognition in high school and get no respect from the NFL just play even worse players?
While Boise State’s 45 points per game may be impressive, when isolated that value is lost when the competition is examined. Boise faced off against the nation’s 115th, 105th, 101st, 90th, 86th, 83rd, 73rd, and 71st ranked defenses. There are 120 FBS teams in the nation, and Boise State lined up against eight of the 50 worst defenses. No wonder the Broncos scored a lot of points.
Yet again, the fact that Boise State surrendered fewer than 13 points per game may be impressive when competition is ignored. However, further examination shows the Broncos taking on some of the worst teams in the country. Wyoming, Oregon State, New Mexico State, San Jose State, and Utah State were all among the nation’s 50 worst scoring teams.
Boise State doesn’t scare me one bit as a Georgia Bulldog fan. While the Broncos are certainly a well-coached bunch of boys and in many ways Chris Petersen is the anti-Richt (Mark Richt brings in highly rated players who under-perform before getting drafted and signing big contracts), I think the Bulldogs can stop the miracle in Week 1.
With any luck, we won’t have to rely on a Boise State kicker’s misses late in the season to knock the Broncos out of National Championship contention. And, with a little more luck maybe a Georgia kicker can knock a few through the uprights and jumpstart a miracle season for the Dawgs.