You hear it every single year from the BCS schools: how small schools like Boise State don’t belong with the big boys of college football. Except, there’s one problem. None of those schools will prove it.
Proponents of the BCS will tell you that there shouldn’t be a “BCS Buster” because those teams would never survive playing the kind of schedule that a team like Alabama plays. While that could be true, it remains unproven, because no one from the SEC will schedule a dangerous team like Boise State, Utah, TCU or the like.
I hear it on the radio all the time from guys like Gregg Henson of 105.3 FM in Dallas, TX. "TCU can’t play with Alabama, they’d never have a winning record in the SEC.”
While I respect Mr. Henson for his opinion, that’s all it is. Just hot air and spoken words because he has no facts to back that up. TCU has never played an SEC schedule and the SEC won’t schedule TCU. So, again, it remains just an opinion.
There’s a familiar saying around just about every sport there is. “If you want to be the best, you need to beat the best.” There’s one problem with that saying. The BCS won’t let the teams wanting to be the best, beat the best.
Take this past year, for example. Both TCU and Boise State finished their seasons unbeaten, both had every reason to believe that they could play with the likes of Alabama, Florida and Texas. In fact, both teams thought they had a legitimate chance to be the opponent of one of those teams in a BCS bowl.
Instead, the BCS decided they want to risk the embarrassment of Alabama getting their ass handed to them like they did the previous year at the hands of Utah, a 31-17 beatdown in the 2009 Sugar Bowl. Prior to that game, most said Utah didn’t belong; they shouldn’t even be standing on the same field with Alabama.
Then, like all good BCS pundits, the excuses started to fly.
People were saying things like Alabama was still disappointed in their loss to Florida in the SEC title game and they weren’t ready to play. Or the fact that Alabama was without lineman Andre Smith because of improper contact with an agent. They would say anything to take the win away from Utah and lessen the sting of a non-BCS team putting a severe beatdown on one of those “top BCS schools”.
Going into the gameday thread on Alabama’s website, you’ll find people saying “show Utah why they have no business here" before the game or “Utah couldn’t stay on the field with Florida Oklahoma or Texas much less USC”, during the game.
Even ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach, in his season preview, didn’t have Utah anywhere near a BCS game, predicting they would fall to the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl against the Oregon Ducks.
Then you look at the preview of the game, via the Associated Press, and you notice this paragraph.
Even Alabama coach Nick Saban—shortly after his club’s loss in the SEC title game—seemed to unwittingly sell short Utah’s undefeated season when he noted the Tide was the only team to have an unblemished regular-season mark in a “real BCS conference”.
Someone apparently forgot to tell Saban that you NEVER give the opposing team bulletin board material. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham didn’t want to turn those comments into a big deal, but did say his players weren’t oblivious to what was said.
Back in 2007, the same was said about Boise State before they took on Oklahoma. No one expected the Broncos to win or even stay in the game, but lo and behold, they shocked the world with what was called the best college bowl game in history after it was all said and done.
Even though these two teams proved they belong, most will continue to tell you that they don’t, simply because of the conference they play in. What they won’t include in that argument is the fact that neither Boise nor Utah can change that.
What the SEC, Big XII, PAC-10 and ACC can change is the teams they schedule out of conference. Oh they’ll talk big, they’ll tell you how big and bad they are. But instead of putting that money where their mouths are, they schedule teams like Florida International, Troy and Charleston Southern as well.
Those conferences won’t deny that they’re scheduling easy wins, but the excuse that’s used so often is the fact that they can hide behind their conference schedule.
Note to the SEC, Big XII, PAC-10 and ACC: Instead of talking big and then hiding behind your conference schedule, why not prove how big and bad you really are? Why don’t you schedule Boise State, Utah, TCU, Fresno State or the like?
Instead of letting those angry fans react with their disillusioned answers, here is the one and only reason why they won’t:
These conferences would rather have a cheap win than an expensive loss. Playing the Troy’s and Charleston Southern’s cost the big conferences less than paying out to the Boise State’s of the world.
Do they have the money to shell out for a showdown against the Broncos? Of course they do, but they’ll never use it. So, until we actually see this kind of matchup, these conferences will continue to tell the small conference schools they don’t belong.
Even if they’ll never prove it.