Posted tagged ‘SEC’

BCS Bustin’ – Why Boise St. and other mid-major powers deserve equal opportunities in the BCS National Championship

September 25, 2011

Here is an article written from our new writer, Nathan Rupe. It’s a great article and is very well done. Check it out…

(Photo By: Robert Beck/SI)

Although he’s an afterthought when it comes to NFL accomplishments, former Utah Utes quarterback Alex Smith led one of the most groundbreaking teams in college football history. The 2004 Utah Utes team was expected to be good, they began the season ranked 19th in the country. However, few expected the team to blast through 11 opponents en route to an undefeated regular season – and they did just that. The reason this season was so significant wasn’t just because of the perfect season, it was also because of the conference Utah was a part of. The Mountain West Conference is not an automatic qualifying conference, meaning that the conference champions do not earn a spot in one of the BCS Bowl Games, considered to be the biggest games of the post-season (Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Fiesta Bowl).

When the Utah Utes earned a spot in the 2004 Fiesta Bowl opposite the Pittsburgh Panthers, it was the first time in college football history that a non-AQ team made it into a BCS Bowl game. The question then turned to whether or not the Utes were a good football team, or the product of an easy schedule – they didn’t play a single ranked team all season. All doubt were put to rest when the Utes blew out Pittsburgh 35-7, proving their status as one of the best teams in college football.
 
Fast-forward to the present, four schools have now become “BCS Busters” by breaking into a BCS Bowl game from a non-AQ conference (Utah, TCU, Boise St., Hawaii). Against opponents from an AQ conference, BCS Busters are 4-1. Of all of the total seven BCS Buster appearances however, none have ever participated in the National Championship game. Last year’s undefeated TCU team, that beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl actually received some first place votes from AP voters at the end of the season, but it was for naught and the BCS title game winner Auburn remained the undisputed National Champion of the season.
 
However, despite TCU’s success the clear leader of mid-major conferences against the BCS is Boise St. Since 2004, Boise St. has four undefeated seasons and a one-loss season to their credit. They stunned the heavily favored Oklahoma Sooners in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, and have beaten fellow BCS Busters TCU twice in the Fiesta Bowl. During last season, Boise St. was a near lock for a BCS Bowl all year until an overtime stunner against Nevada knocked them out of contention.
 
There lies the issue.
 
Should a team with the impressive credentials of Boise St. be dropped from major bowl contention because of a single loss? A three-point loss in overtime at that, and against a ranked team in Nevada. Boise’s season was disregarded due to their conference – the Western Atlantic Conference, a non-AQ conference. It wasn’t Boise’s first snub from BCS selection either, in 2004 an 11-0 record and #9 ranking wasn’t enough to earn them a spot in a BCS Bowl, as well as a 12-0 season in 2008. In fact, they ended the 2004 season as the only undefeated team in College Football, yet didn’t earn a spot in the National Title game (which hosted a one-loss Florida Gators squad).
 
The common criticism against Boise St. and other successful teams from non-AQ conferences, is the lack of competition they face year-round. After all, a team that spends the year beating push-overs wouldn’t be able to hang with an SEC team used to playing the very best on an almost weekly basis, right? Not quite. Boise’s season opening blowout of SEC powerhouse Georgia seems to have finally opened people’s eyes to just how good mid-major teams can be.
 
Currently 2-0, and ranked 4th in the nation will this be the year that BCS polls finally invite Boise St. into the National Championship game? Or will the constantly underappreciated Broncos find themselves snubbed by voters once again?
 
Only time will tell, but at this point it’s hard to argue just how competitive non-AQ teams are capable of being.