We're CBS. We have an $800 million connection to SEC football, which means we're in bed with the BCS. That's a fact, and lots of you know that fact, which means it would be transparent and even inappropriate for me to sit here and cackle coldly for Boise State to lose on Monday night to Virginia Tech.
So instead, I'll just ask nicely.
|Chris Petersen's team has one tough test before a three-month cruise through the dreadful WAC. (Getty Images)|
It's nothing personal. Honest. I don't dislike Boise State or Boise State coach Chris Petersen, even if some of you in Idaho might recall a brief confrontation I had with Petersen last year on a conference call. If you're a conspiracy theorist, congratulations: There's another conspiracy for you. In addition to the SEC connection here at CBS -- plus I attended the University of Florida! -- Petersen and I butted heads, briefly, on a phone call last year ... so this year I'm getting even by rooting against the Broncos.
Problem with that theory is, I have notoriously bad phone etiquette. I also butted heads once on a phone call with Mike Krzyzewski. So the conspiracy theory falls apart there, because Krzyzewski coaches Duke and Duke beat Butler for the 2010 national basketball title and Boise State has been called the 2010 football season's equivalent to Butler, and since I once butted heads with Coach K that means I should, um ... now I'm confused.
So how about this. How about we just stick with the facts here?
And the fact is this:
If Boise State beats Virginia Tech, the Broncos almost certainly will play for the national championship this season, and that's going to kill me. It's going to kill lots of fans of college football. Call us BCS snobs, call us front-runners, call us realists. Say we're stupid vestiges of the past, digging a moat around the BCS castle and guarding it with our alligator mouth and hummingbird ass.
Say what you want. I don't care. This needs to be said, and because the politically correct police now watch over college football, nobody else will say it. So I will:
Boise State has to lose Monday night, because Boise State has to be stopped.
Well, it's not necessarily Boise State that has to be stopped. It's the myth of Boise State. The myth that a team from a league as bad as the Western Athletic Conference can win one tough game all year -- maybe two if we're counting a Sept. 25 date with an Oregon State team that lost Saturday to TCU -- and then ride the wave of a junior varsity schedule all the way into the BCS title game.
That's silly. And it can't happen. But so many people -- media, coaches -- have bought into the Boise State myth that we're almost there. Over the years Boise State has lobbied us into submission, creeping its way into the preseason Top 25, then into the regular-season top 10, then into a BCS game twice in the past four years, and finally this season all the way into legitimate range of the BCS title game by virtue of its preseason ranking and crappy schedule that will suck it inevitably toward the title game like a black hole.
|Boise State-Virginia Tech|
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The two human polls in the BCS formula are the coaches poll, which ranked Boise State fifth in the preseason, and the Harris Interactive, whose voters do nothing but mimic the coaches and media polls. And the media poll, unofficial but still powerful, has Boise State third. (The poll here at CBSSports.com also has Boise State third, so if my company really is in bed with the BCS, we suck at sex.)
So when the first Harris Poll comes out after the fourth week, assuming Boise State has beaten Virginia Tech and Oregon State, the Broncos will be in the top five there as well.
And after that, it's all downhill. Look at last season. Boise State opened against Oregon, a legitimately tough game, and won. And then it played 12 more regular-season games, none of them against a team ranked in the top 50. Seven of Boise State's next 12 foes were ranked outside the top 100.
Didn't matter. Boise State already had won the only game on its schedule that mattered, and coasted from there.
And that's nonsense. Literally, it's nonsensical. It makes no sense that schools like Texas and Oklahoma and (yes) Florida and Alabama and Miami and Ohio State and Wisconsin -- and on and on -- have to play teams in the top 50, or even Top 25, throughout the season to stay alive for the BCS title game.
Boise State? It has to beat Virginia Tech. That's it. That's all.
And people are fine with that? I don't get it. But I don't hold any of this against Boise State. The Broncos obviously are in a tough spot. They play in a weak conference, which isn't their fault. They have a difficult time scheduling good nonconference opposition, which isn't their fault. Good teams don't want to visit Boise State because a good team might just lose on that blue field. So Boise State has to make do with the occasional Virginia Tech or Oregon or Oregon State, and then spackle the rest of its weak schedule with teams like Toledo and Wyoming.
All Boise State can do is play the best schedule it can play, win its games and hope for compassion. Used to be, compassion meant any BCS bowl. But now that Boise State has played in two of those, and won both, that's not enough. Now the goal is a spot in the national title game. And with its preseason ranking where it is, that goal is within reach. Boise State fans are happy, and that's fine. Be happy.
But don't expect everyone else to be happy. For a lot of people like me, people who have been cowed into silence, Boise State isn't a cause. It's a team. Just a team. A good team? Of course. A great team? Maybe. But at the end of the season, there are a lot of great teams in college football.
And to stay in the national title conversation, all of those great teams had to win game after brutal game after brutal game.
All of them but one.
That one is Boise, and its saga threatens to dominate another season. So on behalf of everyone else -- the BCS bullies and football front-runners, the jackals who love the status quo because we're mouth-breathing Neanderthals -- I'm asking Virginia Tech to do us all a favor.
Beat Boise State.