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CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Boise State's dense doubters proven wrong once again

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Ask Georgia if Boise State's Doug Martin could play in the SEC. (US Presswire)  
Ask Georgia if Boise State's Doug Martin could play in the SEC. (US Presswire)  

The amazing thing is, it's not bitter. Instead, Boise State is almost giddy as it prepares to be dissed once again.

"I love playing early in the season in games like this," Boise State's Byron Hout said following Saturday's gouging of Georgia. "It sets the tone for the rest of the season. It's a taste of what a big bowl game can be like with this type of atmosphere. If you can do the right thing you can find yourself in another event like this at the end of the season."

Boise State walked into the belly of the beast for the third time since 2008 and beat a BCS conference team away from home. It has won more BCS bowls (two) than Alabama (one). Its quarterback is 39-2 as a starter and has been a Heisman finalist. Heck, it has even been baptized into the big time as it waits for penalties from the NCAA.

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By this time the Broncos players, coaches and fans should be indignant. There are no questions left. Looking for a 14th team in the SEC after Texas A&M joins? Yeah, Boise is that good. This is not a recent development. That Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma is almost five years old.

News flash: Boise State is a major ... college ... program. With that comes certain privileges. One of them is the benefit of the doubt. It found it last year reaching as high as No. 2 (No. 3 in the BCS) before a crushing loss to Nevada. Still, it was probably going to take a loss by a combination of Auburn, TCU and Oregon to get in the title game.

We're headed that way again. Assuming Boise runs the table, it is probably going to have to hope for a loss from Oklahoma and either Alabama or LSU (which play each other on Nov. 5). Something tells me in late November we're going to be arguing schedule strength again instead of the eye test.

College football aristocracy is arrogant. It argues that Boise wouldn't make it through an SEC schedule but fails to account for the recruits that would be available if Boise played in the SEC. It makes fun of the blue turf. It has trouble pronouncing Zabransky.

Then it gets punked on the sacred site where the SEC crowns it champion. Most of all, it doesn't tolerate newcomers because they're ... newcomers. Boise State has been good for 10 years. Michigan/Texas/Notre Dame/Alabama have been developing their brand for 10 decades. How that matters in 2011 someone will have to explain to me.

After Boise's impressive win over Georgia, the national discussion begins again. Are these guys worthy? We went through the same thing the past three seasons when Boise went a combined 38-2 while finishing 13th, 4th and 7th in the coaches' poll.

It was the pedigree more than the record. Boise beat a BCS school or two at the beginning of the season and then feasted on WAC competition. Respect came grudgingly. Reality was on film, something coaches who voted in their poll failed to study. They weren't the only ones.

Chris Petersen should be throwing a clipboard against a wall by now. But the only thing Boise's coach hates more than talking to the media is talking about his team's BCS chances. Hopefully, we've moved past the silly "worthy" question to the more obvious: Can Boise play for it all?

Of course it can. It is once again in the top five. The move up to the Mountain West should help. It's a league fighting for temporary automatic BCS status in 2012 and 2013. That's why Boise made the move. The old prejudices should be gone. Playing that Mountain West schedule, TCU was able to finish No. 2 last season.

If you don't think Boise has a chance you've been staring at Maryland's uniforms for too long. The question of talent is no longer a question. The best compliment to be paid to the Broncos after Saturday night is to say Kellen Moore would be the best quarterback in the SEC. That's because he just might be the best quarterback in the country.

Tell me that any SEC program wouldn't take tailback Doug Martin. Tell me that defensive tackle Billy Winn wouldn't fit in the conference that produces the best defensive linemen.

The BCS has given definition to an unfortunate caste system separating the haves from the have-nots. It has also helped lift Utah into the Pac-12, TCU into the Big East and Boise State into the national discussion.

The BCS is evil; the BCS is beneficial. Boise State is that good. Boise State doesn't deserve a shot. Let's make Georgia decide. Better yet, make Michigan/Texas/Notre Dame/Alabama play the Broncos.

So far, they haven't.

Read Dennis Dodd's national notes on his blog Dodds and Ends


Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
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