|Boise State running back Drew Wright scores a touchdown against Toledo in the second half. (US Presswire)|
TOLEDO, Ohio -- With the national audience almost completely to itself on Friday night, Boise State didn't play like a BCS title contender. Or did it? Honestly I can't decide. I don't know what I just watched, but I'll bet that puts me in the minority -- because I bet most of you are convinced you know exactly what this game meant.
If you believe in Boise State, you saw the Broncos' 40-15 rout of Toledo as validation of what you already thought. You saw a demolition, on the road, of a salty MAC team that put a scare into powerhouse Ohio State six days earlier. You saw an offense that put up more than 600 yards, led by a legit Heisman candidate in Kellen Moore and a legit future NFL running back in Doug Martin. You saw what you wanted to see -- you saw Boise State do it again, win another one. Win huge. And what more can Boise State do than that?
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But if you don't believe in Boise State, you saw the Broncos' disappointing 40-15 victory against Toledo as validation that this team just isn't that good. You saw a game that was closer than the final score would suggest, what with Toledo committing two turnovers deep in the red zone and dropping an easy touchdown pass on a third drive. You saw Toledo throw for more than 200 yards against a Boise State defense that tackles terribly, and you saw Toledo do it with a pair of mediocre quarterbacks. You saw Boise State fail to dominate a team from the MAC, and what kind of BCS contender fails to dominate a team from the MAC?
Boise State is the Fox News of college football. It's the Barack Obama. It's a known entity -- something obvious, something undeniable.
Depending on your point of view, that is.
People who love Boise or hate the BCS, or both, badly want this BCS buster to bust the BCS once and for all -- giving college football the playoff that we, as fans, would love to see.
Everyone else wants Boise State to please lose and go away. Three more months of Boise Boise Boise? We've seen this show repeatedly. It's on every weekend, every fall, every year. It's The Boise Bunch, and the plot is predictable.
It's crazy, when you think about it. Boise State is the most black-and-white football program in the country, people lined up one side of the aisle or the other.
But after watching the Broncos for myself for the first time in person, I'm starting to see the shades of gray.
If this is where I'm supposed to thunder a definitive opinion onto your computer screen, sorry. I can't do it. Very little is definitive about this Boise State team or program, much like very little was definitive about the game Friday night.
Boise State really did get 455 yards passing and five touchdowns from Kellen Moore, who is one of the two most scarily accurate quarterbacks I've ever seen. He doesn't throw the ball so much as he places it, like so, into the hands of his receivers. He probably won't make it in the NFL, not with that league's desire for taller quarterbacks (Moore is listed at 6 feet) and stronger arms, but that's an argument for another day. Today Moore is a college quarterback, and the only college quarterback I've seen with this kind of accuracy was 1996 Heisman winner (and national champion) Danny Wuerffel.
Boise State really does have one of the most diverse offenses in college football. Coach Chris Petersen made this program what it was as the offensive coordinator -- unless you think former Boise coach Dan Hawkins was the mastermind, brother -- and he has taken it to new heights as head coach. While most teams have a single system they run, whether it's the shotgun or the wildcat or the power I, Petersen has a system that uses all of that, often on consecutive plays. Preparing for Boise State is like preparing for Ohio State and Arkansas. You better focus on the spread. But you better focus on the middle too. You better focus everywhere, which is impossible. So you better just get used to Boise State scoring.
And Boise State scored six touchdowns Friday against Toledo. But Boise State missed two extra points, committed nine penalties, fumbled once, threw an interception and needed a friendly review on instant replay to avoid losing a fumble at the goal line. Boise State was sloppy on offense, porous on defense and unimpressive punting and defending the kickoff.
Boise State was all that -- and still Boise State won by 25. On the road. Against a team that nearly won at Ohio State last week.
So I'm telling you -- I don't know what to tell you. I believe Boise State has the offense of a national champion but the defense of a lower-level SEC team. I believe Boise State will end the regular season with the 12-0 record of a national contender, compiled against a schedule that will have nobody in the Top 25 at season's end.
I believe we're in for another three months of Boise Boise Boise.
I believe The Boise Bunch is the show that could save college football from the BCS.
But I believe I'll turn the channel, just the same.