SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Boise State coach Chris Petersen looked at the rankings Tuesday and loved what he saw.
There, tucked in among all the college football powerhouses -- right behind LSU and Southern California and ahead of Wisconsin and Michigan -- was Boise State.
Petersen's Broncos (13-0) finished fifth in the final Associated Press Top 25, released early Tuesday morning after Florida's 41-14 victory over Ohio State in the BCS National Championship Game.
"We weren't surprised," he said in a telephone interview. "I think it's a pretty fair ranking."
The Broncos, from the Western Athletic Conference, even got a first-place vote in the AP poll, the only one that didn't go to No. 1 Florida. It came from Greg Archuleta of the Albuquerque Journal in New Mexico.
"They're the only unbeaten in Division I-A and because there's no playoff every week is an elimination for these teams, and Boise State was the only one that made it through," he said.
Archuleta said he labored with his decision because Florida was so impressive, but felt Boise State would be good enough on a given day to beat the Gators.
"If they played 100 times Florida might win 95, but we'll never know because there's no playoff system," Archuleta said.
Petersen has never lobbied for a shot at the national title. Before and after his team's exhilarating 43-42 overtime victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl last week, the coach said he was just happy his team got the chance to play on a big stage. He said that Boise State's schedule was not as difficult as Florida's or Ohio State's.
He didn't waver from that Tuesday.
"I think there are certain conferences that from top to bottom are very strong," he said. "Every game is a dogfight in the SEC, the Big Ten. I still think those conferences have the edge."
Boise State finished sixth in the USA Today coaches poll, in which Petersen is a voter. He had his team fourth.
"There's so much subjectivity it's hard to figure out who goes where," he said.
Boise State made plenty of new fans after Petersen reached deep into his playbook to beat the Sooners on New Year's Day. The Broncos tied the game with a hook-and-ladder and won it with a Statue of Liberty play. And tailback Ian Johnson pulled another stunner when the game was over, proposing to his cheerleader girlfriend on the field after scoring the winning two-point conversion.
Boise State's surprising run during a season without an undefeated national champion is sure to be used as evidence that major college football needs a playoff system.
But Petersen isn't pushing to break up the BCS.
"I don't have a strong opinion one way or another," he said. "I'm good with whatever the powers that be decide is best for college football."