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College Football: My Problem with Boise State

By: Steve Kaczynski

I normally use my weekly Sunday column to write about the Buckeyes, but this week, I have a bone to pick. I want people to understand that despite tweets like this one:

Not a hater, just calling it how I see it.

I’m not trying to be a hater. I’ll get to an argument about football and their schedule below, but I think I have a valid point in my tweet. When the Broncos busted on to the scene, they were considered a gimmicky team that was a lovable underdog. Flash forward five years, and the Broncos, their fans, and ESPN analysts are telling me that is not the case anymore. They’re all telling me we need to take Boise state seriously now, and they’re not a cute little gimmicky team.

Issue #1: Welcome to the Circus

I say: If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, then by golly…it’s probably a duck. Boise State plays on a hideous blue field, while wearing blue uniforms. Name me any legit college football team that does anything like that. You can’t. None of them do. It shouldn’t even be allowed. I was pretty amused when Brent Musburger asked Kirk Herbstreit if Ohio State should play on a red field. Herbstreit, a proud Buckeye alum, said “No” before Musburger could finish asking the question. He knows that self-respecting schools shouldn’t resort to trickery. To top it all off, on the aforementioned gimmicky blue field, they actually have a dog that fetches the tee after kickoffs.

If I were trying to be taken seriously in a job interview, I wouldn’t show up in a sleeveless shirt and a pair of gym shorts.If you want to be taken seriously as a football program, you probably shouldn’t resort to home field gimmicks and have a canine that does tricks during the game. They hurt their own cause with these quirks.

Issue #2: Weak Competition

With all of that said, I actually think that they’re a solid football team who can play with just about anyone in the country. The problem is, they don’t play enough real teams to prove it. Boise supporters will note that in recent history, they’ve won every big game against a BCS opponent. They’d be right, but the problem is, this is such a rare occurrence. In the past four years (prior to this season) Boise State is 4-1 against teams in the big six conferences. Good record, but it’s only five games. Every other team in a BCS conference has played at least 32 games against BCS competition. That’s a lot more tough competition. Below, I’ve posted Boise State’s schedule from last year. Outside of Oregon (and MAYBE TCU), every game is a joke. The other 12 games are literally against teams that programs like Ohio State schedule as cupcakes.

Cupcakes and tomato cans

Yesterday, Ohio State scored 73 points against Eastern Michigan. Imagine if OSU got to play Eastern Michigan 12 games each year.The stats would be through the roof, we’d have a serious Heisman candidate every year, and the Buckeyes would only have to play competitive football twice per season. Unfortunately, Boise State lacks the academic standards and number of sports teams to join a major conference like the Pac-10. That means the only way we’ll get to see them play real competition is if they schedule BCS quality competition for the rest of their non-conference schedule. I don’t expect them to do that, and it’s not fair for anyone to ask them to. Under the current BCS system, it’s advantageous for teams to schedule a bunch of tomato cans to try and go undefeated.

However, in my opinion, it’s just not fair to a team like Alabama or Ohio State to get bumped out for Boise.  With their schedules, they simply have more hurdles to jump. I can’t say for certain how Boise would fare in the SEC or Big Ten, but playing that schedule would give us a better idea how good they really are. Alabama, for example, played Arkansas on Saturday and will play Florida next week. Would Boise go unbeaten if they had to play top ten teams two weeks straight? It’s much easier when you take on a top-tier team, and the following week, you get to play a cupcake.

At the end of the day, I’d love to see Boise State in the title game. So, despite my criticisms, good luck Boise. Hopefully you’ll get your shot at the Buckeyes in Tempe for all the marbles.

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