Too many off-field things lately. So, let's actually talk football, and have some substantive non-SEC discussion. Specifically, the fraud known as the Boise State Broncos.
Some of us have suspended their credulousness, and do not give the Broncos the benefit of the doubt to get it done week in and week out. Some outright hate Boise, and don't believe that their home dominance is a product of fair play. Others are bullish on BSU (perhaps we can turn these folks around) . Others (like me) remain dubious that the Broncos can get it done in an honest to god, regular season game --and preferably against a team outside the PAC 10.
This Labor Day, those in the 'nay' camp regarding BSU will likely prevail if history is any indicator, as BSU is likely going to get speed-bagged by the Virginia Tech Hokies. Let's go to the numbers shall we?
More after the jump
In the past decade, the decade of dominance in the WAC and Big West, Boise State has had some marquee wins; notably last year's home win in the Falcon Punch game over the #16 Oregon Ducks, the 2007 Fiesta Bowl overtime win over the #7 Oklahoma Sooners, and last year's 17-10 triumph in the "BCS Buster game that no one wanted to see" over the #3 ranked TCU Horned Frogs.
But, what comes up must go down, and the downs have been significant, particularly on the road, and especially against most teams from AQ conferences.
Chew on this, In the past decade, Boise has won exactly one game in nine tries on the road against BCS teams: 1 and 8. Those results would indicated that BSU played some tough squads right? Crappy luck of the draw against good teams in payday games? However, the numbers do not bear those assumptions out. Let's take these losses in turn shall we; let's delve in the Broncos shall we?
In 2000, the eventual Big West champs went 10-2. The two losses? The only two games played against BCS conference opponents: at Arkansas (38-31), and at Washington State (42-34). That seems respectable right? Arkansas is an SEC team, and Washington State had some success under Mike Price. Not really. Arkansas went 6-6 that year, and Wazzou was a pitiful 4-7. Neither were ranked at any point in the year, and neither finished ranked. These were the only BCS AQ teams the Broncos played.
In 2001, the Broncos went 8-4: There were some hiccups to be expected; Dirk Koetter had just left for the ASU Sun Devils and Dan Hawkins took over. Additionally, BSU was leaving the Big West for the larger, sorta' big league WAC conference. First game, season opener, on the road against #23 South Carolina. South Carolina ran roughshod over the Broncos to the tune of 32-13 (So. Car ended the season at 9-3 and ranked #13). Boise went back home to face the Washington State Cougars, this time on the Smurf Turf. The result? The same as 2000, as Washington State rang up a three touchdown beating of Boise 41-20 (WSU finished 10-2 that year, ranked #10). Respectable losses for Hawk's first year. But, losses nevertheless, and these were the only BCS AQ teams Boise played.
The 2002 Boise State Broncos got on the map in a big way, going 12-1, and finished ranked #15: But, there was, as expected, a blemish. The solitary loss was on the road, again to the Razorbacks. This time, however, it wasn't even close, as Arkansas annihilated Hawkins' Broncos 41-14. This was not a world-beating Arkansas team either; the Hogs finished unranked at 9-5. It was the only BCS AQ squad BSU faced. (See the trend here?)
Boise is humming along now, on the national radar and they do not disappoint, going 13-1 and finishing #16. Another loss? Again?Was it a team that spit vinegar and pissed flames? Not really. It was a 2 point loss to an 8-5 Oregon State Beaver team...that finished, predictably, unranked. (Sound familiar? See also 2000, 2001, 2002).
Boise, the WAC machine, again coasts through the regular season, ending at 12-0. Yea! Perfect season finally for the Broncos. This time, the first in five years, the Broncos beat an AQ team, with a three point home win, return trip by the Oregon State Beavers. (Finished 7-5, unranked). But, perfection was not to be attained, as the first ranked team BSU played, #7 Louisville, they lose (44-41), and finish ranked #12.
Boise finally has the AQ monkey off its back and enters 2005 with big expectations: Meet Georgia. And what an ass-kicking it was. On the road, two teams ranked in the teens, and BSU gets plastered 48-13...and it wasn't that close. Boise would go on play two more BCS AQ teams that year...and lose both. First to an unranked 7-5 Oregon State team on the road, and, at home, against an unranked 7-5 Boston College teams. Three AQs faces, lost to all three. The pattern continues, and BSU with four losses finishes unranked
Boise State's best team to date, the 13-0 2006 team: No losses here; Oklahoma, with two disappointing losses in the regular season, have no chance at the National Title. Up by two tds in the waning moments, the turn off the gas. And, to Boise's credit, the Broncos pull out the
Auburn, highschool playbook stops and win one of the more exciting bowl games of the decade, culminating in a hook and lateral, statue of liberty and marriage proposal. One AQ faced, one win, one marriage, and a final rank of #9.
2007 arrives and BSU is on top of the world. So, let's just play one BCS AQ: On the road, against Washington. The result? A two touchdown loss....and it wasn't to a great PAC 10 squad either. The Huskies won just 4 games that year, finishing 4-9. And, BSU is again exposed as not-ready-for-prime time. BSU would go on to lose to Hawaii and to East Carolina, finishing 10-3 and deservedly unranked.
2008, let's try this again. Off a disappointing season (and a decade of futility against AQ teams), BSU goes on the road and, surprise!, beats a ranked team...from an AQ conference, defeating Oregon 37-32. That would be the only AQ team the Broncos faced all year and the Broncos would finish 9th in the country at 12-1. Oregon wouldn't fare so well....that ranking would prove to be illusory as the Ducks would lose 4 games and finish unranked.
2009, you may have heard about. The Ducks...again. This time on the Smurf Turf. In one of the ugliest games (and after game incidents) of the year, BSU slogs out a 14-9 home win against then-#16 Oregon. BSU would face no other AQ team the rest of the year; they would defeat a grand total of two ranked squads (including another mid major) and yet would finish the season ranked 4th, behind only Alabama, Florida and Texas.
Which brings us to this year, the silly season wherein nearly everyone, including the venerable Phil Steele (#2!!!), predicts that BSU is a MNC contender. But history does not bear that out. What Boise's decade of dominance has shown is exactly what skeptical perception would reflect. Namely: The Broncos destroy cupcakes; the Broncos win about 30% of the time against above-average to very bad PAC 10 teams. But, if we're talking the regular season, and if we're talking a true road game, then Boise aren't broncos at all; they are paper tigers. More importantly, against physical squads (e.g., the SEC) the Broncos are a perfect 0-fer.
This Labor Day, nothing will happen to change the skeptic's view of the Broncos. So, hate on, brothers and sisters. Hate on.