The Boise State Broncos are ranked #5 in the AP Poll and in the USA Today Coaches Poll. My question is-- Why? Do the Broncos have a conceivable chance of playing for a national title?
If they end up 13-0, the math says they should if certain scenarios play out-- but somehow I get the feeling they won't, even if, the scenarios play out.
First off all, there are 3 SEC teams ranked ahead of them (#1 Florida, #3 Alabama and #4 LSU). Only 1 of those 3 will survive in the SEC, which is good for Boise State. Florida plays at LSU and LSU plays at Alabama. If LSU survives those two games-- then they're in business, but I highly doubt it. So once LSU gets knocked out, Boise State should creep up to #4.
Ok, lets continue--
Then there's the Big 12 showdown between #2 Texas and #8 Oklahoma. If Oklahoma beats Texas and Boise State continues winning, then the Broncos should move up to #3-- right?
Then #1 Florida and potentially #2 Alabama (or LSU) play the SEC championship game and one more gets knocked out. An unbeaten Boise State by now should move up to #2-- right?
Mathematically they should, but in my opinion, it ain't going to happen.
If Texas wins, obviously they'll remain #2, but if Oklahoma wins, I can see the Sooners leapfrogging Boise State even though the Broncos will still be unbeaten.
Even USC and Virginia Tech, if they continue winning will probably leapfrog Boise State.
This notion that a team from a lower-tier conference has a shot at a national championship, to me, is a fallacy. For teams who don't play in the power conferences (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 10 and the Big East) a spot in the BCS Championship Game is just wishful thinking. Even the Big East has become a lower-tier conference. They have two teams (Cincinnati and South Florida) who are 4-0 and Cincinnati is only ranked #10 and South Florida isn't even ranked.
So I never quite understood why they even bother including teams (except of course for Notre Dame) outside the power conferences in the rankings. Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt and WAC should have a separate league and play for their own title.
I know it sounds cruel but it's a reality. With the strength of schedule component in the BCS formula, for a school from these lower conferences to play in the championship game would require a complete collapse of every school in the power 6. They may get 1 spot in a BCS Bowl Game-- but that's about it.
If Boise State goes undefeated and Oklahoma knocks Texas out of the #2 spot, technically they should play in the national title game against whoever comes out on top in the SEC. At least that's what you would assume by their #5 ranking-- but somehow I get the feeling they'll be leapfrogged by a couple of one loss teams.
So my question remains--why are they in the rankings in the first place?
Photos courtesy of the AP