There has been a lot of talk about Boise State's schedule. Boise State fans point to the Oregon game while detractors point to the number of dogs on the schedule. This got me to thinking. Would we have been better off just leaving UC Davis off the schedule? The 13th game is optional for teams traveling to Hawaii, allowing them to schedule an extra home game to gain revenue and mitigate the expense of a trip to the Islands.
The win over Oregon was a big win and propelled the Broncos to new heights in both human and computer polls. As the season progresses, that game has less and less weight as the schedule becomes diluted with the likes of Hawaii and San Jose State.
How do the computer polls adjust their formulas in order to compare some teams that play twelve games to others that play thirteen? My guess is that they average out their ranking formula over the number of games played. The Broncos' denominator becomes 13 where it is 12 for most other teams. If UC Davis were left off the schedule, the Oregon game would carry one-twelfth (1/12) the weight rather than one-thirteenth (1/13). That could be enough of an impact to move the Broncos up several slots in the computer polls.
One of the BCS polls, The Colley Matrix, allows visitors to play god by entering hypothetical situations into the web site to see how the ranking would change. Removing the UC Davis game, moved Boise State up four spots from #11 to #7 in the Colley Matrix. Similar movement in other computer polls could be enough to vault the Broncos back in front of TCU in the overall BCS standings.
Money talks, so what is it saying? With a crowd of 32,500 at an average of $40 a ticket, the Broncos brought in $1.3 Million in gate revenue for the UC Davis game, Add in another $500k for concession, parking, etc and the game probably come in a little under $2 Million. The difference in the Broncos' take home from a BCS payout alone would be over $5 Million. Tack on the added publicity that comes with a BCS game and let's hope we never schedule another FCS opponent again.
The graph represents the historical volume of search hits for Boise State Football on Google. Not even "the punch heard 'round the world" come close to the attention the Broncos received from their Fiesta Bowl visit.