MeanBobMean's FanPost, an episode of Scrubs, and a particularly slow day at work got me thinking: How bad have injuries been for the Broncos this season?
Turns out, Boise State has had it worse than any other non-BCS bowl team, far worse than their bowl opponent TCU, and the worst of any undefeated team in the country. I thought only the big schools were supposed to have this kind of depth. Join me after the jump for the details, and leave your thoughts in the comments.
(Double note: Austin Pettis is still questionable for the Fiesta Bowl with a broken leg. Coach Pete joked this week about Pettis running routes already. There's a little bit of truth to every bit of kidding?)
Boise State vs. TCU
Let's begin by comparing Boise State's Fiesta Bowl injury report to TCU's Fiesta Bowl injury report, which ends up being a similar comparison to Boise State's outright WAC championships and Pat Hill's outright WAC championships.
Cory Yriarte C Out For Season (knee)
Andy Silsby RB Out For Season (ACL)
DJ Harper RB Out For Season (leg)
Daron Mackey LB Out For Season (leg)
Richie Brockel TE Out For Season (foot)
Tyler Shoemaker WR Questionable Fiesta Bowl (hernia)
Austin Pettis WR Questionable Fiesta Bowl (ankle)
Derrell Acrey LB Questionable Fiesta Bowl (leg)
Health plays a big role in the success of a team, and while I'm not saying that TCU went undefeated because they remained healthy, I am saying that it didn't hurt. This would be the point in the story where someone says that playing a WAC schedule also has a role in the success of a team. Good one. I haven't heard that one before.
The Broncos are also most snakebit when it comes to a comparison of the country's undefeated teams. Take a look at the injury reports headed into the BCS bowl games:
- Boise State - 8 injured players
- Texas - 7
- Alabama - 4
- Cincinnati - 1
- TCU - 0
Attrition has hurt Boise State more than any other undefeated school this season heading into the bowl games. Also, perhaps now we know why Texas played so poorly in the Big XII championship game.
The beat-up Broncos continue to stand out when propped up alongside all of the FBS bowl teams. Following is a chart of injury reports for bowl participants:
Among non-BCS schools, only Ohio University can match the Broncos for injuries heading into bowl season. The Bobcats finished 9-4 in the MAC.
What it means
Non-BCS schools aren't supposed to be able to overcome injuries like the Broncos have faced this season. At various times, the team's best running back, best linebacker, best blocker, and best wide receiver have missed games due to injuries. Plus, the injury bug took two of the team's five seniors.
The fact that Boise State found a way to stay undefeated through this adversity makes the feat all that more impressive. The coaching staff did a great job filling the gaps, backups did their part in playing bigger roles, and the Broncos turned out to be every bit as dominant as they always are.
Even more, this speaks to the increasingly BCS-level depth that Boise State has been able to accrue. The Broncos are by far the deepest team in the WAC. They may be the deepest team in all of the non-BCS. They may have some Pac-10 schools beat in that department. More so than ever, Boise State is built for long-term success with a roster of players who would be stars at most other non-BCS schools.
What is your take?
Is this the deepest team in Boise State history? Why have the Broncos been able to overcome so many injuries? Where would this team be if it were not for those injuries? Weigh in with your opinion in the comments.