San Jose could not match up much worse against Boise State, which is why anyone and everyone is taking the Broncos in a blowout. Except maybe Coach Pete. He's not really into that stuff.
Is the final margin the biggest mystery of tomorrow night's game? Should it even matter? I discuss that topic and tie up some other loose ends after the jump. Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts as well.
RUTS: Good, bad, necessary, or not?
RUTS, for those of you not into Internet slang, is acronymspeak for Running Up The Score. And that is what a lot of people are expecting the Boise State football team to do on Saturday.
In which case, have they never met the Boise State football team before?
Running up the score is not in the Broncos' nature, at least not intentionally. The Broncos have put up 59 and 57 points in the last two weeks, but it's not like they were trying. The offensive starters were on the bench after the first series of the second half. Blame those bloated scorelines on Jarvis Hodge's running and Austin Dantin's Shea McClellin blind spot.
Still, you can't go a week without people wondering about margin of victory. Coach Pete's benevolence paired with San Jose State's incompetence provides for the biggest (only?) storyline of the week: How much will Boise State win by? There's a score prediction thread for that, but I'd like to look at whether or not the final score should even matter.
Running up the score is good
It looks good to outsiders. It helps in score comparisons with other opponents.
Running up the score is bad
It is unsportsmanlike. It is mean. It places undue risk on starters getting injured.
Running up the score is necessary
College football is a beauty pageant. Style points matter when all people see is your final score.
Running up the score is not necessary
Oregon beat Wazzu by 20 points last week and didn't fall in the polls. Boise State beat NMSU by 59 points and did fall in the polls. Winning margin matters much less than perceived opponent strength and perceived conference strength.
Here is how San Jose's other Top 25 games went this year:
@ Alabama 48-3
@ Wisconsin 27-14
@ Utah 56-3
@ Nevada 35-13
The biggest margin was Utah's 53-point win in Utah. The smallest margin was Wisconsin's 13-point win in Wisconsin. Ideally, it would be great if Boise State beat SJSU by a similar score to Utah's since the Broncos have much more of a burden on them to blow out teams than do SEC schools or Big Ten schools (seriously, Wisconson, 13 points?).
That said, let's not go all Chicken Little on ourselves if this game isn't a laugher halfway through the first quarter. What Coach Pete understands and few fans do is that football is a game of a lot of skill and a lot of luck. You can gameplan your way to a comfortable win, but I'm not sure you can gameplan for a blowout. That takes some good bounces of the ball and some lucky breaks. Three of Toledo's five turnovers were fumbles recovered by the Broncos, and fumbles are typically 50/50. Two interceptions bounced right off the hands of Rockets defenders. Sure, the Broncos still would have won if those breaks didn't go their way. But by 43 points? Hard to say.
Boise State is going to get its fair share of breaks because they play with such intensity and discipline. You make your own luck, as they say.
But to expect 50-point wins week-in and week-out with the grace that Coach Pete shows in the second half is short sighted. This team can dominate you in so many different ways, but the game of football can do its fair share of equalizing. Control what you can control and let the chips fall where they may. If they fall with a 50-point blowout, great. If they all with a 28-point win, I'm okay with that, too.
Feel free to let me know whether you agree or disagree.
Why yes, John Saunders, we are taking Public Enemy No. 1 applications now
Incredible — John Saunders just said he's not sure beating TCU in the Fiesta Bowl counts as a BCS win.
Yikes. That man is an idiot.
The San Jose State - Boise State game in a nutshell:
The matchup: A perfect game won’t be good enough for SJSU — the Broncos will have to participate in their own demise. And really, how often does that happen?
Boise State's average margin of victory the last four times they've been to San Jose: 16 points. This is Exhibit A for why past precedent does not equal future results.
Here's an X-factor for you. A lot of Bronco players come from California, so there will be many players' families in attendance tomorrow night. I assume that the Tony Romo - Jessica Simpson effect won't be an issue.
What do you think about the importance of Boise State winning big on Saturday? Is John Saunders a crazy person? Is there any chance that Boise State loses this one? Share your thoughts in the comments.