Because of the nonsense we all know as the BCS Formula, Boise needs help from other teams to make it to the Promised Land. Some teams pulled through for Boise State this week, while others did not. Join me after the jump for a look at which teams earned a "Dougie", in honor of Doug Martin’s effort and results – and which pulled a "Fresno", in honor of Fresno State’s uncanny ability to underachieve. Plus, vote for which team you believe helped Boise's case most this week. Once again, special thanks to Loque for suggesting the "Dougie Awards". Thank you also to those who passed along kind words and recommendations about the series.
Congratulations to the winner of Week 6’s "Readers’ Choice Dougie Award": Oregon State, who knocked off then #9 Arizona. Who will win this week’s "Readers’ Choice Dougie Award"? Only your vote will tell.
Join me after the jump for a summary of this week’s results – and the opportunity to cast your vote.
What to make of this past week’s results? As Dickens has so famously penned, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Watching another number one ranked team fall was phenomenal news. And we were lucky enough to see our closest BCS chaser (Nebraska) fall as well.
However, Bronco Nation was not as lucky with teams on its own schedule. They had more big losses than wins. Oregon State lost a heartbreaker to Washington, and Nevada pulled a Fresno in Hawaii. Like any cloud though, there is always a silver lining: the Rainbow Warriors now have a good chance to be ranked in the Top 25 when we play them in early November. And Nevada will almost certainly find itself ranked again by the time Turkey Day rolls along.
None of Boise’s WAC opponents played out-of-conference games, so there was no opportunity for the WAC to strengthen - or weaken - its poorly perceived SOS. For the lone intra-conference WAC game that had a serious impact on the Broncos, the Wolfpack dropped out of the Top 25 as quickly as they’d arrived by giving a game to the Rainbow Warriors. Boise’s non-WAC opponents had a mixed week. As previously mentioned, the Beavers lost to the Huskies and fell out of the Top 25, seriously damaging Boise’s SOS, while Toledo and Virginia Tech did their part and won. Wyoming did not pull the historic upset over Utah, but played a good game and kept the final score closer than when we'd played them.
Three undefeated teams lost this weekend, leaving just 9 undefeated – and ranked – squads:
· Michigan State
· Oklahoma State
Summary of Week 7
The Spartans did not present much of a challenge for our Broncos, but the game was clean and void of any serious unsportsmanlike behavior. Both teams worked hard, showed respect for the other, and had fun. Spartan fans played the good host, neither team had any serious injuries, the weather was comfortable and dry, and our Broncos easily covered the 39-point spread. Another perfect Saturday. I hope to never start taking these weekends for granted.
In more somber news, our broader college football community suffered a horrible tragedy on Saturday as Rutgers’ DT Eric LeGrand was paralyzed from the neck down after a fluke tackle. Doctors performed emergency surgery on his spine and are cautious regarding his recovery. Let’s hope Eric makes a full and complete recovery. Bronco Nation is behind him and praying for the best.
Games that Hurt the Broncos (Fresno Candidates)
#24 Oregon State, losing to Washington (34-35)
Why? As one of our two shiniest wins, it’s critical that the Beavers have a solid season. The Beavers not only lost, they looked vulnerable – very vulnerable – at the end of a hard-fought game. Granted, Jake Locker can carve up the best of defenses, but the Beavers’ D almost appeared happy to watch Mr. Locker run up his stats while they slipped and slid their way around the field. The remaining PAC-10 scares me.
Western Michigan, losing to Notre Dame (20-44)
Why? While keeping it respectable, the Western Michigan Broncos did not do our Broncos any favors. Two of Boise’s opponents beat Western Michigan (Toldedo & Moscow’s Miserables). A weakened WMU chips away at Boise’s SOS.
BYU, falling to TCU (3-31)
Why? A convincing win only boosts TCU’s credibility. The Cougs gave wins to Nevada and Utah State earlier in the season, but did not help them – or BSU – this weekend.
Iowa State, losing to #6 Oklahoma (0-52)
Why? Oklahoma is one of just nine other undefeated teams remaining. Losing by more than twice the 24-point spread did not help Boise State. At all.
Boston College, falling to #16 Florida State (19-24)
Why? Despite more than covering the 21-point spread, a win’s a win for FSU. The better the ‘Noles look, the better the Sooners SOS. The Eagles had a win within their grasp – but failed to capitalize on Ponder’s 4 turnovers – and let a season-changing upset slip right through.
Michigan, losing to #15 Iowa (28-38)
Why? Although a 3-point underdog, the Wolverines had an opportunity to not only save RichRod’s job (until next week anyhow), but also put Denard Robinson back in the Heisman race. Instead, Denard had a very pedestrian first half, managed to aggravate an injury, and watched both his Heisman hopes and the game go down the drain from the sidelines during the remainder of the game.
North Carolina State, losing to East Carolina (27-33 OT)
Why? Having risen to #28 in the AP Poll, NC State was poised to break into the Top 25 and give Virginia Tech more credibility. Alas, the Wolfpack discovered new ways to not become a football powerhouse by falling to cross-state younger brother East Carolina.
Wyoming, losing to #11 Utah (6-30)
Why? The Cowboys had a chance to at least beat the 20-point spread, but could not even manage that. They did however, keep the final score much closer than our 51-6 beat down, setting yet another benchmark of comparison for our Broncos and other Top 25 teams.
Texas Tech, falling to #20 Oklahoma State (17-34)
Why? 66 years. That’s how long it had been since the Red Raiders had lost at home to the rival Cowboys. Unfortunately, a new streak began this weekend, as Oklahoma State manhandled Texas Tech in front of a sea of Red and White. The Red Raiders were not able to whittle down the number of undefeated teams, and for that they should be ashamed. When will the number of undefeated BigXII teams be zero? Standing at three, it might be a while.
Texas A&M, losing to #21 Missouri (9-30)
Why? The Aggies were favored by 3, but were embarrassed by 21. In the process, the Aggies failed to take down yet another undefeated BigXII rival. Our Broncos do not need more undefeated teams mucking up the voters’ minds. Lose Tigers, lose!
California, surrendering to USC (14-48)
Why? Down by 42 at the half, the Golden Bears did little to boost the credibility of Nevada’s win over them just a month earlier. The Bears are better than they played. They just happen to catch the Trojans at a very bad time, having come off consecutive losses. Trojan fans would have had Lane Kiffin’s head if the streak had reached three.
#12 Arkansas, losing to #7 Auburn (43-65) and failing to cover the 3-point spread
Why? The Fresno award should really go to the Razorback defense, which was nowhere to be found in one of the most action-packed offensive games the SEC has ever seen. Too bad, because despite losing Heisman-hopeful Ryan Mallet to concussion, the Razorback offense managed to hold its own and give the team a chance to win. Failing to knock off the Tigers means one more undefeated SEC team – and one more serious threat to our treasured Broncos.
Illinois, losing to #13 Michigan State (6-26) and failing to cover the 7-point spread
Why? With just one more challenging game on its schedule, Michigan State is getting ready to run the table. Illinois is not a bad team and had a legitimate chance to make a statement. Instead, it was the Fightin’ Illini who were silenced, leaving one more undefeated on the table for the Broncos to deal with.
#19 Nevada, falling to Hawaii (21-27)
Why? Hawaii, with its long travel times and spectacular setting, has long been a classic trap game for visiting opponents. The Wolfpack either did not get over their jet lag or were too enamored by the beautiful girls to play a complete game. By the time they woke up and realized the Rainbow Warriors were actually beating them – badly – it was too late. On the bright side, Hawaii now has AP votes. With wins over Utah State and Idaho in the next two weeks, the Warriors should find themselves ranked in the Top 25 when they roll into Bronco Stadium the 1st Saturday in November. As for Nevada, the Pack has clearly lost its momentum but has plenty of time to regain it and become ranked again – setting up a much-anticipated showdown with our Broncos on Nov 26 after all. Are two ranked WAC opponents better than one undefeated ranked WAC opponent? Whatever the answer, that’s the best Boise can hope for now.
My choice for Week 7 Fresno goes to…
#12 Arkansas. I know, Nevada fell – and so did the Beavers. But the Beavers were playing Locker during one of his "On" games away from their comfy home confines, and Nevada lost to an underrated Hawaii squad on Fantasy Island.
But still, honorable mention goes to…
Nevada. How can Ostrich Legs fumble the ball out of the end zone one inch from scoring when he had just made a first down and ensured his team would be well on the way to a momentous comeback in the process? Did he have no game awareness? Did he not remember to protect the ball at all times? Who knows, but the bottom line is he got lazy. Period. Nevada deserved to lose based on that bone-headed play alone. Oster-legs handed the game to the Warriors on a silver platter. On the flip side, kudos to Hawaii’s defense for never – ever – giving up on a play. Something Coach Pete always, always preaches to his boys as well.
Games that Helped the Broncos (Dougie Candidates)
FCS school McNeese State, losing to LSU (10-32)
Why? 2-3 entering the game, the D1AA Cowboys made LSU look like the weaklings they are by staying within striking distance at 22-10 until the 4th quarter. Did the voters punish the Tigers – or the SEC – for such a dismal performance? Sadly, that’s a rhetorical question.
#17 Arizona, beating Washington State (24-7)
Why? Despite not covering the 23-point spread, the Wildcats put another W on the board, helping Oregon State’s SOS.
San Diego State, beating favored #23 Air Force (27-25)
Why? With one less ranked opponent on its schedule, TCU loses some of its luster. That may prove important as the season rolls on and voters consider where to rank the Horned Frogs. Since Utah State had the Aztecs on their schedule, the SDSU win nudges Boise’s SOS slightly higher – even though the Aztecs beat the Aggies.
Ole Miss, losing to #8 Alabama (10-23) but covering the spread
Why? Did they help the Broncos at all? Maybe. The spread was 21, but Ole Miss kept it within 13. Such unconvincing losses should – I repeat should – keep the Tide from passing the Broncos. We can dream anyhow. At any rate, we mustn’t forget ’11 when we open against these Rebel Black Bears. This game probably doesn't belong in the Dougies, but I am sadly convinced I can "will" goodness upon Ole Miss for next year's big game.
Cincinnati, beating Louisville (35-27) and covering the 3-point spread
Why? Cinci is Fresno’s most impressive win of the season and helped the WAC gain a smidgen of credibility early in the season. Pulling itself back to .500, the Bearcats gave a much-needed boost to the WAC’s SOS this week.
Purdue, dumping Minnesota (28-17) and covering the 5-point spread
Why? Toledo’s best win was against Big Ten foe Purdue. More wins by Purdue mean a stronger SOS for Toledo, one of the Broncos' 4 OOC opponents.
#18 Wisconsin, claiming victory over #1 Ohio State (31-18) and covering the 4-point spread
Why? An undefeated Ohio State squad would not have been surpassed by our Boys in Blue - no matter how many points we racked up. A one-loss Buckeye team will be much easier for our Broncos to keep in check. Especially when that loss was by 13.
Texas, beating favored #5 Nebraska (20-13)
Why? The Huskers were poised to jump our Broncos with a victory over the Horns. Luckily, Mack Brown had his troops ready to play – and sent the Longhorns’ hated rival off to the Big Ten with yet another big "L" stamped on its chest. Nebraska is one less team to worry about… for now.
Virginia Tech, beating Wake Forest (52-21) and covering the 22-point spread
Why? The Hokies just keep rolling. Their 5th win in a row vaulted them back into the Top 25. Go Hokies!
My choice for the Week 7 Dougie Award is…
Texas, who manned up and took down an overconfident and arrogant Cornhusker squad. The Huskers were our most serious threat to jump us this week. And I hate nothing more than being jumped by teams that have done nothing to prove they are better than we are. Parity in College Football has arrived. Get used to it America!
Honorable mention goes to…
#18 Wisconsin, who might be one of the top 5 teams in the country, and proved it by taking down #1 Ohio State. Watching overrated #1 ranked Ohio State teams lose never gets old --- especially when it happens BEFORE the Title Game is played.
Join me on Thursday for a look ahead to this weekend’s "High-Impact" Games.
But first, vote for this week’s Readers’ Choice Dougie: