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 team 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".
First, a summary of this week's results:
If we could just sever two teams from the WAC (San Jose & New Mexico State), wouldn’t our Broncos have the same schedule any BCS opponent has? Wait a minute – don’t all BCS teams play 2 cupcakes a year too? Aren’t we just reversing the order of our cupcakes? Yes, yes, and yes. Do you think it matters? No, but it should. With that in mind, one of our moistest cupcakes did a face plant this weekend, losing by one point to an FCS squad. I guess that’s not so bad though… Michigan did it right?
Overlooking the incompetence that is San Jose, it was a solid weekend for Boise’s SOS. Boise’s opponents were 6-1 (not counting teams playing each other). WAC squads found their mojo again, going 3-1 on the spread, with Nevada barely missing its 20-point line (two WAC games did not have a spread). Of Boise’s non-WAC opponents, VaTech beat the line, Oregon State equaled its favored spread, and two teams played each other (Wyoming and Toledo). Of particular note: Boise’s strongest opponents (VaTech, Oregon State, Nevada & Fresno State) were 4-0 this weekend. Yey!
Teams in the Top 25 helped the Broncos a bit more than last week. Six Top-25 squads were knocked off. In the process, each of these six teams (except Texas) received its first loss of the year. The fewer undefeated teams, the better.
· # 7 Florida – by #1 Alabama
· #11 Wisconsin – by #24 Michigan State
· #18 USC – by Washington
· #21 Texas – by #8 Oklahoma
· #22 Penn State – by #17 Iowa
· #23 NC State – by VaTech
Although the Bronco’s opponent this weekend was no Oregon State, the Aggies put up a good fight – and our Broncos played hard for all four quarters. Their fans were great, no players on either side were seriously injured, and once again, the weather was perfect. All in all, I’d say the entire weekend was a perfect"10".
Games that hurt the Broncos ("Fresno" Candidates)
Boston College, who lost to the Irish (31-13)
Why? VaTech beat BC. The stronger VaTech’s SOS is, the stronger ours is too. Plus, I have not yet eradicated my fears that a 6-6 Notre Dame squad would fill our at-large BCS slot.
#7 Florida, who fell – hard – against the #1 Tide (31-6)
Why? The Gators were probably the strongest remaining opponent the Tide had on their schedule. And that’s saying a lot. While there are still more chances to stumble (at South Carolina next weekend, at Death Valley Nov 6, SEC Title Game Dec 4), ‘Bama is one step closer to a date in the NCG game. So long as they are the only undefeated BCS team remaining, it won’t hurt the Broncos at all. At least the Gators are out of the picture – hopefully.
Illinois, who lost to #2 Ohio State (24-13)
Why? While the Fighting Illini put up a fight, they could not muster the strength to pull off their school’s greatest win of the past decade. Ohio State remains undefeated – and ranked above our Broncos. Even worse, the Buckeyes will probably not make the same mistake again: arriving unprepared.
#21 Texas, who fell to #8 Oklahoma (28-20)
Why? Never thought I’d root for the Horns, but with a loss already under its belt, I was hoping they’d pierce a chink of Oklahoma's armor. Home field advantage proved to be too much for Mack Brown’s squad this year. If the Sooners continue to knock down Big XII opponents, the cry to rank them above our Broncos will only grow.
San Jose State, who lost to FCS opponent UC Davis (14-13)
Why? Maybe it is too much to expect San Jose State to win any game. Going -2 in turnovers won’t help the situation. But still… UC Davis? The relevance of our date with the Spartans continues to plummet.
Tennessee, who handed a win to # 12 LSU (16-14)
Why? Even though the Tigers were favored by 16, I’m giving the Vols a Fresno for their boneheaded 13-man play that allowed LSU one more chance to win, and let the biggest upset of the weekend – certainly of Tennessee's season – slip out of the Vols' hands. LSU remains undefeated – and because it plays in the SEC – could conceivably jump the Broncos by the end of the season. Because they play in the SEC, no one will remember – or care – how they should have lost this game.
Toledo, who fell to Wyoming
Why? Toledo knocked off a Big Ten opponent – and should have beaten the Cowboys. Had they done so, they would have energized our crowd and the national media. As it stands, we'll have to find our own reasons to cheer.
And the winner of this week's Fresno is....
Toledo. Toledo had the opportunity to come into Bronco stadium this weekend with a 4-1 record and a fair bit of publicity. Instead, they limp in as a just another 3-2 team.
Games that helped the Broncos ("Dougie" Candidates)
Fresno, who took down Cal Poly (38-17)
Why? Any WAC win – even over an FCS opponent – is welcome (see San Jose)
#25 Nevada, who beat instate rival UNLV (44-26)
Why? Maintaining a ranking is critical for our eventual post-holiday matchup in Reno.
The team that played Western Michigan (33-13)
Why? Vandal non-losses help Boise’s SOS. I can’t wait until that is no longer true.
VaTech, who beat #23 NC State (41-30)
Why? Although Vegas favored the Hokies by 4, it was a pleasant surprise to see the Hokies not only beat a Top 25 team in its own stadium, but also cover the spread. As a result, the Hokies garnered votes in both polls once again. Another win or two might enable them to work their way back into the Top 25.
Oregon State, who tripped up Arizona State (31-28)
Why? The better OSU looks, the more impressive our Sep 25th beat-down looks. Go Beavers!
Oregon, who took down Stanford (52-31)
Why? Whoa – wait a minute! This is a possible Dougie??? OK – I guess I should have expected this. I once again put my faith in the pollsters to use reason and logic before posting their votes. Didn’t our Broncos beat the Ducks two years in a row? Aren’t we still undefeated – having beaten a Top 10 team as well as last year’s PAC 10 runner up – in the process? Shouldn’t it help our cause that the Ducks look so strong this year? I could go on and on, but it’s too tiring. I was once again fooled – knocked down and reminded just how unfair the BCS process is. Like any rational human being, I am now more confident than ever that our Broncos belong in the same conversation as any Top 5 team in the nation than ever. I love our chances to play against the best – yet again – at the end of the year. Let’s hope the pollsters wise up before then. More realistically however, let’s just hope the Ducks lose. To the Beavers!
Colorado, who knocked off Georgia
Why? Hawaii played Colorado, so it helps the Warriors’ SOS – even though they fell to the Buffs. Plus, Colorado weakened the SEC’s SOS – always a good thing.
#24 Michigan State, who beat # 11 Wisconsin (34-24)
Why? The Badgers had a good chance to run the table – and jump the Broncos. Now it’s the Spartans we need to start worrying about. Hopefully, Wisconsin can successfully vent their anger against the Buckeyes at home on Oct 16.
Utah State, who took down favored BYU (31-16)
Why? Can someone please remind me why BYU was favored, having lost 3 of its first 4 games? Oh yeah, so did Utah State. In the "Battle of the .250’s", not only did Utah State improve the WAC’s Out-of-Conference Record, it did so on Prime Time TV in front of millions. Well done Aggies!
Washington, who knocked off #18 USC (32-31)
Why? Although banned from post-season play, nothing bans the Trojans from being ranked in the polls. A possible worst-case scenario is now avoided. (Broncos win NCG, but are ranked #2 behind an undefeated Trojan squad.)
And the winner of this week's Dougie is....
Virginia Tech. Even though the Hokies were favored, they had to go win away from home - and prove to themselves they were good enough this year. Luckily, VaTech lived up to its potential and took down ranked NC State. Their win should provide Beamer's team with renewed motivation. Hopefully they can continue to win ACC games and boost the significance of our Broncos' opening weekend win.
Honorable mention goes to Utah State, for boosting the WAC's SOS with a win over hated rival BYU.
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: