Mr. Fiskers would like to speak with Bob Molinaro outside

Buildup to the Boise State - Virginia Tech game on Monday has been relatively peaceful, that is until Bob Molinaro got to writing. The Virginian Pilot columnist saw the AP Poll and immediately went to work penning a list of Bronco inadequacies the likes of which haven't been seen since yesterday on pretty much any ESPN message board. I showed the article to Mr. Fiskers. He threw up in his mouth a little.

After the jump, pile on with Mr. Fiskers as he tears into Molinaro's masterpiece of suck.

Fisking is a point-by-point criticism that highlights perceived errors, or disputes the analysis in a statement, article, or essay. Mr. Fiskers is OBNUG's fisking cat. He has hyperthyroidism.

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Mr. Fiskers was having a great summer of napping, eating Fancy Feast, and hitting on the lady cats, but Bob Molinaro had to go and ruin it. Molinaro's piece on Boise State's AP rank was simply too despicable for Mr. Fiskers to pass up. It was a shallow, lazy, obstinate take on the Bronco program - and one that has been hashed and rehashed across flame wars Internet-wide. Bob Molinaro needs to learn a lesson. Mr. Fiskers needs to teach it to him. And then back to hitting on the lady cats.

HEADLINE: Boise State's fantastic rank mostly based on fantasies

Fantasies like this, I assume.

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I have a problem with Boise State's No. 3-ranking in the Associated Press football poll that was released the other day.

Polls are just conversation starters for the most part, and the AP rankings lost a lot of relevance when they stopped being used in the BCS formula.

Two sentences into Molinaro's column, let's recap: Bob Molinaro has a problem with the AP Poll. Polls are mostly just for debate. Except for the AP Poll, which isn't relevant enough to even qualify for that.

It will be hard for Mr. Fiskers and me to wade through the rest of this drivel knowing that the main thesis in Molinaro's statement of faith is not even conversation-worthy. I feel like I've stumbled onto The View and the channel won't change.

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While we're here, Mr. Fiskers would like to take umbrage with Molinaro's views on the AP Poll. Yes, the AP lost relevance when it pulled out of the BCS rankings, but the only relevance it lost was with the final BCS standings. It is still the bee's knees of polls as far as college football fans are concerned. The AP probably gained more respectability by distancing itself from the BCS because now fans can trust actual people to make the right call about national champions when the season is done. The AP could have voted TCU as national champ last year if things worked out right. Although, remind me again how things worked out, Mr. Fiskers.

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Even so, when I look at the AP poll, I see evidence of media psychosis that has resulted in an exaggerated image of Boise State.

Molinaro is referring to the famed West Coast bias. Never heard of it? Then you do not get that Altitude channel on your DirecTV like Bob Molinaro does.

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With its creative offense, Boise State is fun to watch. It's a plucky group that captures the imagination.

Bob Molinaro has never seen the Broncos play.

I wish the Broncos the best. But they're not the No. 3 team in the country without an awful lot of wishful thinking on the part of certain people.

Molinaro wishes the Broncos the best, but not that best.

For that matter, Alabama is not the No. 1 team in the country without an awful lot of wishful thinking. The Crimson Tide lost nine starters off their defense, and the last team to repeat as No. 1 was kind of USC in 2003-2004 but you should probably go back to Nebraska in 94-95. Ohio State would need some wishful thinking, too. Have you seen Terrelle Pryor in the restraints of Jim Tressel's offense? Mr. Fiskers has, and it bummed him out.

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It's understood that those who hate the BCS want a "little guy" to crash the party. It's thought that, with another undefeated season, Boise State could do it.

This is what's known in Hollywood as a dream sequence.

Fine by me. Inception was awesome. The top was totally gonna fall!

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Hatred is a natural response to the BCS, but in this case it has warped a lot of minds.

So Molinaro is stating that AP voters put Boise State at No. 3 because the voters subconsciously hate the BCS? As if Bill Hancock's bad juju mutated the minds of college football writers to the point where they cannot vote objectively? Brain melding? Thought theft?

Sounds like a Mystery Science Theater episode to me.

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What's more is that voting Boise State No. 3 does not bust up the BCS any more than voting the Broncos No. 5 would. If AP voters really hated the BCS and wanted to stick it to them, Boise State would have been voted the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the country. No. 3 gets the Broncos to the same place that No. 12 would get them - possibly the Rose Bowl, probably the Fiesta Bowl, maybe the Sugar.

How else do you explain Boise State starting the season ranked ahead of Florida and Texas?

Mr. Fiskers is glad you asked.

The Broncos return 20 of 22 starters from last year's undefeated Fiesta Bowl champion. Florida and Texas return 11 and 12, including the losses of both their starting quarterbacks, a couple of fellows named Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy. You know. These guys.

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In addition to breaking in new quarterbacks, Florida and Texas also have some pretty significant changes to make in the way they do business. The days of Texas lighting up scoreboards with 50-point games may be over for now. Will the defense and a cloud of dust scheme work for the Longhorns? And Florida has it even tougher with no standout wide receiver for its new QB and a void of tough runners to chew up important yards. There are serious question marks on these teams.

Does anybody think Boise State is better than Florida or Texas?

Um, yes. The majority of people who vote in the AP poll.

Does anybody think there are more NFL prospects at Boise State than at Florida and Texas?

Mr. Fiskers, no! Put down that giant Nerf gun loaded with swordfish! He didn't mean it!

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Pulling the NFL prospect card? Seriously? This may be the worst argument in a college football poll discussion I have ever heard. Never in a million years should NFL prospects matter when it comes to ranking college football teams. If that were the case, the Washington Huskies and potential No. 1 pick Jake Locker should be a Top Five team. There were as many players drafted from Weber State last year as there were from No. 4 Boise State. Should the Wildcats have been in the Top 25?

Poorly done, Bob Molinaro. Here are some other statements that would have made just as much sense:

  • The Virginian Pilot is a terrible newspaper. There are way more NFL prospects at the Virginia Beach Herald!
  • I only eat at Cracker Barrel because there are way more NFL prospects there than Applebee's!
  • Drive a PT Cruiser. It is the car of choice for NFL prospects!

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Were Boise State placed with Florida in the SEC, would it be reasonable to expect Chris Petersen's Broncos to go undefeated? In truth, after the hard grind of a long season in the nation's most cut-throat conference, they'd be fortunate to escape with three losses.

It took him awhile, but Molinaro finally got around to the tried-but-true SEC argument. Internet message board much, Mr. Molinaro?

Jumping to the SEC conclusion is a lazy argument because it magnifies only one part of the what-if. If Boise State played in the SEC, the Broncos would have SEC money to pay for SEC facilities that go hand-in-hand with SEC appeal and ultimately lead to SEC-level recruiting. Couple that with the coaches and administrators that the Broncos have (who have led the team to a 4-1 record against BCS teams, by the way), and things might not go as poorly as Molinaro thinks.

Even Princess Fancybritches can see that.

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Now flip it around and allow Florida or Texas to play Boise State's schedule: After the tough opener against Virginia Tech, it features Wyoming, Oregon State, New Mexico State, Toledo, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, Hawaii, Idaho, Fresno State, Nevada and Utah State.

That's easy pickings for the best BCS teams.

It may be, but you still have to play the games and win the games.

It's unfortunate for Boise State's ambitions that the Western Athletic Conference isn't a great league. But if a team can't be judged according to its strength of opponents, what's the purpose of polls in the first place?

And if a team can't go undefeated and play for a national championship, what's the purpose of being part of Division I-A?

The media are trying too hard to make Boise State into something it can't and shouldn't be - a player in the national title picture. Not with that schedule.

No, Mr. Fiskers! Put down that anti-matter! He doesn't know what he's saying!

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Because it's so out of touch with reality, the Boise State-hype machine is doing Virginia Tech a big favor. If, as expected, Tech wins the Labor Day opener at FedEx Field, the Hokies' reputation and ranking will be the beneficiary of Boise State's overinflated status.

Hold on. Stop the Bob Molinaro rollercoaster.

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"As expected"? Virginia Tech being a clearcut favorite on Labor Day night couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, it is not the truth at all. Boise State is the favorite, and as such, the Broncos are "expected" to win. That's how being the favorite works.

Boise State is a 3-point favorite according to the oddsmakers. Does Molinaro not know how point spreads work? Does math escape him? Kind of makes me wonder what other basic life skills he has yet to learn.

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The birds and the bees.

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The hot stove.

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Don't go chasing waterfalls.

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Never run with scissors.

It's hard not to be impressed by a team that returns 22 starters from a 14-0 team that beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. That finished No. 4 in last season's AP poll. That has won 26 of its past 27 games.

And he has just stated the case for the Broncos being ranked No. 3. Well done, Bob.

Being suitably impressed, though, and swallowing all the hype are two different things. Bowl victories over BCS opponents have enhanced Boise State's image. But let's not pretend that the Broncos are as comparably challenged over the course of an entire season as teams from the SEC, Big Ten or Big 12.

Before we get too far down the wormhole of schedule bias, Mr. Fiskers would like to remind everyone that Molinaro's article was at one point a derision of the AP Poll. So perhaps Molinaro would be better off skewering the AP if he knew at all what the voting guidelines are. They include these:

  • Base your vote on performance, not reputation or preseason speculation.
  • Avoid regional bias.

It's a preseason poll, so voting on performance makes voters look at last year's results where Boise State was a solid No. 4 and very nearly a No. 3 or a No. 2. What's more is that voters are specifically asked not to factor in speculation, like how Boise State would do against an SEC, Big Ten, or Big 12 schedule.

Nobody knows, and it is unfair to say how the Broncos would do. That's why the AP doesn't bother dabbling in speculation. Is that Bob Molinaro's real hair? Would Mark May make a better rodeo clown than TV commentator? Is Les Miles a muppet?

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We might as well be debating these topics instead.

The coaches' preseason poll - the one that counts with the BCS - has Boise State at No. 5. While releasing rankings before games are played is folly, even a pseudo science is vulnerable to abuse.

I have no idea what this means.

Boise State is a feel-good story that appeals to me, too. Still, fantasy has its limits.

Technically, fantasy does not have limits. That's what makes it fantasy.

Since poll numbers are so easily thrown around this time of year, and taking into account the enormous amount of publicity it's received, I make Boise State my preseason No. 1 - most over-hyped team in America.

It should be noted that Bob Molinaro does not have a vote in any poll. Only in his fantasies!

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Molinaro's trip through Boise State flame history was as tired as it was wrong. The Broncos deserve every bit of their No. 3 ranking in the AP Poll based on their performance over the past decade, their across-the-board talent and depth, their willingness to challenge themselves in the non-conference schedule, and the year-to-year consistency of a program that was in the Top Five just months ago.

Jumping to conclusions, ramping up speculation, and calling it all fantasy is no way to make a sound argument against the Broncos. This team is for real, and Bob Molinaro will find out soon enough when BSU hits the field on Labor Day night.

Got a story for Mr. Fiskers? E-mail him at tips@obnug.com.

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