The 2011 Boise State football team and the national championship: A recipe

Hello. To pass the time between now and August, OBNUG will be writing essays about football things. Many of these essays will be true. Some may be fan fiction and involve Blizzards. Here is an essay now.

Last year, the Boise State Broncos fielded what many consider to be the greatest team in school history, and that was fun for about three weeks. Then the inexorable hype grew to suffocating levels, Bronco fans were trolled relentlessly and, before you knew it, Boise State was playing in a bowl game before Christmas. Do not want again, thanks.

The 2011 Boise State football team will be different. There will be less hype since people actually graduated this year. There will be fewer expectations since most people assume that last year was Boise State's best chance at breaking into the national championship game.

Truth is, the hype monster and most people are absolutely wrong. The 2011 Boise State football team has every opportunity to be as good or better than the 2010 version. But SHHHHH, don't tell Sports Illustrated. Let's let Gary Patterson's pants have the covers this year.

Gary-patterson-video-game_medium

Pregnant Gary Patterson in NCAA Football 12

Why am I so optimistic about Boise State's outlook for 2011? Well first and foremost, it's because I'm a Boise State homer who owns a keychain with a dongle that plays Paul J. Schneider's 2007 Fiesta Bowl call every time I unlock a door. I know. I have a disease.

Second, I believe that the following two factors affect college football success perhaps more than any others:

  1. Schedule
  2. Quarterback play

The obvious addendum to that list is coaching, which Boise State has in spades and will always have in spades so long as we give Coach Pete whatever he wants, including but not limited to a Boise IKEA inside a training facility inside a 50,000-seat stadium. Good coaching makes a world of difference. So, too, the teams you play and the guy who throws the ball.

Let's begin with scheduling ...

Boise State is joining a new conference this season, but ... come on ... are they really joining a new conference? The names have changed, but the relative strength of the new teams compared to the old teams is still largely the same. Ditto for the non-conference opponents. In fact, you could find a fraternal twin on last year's schedule for every 2011 opponent, and for the most part, the teams from this year will be on par with or easier than last year. Examples:

  • 2011 Georgia = 2010 Virginia Tech - Advantage: Virginia Tech
  • 2011 TCU = 2010 Nevada - Advantage: Push
  • 2011 Tulsa = 2010 Oregon State - Advantage: Push
  • 2011 Toledo = 2010  Toledo - Advantage: Push
  • 2011 San Diego State = 2010 Hawaii - Advantage: Push

What is the No. 1 way to position yourself for a BCS berth? Bribing Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker, followed closely by winning all your games. With a schedule as difficult or easier than last year's, Boise State can certainly do the second part.

Sure, the Broncos may have graduated several key pieces and parts from last year's Greatest Team Evah, but the drop in overall talent was in no way steep enough to cast doubt on this upcoming season. Think of it in terms of video games (which is how I solve most of life's problems, like crossing the street or how to shoot a zombie). Let's say the 2010 Boise State team had an overall team rating of 95 out of 100. The 2011 team may be an 85. If the opponents you face are 80s at best, why wouldn't you be expected to do just as well in each year? Lawyer'd, EA Sports style.

Now about this Kellen Moore fellow ...

Quarterbacks, more than any other position, can win games for you or lose games for you. Case in point for winning games: Kellen Moore at Oregon in 2008. Case in point for losing games: Jared Zabransky at Georgia in 2005.


The Broncos just so happen to have the best quarterback in the country at winning games (and at being a quarterback). If you follow the logic that games will be closer since the team overall is less talented than last year, then you would need to look to the person most responsible for pulling out close games: Kyle Brotzman Kellen Moore. Boise State couldn't ask for any better.

Now, don't get me wrong. There are a million factors that could come into play and ruin a perfect season and send the Broncos to Poinsettia purgatory. Randomness is a part of college football as much as touchdowns and Jesse Palmer short ties. Even Coach Pete buys the idea that the better team doesn't always win:

The team we had last year was a really good team. To me, it's the best team we've had since I've been here. That doesn't mean your best team is going to win every game. We're going to get most people's best shot every game. If it's not all clicking just right-that's why we play the game. That's why coaches are so paranoid about things. You understand the best teams don't always win.

What about really, really good teams? At least fewer people might see them coming.

Your turn

Do you agree that this year's Boise State football team can meet the same expectations as last year's? Should video game logic ever be applied to real life situations? What has CGI Gary Patterson been eating? Butter tubs? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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