T-minus two days to launch. T-minus two days. College football starts Thursday evening. Here's hoping we don't have some sort of weird ignition fail...I mean, scandal...to blow up the season right after liftoff. To summarize:
Let's run down the casualty list from the battlefield - currently in the infirmary and awaiting severe surgery and/or amputation: Ohio State, Oregon, LSU, Miami. Currently awaiting minor cosmetic surgery: Boise State. However, since the NCAA surgeons are about as competent as surgeons in the middle ages, I'm sure they'll take a meat cleaver and cut off a finger or two just to get rid of a splinter from a two by four, or - for the female readers - maybe just take away our nose job, making us slightly uglier but not really noticeable to anyone who wasn't already paying attention. The others won't be so lucky.
Ohio State: will lose one tattoo-covered arm.
Oregon: may not have broken any rules, but will get penalized for running too fast and blending in with turf.
LSU: Will lose an arm and a leg. Jordan Jefferson may personally lose more (kicking a marine in the head? Mr. Jefferson, you're lucky you aren't in the ICU right now).
North Carolina: Should lose their head, but will settle for giving up two legs and an arm.
Miami: OFF WITH THEIR HEAD!!!
Meanwhile, Texas A&M can't seem to figure out if it's coming or going. Should they leave the Big 12 AND get rejected by the SEC, I see the Big Ten taking them and Missouri to get to 14. Conference expansion more or less ends there. All bets are off if the SEC takes A&M.
Last year, Boise State was one of the most polarizing teams in the nation. This year, Boise State has a not-so-insignificant sympathy factor working for it. Why? The loss to Nevada showed the world that, well, Boise State is human and not perfect. It won't be enough to catapult a potentially undefeated Bronco team into the MNC (assuming that the SEC champ has 2 losses and every other champ 1 loss), but it should be enough to keep Boise on top of the non-AQ pile - even with 1 loss - PROVIDED the 1 loss comes against Georgia.
Matt Miller and Geraldo Boldewijn are tied on the depth chart. I've seen a lot of comments along the lines of "we're in a lot of trouble if Miller beats out Boldewijn." Yes, I know the guy has crazy speed and is 6'4"...but Miller is 6'3" and WAS fast before his injury (and may be fast again). Maybe, JUST MAYBE, Matt Miller is far better than anyone expected at this stage. And maybe Boldewijn will never pan out into the player us fans thought or hoped he could be. Remember, Bronco fans, Boise State seems able to magically generate the parts it needs to keep rolling without so much as a hiccup (exception: Taylor Tharp's year as QB). Then again, Tharp was pretty darn good. Too bad the defense wasn't up to snuff that year.
Several fans seem to think that Mr. Tamburo gave Georgia and Coach Richt a fresh copy of Boise State's playbook. Everyone is riled up about this, says that Richt is playing dirty, yada yada, yada. I don't buy this freightcar-sized load of horse dung, and neither should you. Why? There are multiple reasons, but just for starters, and something that should be BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS TO EVERYONE: If it was an issue, there would have been a clause in his release prohibiting him from going to any opponents on Boise's schedule. Boise gave him an unconditional release. Translation: He possessed an inadequate knowledge of Boise State's schemes to present any sort of advantage over Boise State to other schools. If you really want the full list of reasons, say so and I'll post them in the comments.
MOVING ON: Georgia held a practice in the Georgia Dome, apparently with full pads, Pro Combat unis, the works. Boise State gets the same amount of field time at the Georgia Dome - just not in pads. They will conduct a walkthrough practice at the Dome on Friday. Advantage? Eh, probably. Anyone who thinks that Boise State isn't already wearing all whites in practice to prepare is just about as stupid as the person who thinks that Tamburo will make any sort of difference.
THE PART THAT MATTERS: Southeastern Conference refs. Seriously, guys? I suppose it could be worse...we could have Big Ten or WAC refs. If we assume bias - and while I don't believe that refs in any conference would intentionally sabotage a game - the refs could possibly account for one score - 7, maybe 8 points at the most. If a referee bias shows itself, then Boise State will need to be 10 points better than Georgia for a 3-point win. I really don't think it will be an issue - though to us, it WILL be an issue on every single penalty, because we want to see our team curb-stomp Georgia like they did to us in 2005.
TIME FOR IMPROVEMENT: Boise State fans, we need to grow some tougher skin. No need to scream bloody murder whenever some random fan comes over to one of the Boise fansites and starts talking smack. I've always been a big believer in letting actions do the talking. Remember, most of these people are trying to tear us down because they feel inadequate compared to us and are jealous of what we have.
WEEK 1 UPSETS: Arkansas State, Fresno State, Murray State, Southern Methodist.
GAMES THAT WILL BE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK: Tulsa, Minnesota.
MUST WATCH TV: FRIDAY: TCU @ Baylor, 7 PM Central, ESPN. Thundercats, 7:30 PM Central, Cartoon Network.
SATURDAY: Boise State @ Georgia, 7 PM Central, ESPN. Afternoon games will be regionally determined, so pick one that you are mildly interested in to pass the time.
IN A FINAL NOTE: the high school offense I coordinate put up 44 points and over 450 yards of offense - 360 of it through the air. However, that doesn't mean much when your defense gives up 610 yards and 68 points...at home.