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The BCS: what it takes to crack college football's elite

Welcome to OBNUG's newest weekly feature, tackling the BCS and Boise State football. Oh, and some Idaho jokes.

The press-conference version of Boise State coach Chris Peterson would have us believe that everything important in Bronco football happens on the field. And the sportsman inside of us wants so badly to believe him. "If we just take care of business on the field," Coach Pete tells us with confidence and a measure of intensity, "all that other stuff (sportswriters, computer formulas, BCS rulebook, east-coast bias, historical tendencies, personal differences, etc., etc.) will take care of itself." Oh we wish it were true.

But it’s not.

College football is too rife with inconsistencies, unfairness, and ambiguity.

Coach Pete never lies, but he does make sure to say the right things in press conferences. Here at OBNUG, we know the truth about college football, and we have the luxury of not having to pander to an adoring press. We know that teams live and die by the rankings. We know that behind closed doors, late at night, Coach Pete and staff study the BCS rankings, analyze computer polls, and plot to run up the score on Idaho State just for the sake of impressing voters (we’d do it anyway because its gosh-darn fun).

And that’s what this new, weekly column is all about. We’re going to talk about the stuff off the field- the fiendish, deeply biased East Coast sportswriters, the BCS loopholes, the important games not involving the Blue and Orange – in short, the Broncos' blueprint for appeasing the evil, but somewhat misunderstood BCS Empire

I hate to use the term "redeem team" because most readers will know that I stole it from somewhere else, but this year’s Broncos have hearts to mend in Bronco Nation. A second BCS bowl appearance in three years is exactly what the doctor ordered.

The Broncos' road to the BCS is a specific one. Boise State must do things that the likes of Missouri and Ohio State don’t have to do. But they also have a few tricks up their sleeve that will help them weasel their way back into the Fiesta bowl. Don’t get me wrong; they belong there (some will remember a certain bowl game in early 2007… Seriously, take a minute and let the sweet memories comfort your world… one more time), but a few tricks seem to be all the college football lords have given us.

Does the time and day of a BSU game affect the rankings? Can a mid-season Ian Johnson interview on Sportscenter inch the Broncos up a few spots in November? Can a 12th and final touchdown pass by Kellen Moore against Idaho State (A 73-yarder into single coverage) be enough for a Top 25 AP ranking next week? Did the new press box earn the Broncos automatic points with voters everywhere?

The answer, of course, is maybe. And it’s tricky.

We don’t claim to know much but we’ve determined several themes in the college football world that are critically important to Boise State and their chances of a BCS bowl and/or a national championship.

  1. Other non-BCS teams. The rule changes last year make it likely that one non-BCS team will either be in the BCS or very close to making the BCS every year. So BSU must be the number one non-BCS team in the country. During the season we’ll be keeping close tabs on this.

  2. Highlights and margins of victory. Neither, technically, should play much of a role in the rankings, but they do. BSU must produce awesome highlights for ESPN – epic win margins and demoralizing pick-six touchdowns are like throwing candy to the voters. Seriously, many voters see no more than the final score and highlights on ESPN. One big play could easily be the difference between several spots in the polls any given week.

  3. Strength of opponents. This figures into the computer rankings, but it’s a much bigger element in the minds of voters. Bronco Nation needs to send positive vibes to the likes of Oregon and Bowling Green this season. The success of these teams is absolutely critical if the Broncos have a shot at getting into the national championship game or even a BCS bowl.

  4. Conference champions and other BCS loop-holes. A top 16 ranking could be all that is needed for BSU to get back to the Fiesta bowl, provided a few other cards fall into place. This season we’ll keep tabs on how the rule book could play into the BCS.

The University of Idaho also has a blueprint for BCS success, but it's quite different as you can imagine. Throughout the season we’ll be giving tips to the Vandals concerning ways they can impress the BCS Empire. We do this because we like to think of Idaho as our little brother. An intolerably irritating, consistently embarrassing, and remarkably under-achieving little brother, but our little brother nonetheless.

Here's a taste: The Vandals need to get better.

This may seem counterintuitive at first, but it helps to think of the rankings as continuum. No. 1 is good; No. 119 is bad. All rankings in between are some of both. You are 119. This is very bad when it comes to getting to the BCS Championship game.

We know mediocrity suits you well, Idaho, and don’t rock the boat if you don’t want to, but if you get bored getting murdered by the WAC every year, our suggestions throughout the season might be worth looking into.

That's all for now. Have a great rest of your week, Bronco Nation, and we’ll see you at the Saturday scrimmage! Oops, I mean the Idaho State Game.