A pessimist would look at Boise State's bowl situation, give up hope, and start rooting for a BCS conference school.
An optimist would say, "Boise State is undefeated; I have full confidence that the NCAA will work out a reasonable and appropriate reward for the Broncos' success."
A realist would admit that the Poinsettia Bowl is probably as good as it's going to get.
Which one are you? To be honest, we have vacillated among the three camps quite a bit in the past few days, spending time weeping and gnashing our teeth at the BCS system, building a wish tree for Boise State's Fiesta Bowl chances, and resigning ourselves to the fact that we get to "prove" ourselves to the Moutain West despite our 12-0 record against the conference. It's a strange feeling, having so many emotions welling up within us. Is this what being Dick Vermeil is like?
But for this post, we are optimists because contrary to what you read in the papers or hear on the radio, Boise State is still alive for a BCS berth - clinging to life support and drinking Jell-O through a straw, but alive. And we Bronco fans should be hopeful.
Yet we assume that most of Bronco Nation is, at this point, realists. The local media sure is. The national media even more so. Take a look at some of the stories regarding Boise State's chances of earning a BCS bid over Ohio State.
From the MacBook Air of Graham Watson (natch):
According to a source close to the bowl situation, it is "highly unlikely" that Boise State will play in a BCS Bowl this season leaving the door open for either Ohio State or USC depending on the outcomes of this weekend's games. A matchup between Boise State and TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl is currently in the works and could be decided as early as (today).
And Stewart Mandel, too:
Now, put yourselves in the shoes of the Fiesta Bowl. You're required by BCS rules to come up with roughly $34 million to pay the two participants (only part of which is covered by TV money), in addition to the costs associated with staging the game. And, you're facing pressure from your sponsors -- many of whom are strapped for promotional money as it is -- to produce a game that will generate the most eyeballs for its products.
With all due respect to Utah and Boise State, Ohio State is going to get you those eyeballs.
One reality is that BCS bowls will do whatever it takes to earn money, and it appears that Ohio State, despite the desires of America and evidence that they are not the better team, is the bowls' best option for that end. Another reality is that nothing is set in stone until Sunday, and the Broncos are still alive for a BCS berth.
In fact, the only official act that the BCS has done so far was to give the Broncos hope that an at-large berth can still happen by declaring a list of teams that are under consideration for those extra spots. So what if longshots like Oklahoma State, Ball State, and TCU are the list as well? Simply knowing that the BCS is thinking about the Broncos should be somewhat of a consolation.
Being a realist about the situation is akin to hedging your bets or playing it safe. And to be honest, this sounds like a great deal to us. We can get excited about playing TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl and be pleasantly surprised if our fortunes happen to turn up Tostitos. And if they don't? No one gets their feelings hurt because no one expected anything more.
Being a realist is easy. Being an optimist is hard. Not only do you have to tune out the overwhelming noise of naysayers telling you a BCS berth is impossible, you also have to put your fragile feelings on the line and risk your hopes being crushed under a mound of Buckeyes.
We can't speak for all Bronco fans, but we can speak for ourselves. We are an amalgam of the pessimistic, optimistic and realistic Boise State fan. The realist in us is excited for the prospects of a Poinsettia Bowl. The pessimist is strongly considering not watching college football ever again if things don't pan out the way we want them to.
And the optimist will be watching intently on Sunday as the BCS selections are made, hoping against hope that the Broncos fill a slot in the Fiesta Bowl and get what they truly deserve. Will you be joining us?