All this BCS nonsense has got me thinking: What team in the current BCS Top 14 would give the Broncos the most trouble? Is there any team that Boise State simply could not beat?
Join me after the jump for a breakdown of the Top 14 and my ranking of which schools pose the toughest test for the Broncos. Please share your own list in the comments. I love a good BYU bashing.
The BCS announced yesterday that 16 teams remain under consideration for BCS bowls. The list is essentially the Top 14 from the BCS standings in addition to conference championship game participants Nebraska and Clemson.
I am going to throw out the Huskers and Tigers from the following list because I do not consider them elite teams. (You'll see later on that I don't consider some of the BCS Top 14 to be elite teams, but they are at least ranked in the Top 14.) The rest of these teams make up what college football deems to be the best teams in the country. How would Boise State fare against each? Let's take a look.
(Helmet logos courtesy www.nationalchamps.net)
No. 1 Florida. Undefeated but not without their problems, the Gators have the most athletes per capita of any team in college football. Throw in Urban Meyer's strangely effective offense and a super fast defense, and it is easy to see why the Gators are one of the nation's top teams. Burning question: Does Tim Tebow scare anyone?
No. 2 Alabama. Arguably the Crimson Tide have played better football than the Gators all season long. Though QB play is sketchy at times, the Tide boast Heisman candidate Mark Ingram and monolith DT Terrence Cody. Burning question: Did Nick Saban's team lose some luster after last year's blowout by Utah?
No. 3 Texas. Ah, the Longhorns. National championship contender by default. The Big XII is down this season, and UT has benefited. Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley are good offensive weapons, but Texas has yet to put together an outstanding, championship-caliber game. And it's getting pretty late. Burning question: How many points would the Texas defense give up to Houston?
No. 4 TCU. The Horned Frogs have established themselves as the best non-BCS team, which is quite a feat considering how well Boise State has played this season. Fast, physical, skilled, and disciplined on both sides of the ball, TCU might very well be the best complete team in the country. Burning question: Is Gary Patterson the best coach in Division I-A?
No. 5 Cincinnati. The Bearcats are victims of a particularly cruel type of BCS injustice. Cincinnati belongs to an automatic qualifying conference, but the BCS system has essentially Jim Crow'ed the Big East out of serious national championship consideration. In other words, the Big Six conference are equal except when the BCS says they aren't. Regardless, Cincinnati has a potent offense and solid coaching that makes them a tough opponent. Burning question: How would the Broncos have done in the Big East?
No. 6 Boise State. I know that Boise State cannot play itself, but humor me for a moment. How would Boise State's offense fare against Boise State's defense? Consider it a Blue & Orange Game redux. Which one would you take?
No. 7 Oregon. The Ducks showed signs of being a real force to be reckoned with until a loss to Stanford. Still, steady improvement since Week One makes Oregon one of the hottest teams in the country. Burning question: Which defense will show up on any given week?
No. 8 Ohio State. The mere thought of the Buckeyes in another BCS game makes me nappy - this Ohio State team especially. Yes, there's Terrelle Pryor and such, but Ohio State has had that overrated stench all season long. They'll cause some problems for somebody, but the problems are ones that can be easily solved. Burning question: How overhyped was that USC-Ohio State game in hindsight?
No. 9 Iowa. Losing Ricky Stanzi hurt Iowa's final finish, but not even their head coach believed they were BCS material along the way. Here's another take:
Whether Stanzi returns from a nasty ankle sprain or not, the Hawks are are clearly overmatched at virtually every position by the talent-rich Broncos. In fact, the 2010 Fiesta Bowl has the makings of this year's big BCS blowout game. This will undoubtedly be the first BCS game in which a team from a non-AQ conference is listed as the favorite.
Burning question: How much would Boise State be favored by?
No. 10 Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets were a lot scarier a week ago, but following a defeat to Georgia, a little bit of the mystique is gone off of Paul Johnson's triple option attack. When GT is executing properly, they are nearly impossible to stop. Expect Johnson to figure out a counter to the Georgia-style defense and be a force in bowl season. Burning question: Would you be okay if Boise State moved to a triple option (with different personnel of course)?
No. 11 Penn State. I can't remember the last time I took the Nittany Lions as a serious BCS contender. Maybe 2008? Regardless, here they are, so they must be doing something right. PSU typifies the Big Ten style of consistently ignorable football, but they do have playmakers in Evan Royster and Darryl Clark. Burning question: Remember Ki-Jana Carter?
No. 12 Virginia Tech. Boise State will get a crack at the Hokies next season, and I think next year's VT will be even better than this year's. An early BCS candidate, VaTech fell on some hard times. Still, they have the defense and special teams to hang with any team in the country, and if the offense comes together - look out. Burning question: Did you watch the Florida State - Virginia Tech national championship game a ton of years ago? The Michael Vick one?
No. 13 LSU. The SEC schedule exposed the Tigers as not quite upper echelon, but they are still pretty good. Burning question: How nervous can you be if LaTech nearly beat them?
No. 14 BYU. Why are they even under consideration for a BCS bowl? The Cougars are much worse than the pollsters give them credit for. Non-BCS teams have to earn a right to play in the BCS. BYU hasn't. Burning question: Doesn't Max Hall's head look small in his helmet?
How would you rank the above teams in order of how tough they would play the Broncos? Here's my list. Share yours in the comments.
(Listed in reverse order so as to build anticipation and such.)
12. BYU. The only reason they are not listed No. 14 is because the Broncos would have an easier time getting up for a BCS opponent than they would a non-BCS school like BYU. Take Oregon, for instance.
11. Virginia Tech.
9. Penn State. I think Boise State would be very competitive in the Big Ten. The Broncos' style would cause all sorts of problems in that conference.
8. Ohio State.
- 7. Cincinnati.
- 6. Texas.
- 5. Oregon.
- 4. Florida.
3. Georgia Tech.
1. TCU. I think the Horned Frogs would give Boise State the toughest test, which is probably why I think they are the best team in the country. I watched what they can do to the Broncos last bowl season, and the TCU team I've seen this year is even better.