ESPN's Bruce Feldman thinks that Boise State has the best odds of any non-BCS school to crash the BCS party this fall.
And who am I to argue with the guy?
Feldman listed the top ten schools with the best chance of BCS-busting - a list that included the likes of BYU, Utah, TCU, and East Carolina - and the whole thing got me thinking about the rest of Boise State's WAC competition. Does anyone else in the conference have a shot at grabbing a BCS bid? Whew. I didn't think I would get through that sentence without snort-laughing all over my keyboard.
In the spirit of fairness, though, I went through each WAC team's schedule to see just how likely each school would be to crash the BCS. My conclusion: Bruce Feldman knows what he's talking about. Read after the jump for the details.
WAC odds of crashing the BCS
Boise State: very good
If the Broncos beat Oregon, most everyone will go ahead and stamp BSU's ticket to the Fiesta Bowl. It's not that the Broncos' remaining schedule isn't difficult; it's that the remaining schedule is full of WAC teams, Conference USA teams, MAC teams, and UC Davis. Don't sleep on the Mustangs.
Plus, the Broncos might very well be the highest ranked non-BCS school in the preseason polls, and as we all learned last year when Utah started out with a slight poll advantage over the Broncos, that preseason stuff matters ... and the world is harsh and cruel. Get by the Ducks, and the Broncos should have a stranglehold on that top non-BCS spot. Essentially, a ticket to the BCS is Boise State's to lose. No pressure.
If (Boise State doesn't beat Oregon), the Broncos could win the rest, going 11-1, and still not be a top-15 team.
Nevada: not impossible, but don't hold your breath unless you're really, really good at holding your breath
As Feldman points out, Nevada is a "long, long shot." But I would propose that they are only one "long."
Nevada crashing the BCS is a possibility, although it will have to be a different Nevada than the one that currently plays on paper. The defense needs to get better. The offense will be fine. If the Wolf Pack can find a healthy medium between the two, Nevada will be a dangerous team throughout the season.
The only problem is that they don't exactly get much time to find that healthy medium. UNR kicks off its season against Notre Dame, followed by games at Colorado State and at home against Missouri. Where's a Weber State when you need it?
If they win those games and come into the final game at Boise with both teams somehow unbeaten and pull the upset, that would get Nevada into a BCS bowl, but I think that's highly unlikely. Going 10-2 is still probably on the north side of optimistic.
And really, the only fans who aren't happy with 10-2 seasons are Bronco fans. If that's as good as it gets for Nevada, then Pack fans (and packfan) have nothing to complain about.
Louisiana Tech: stranger things have happened, like this
I'm afraid to discount the chances of the Bulldogs, if only because I have a sneaking suspicion that LaTech head coach Derek Dooley knows where I live. Still, I cannot actively support a WAC team's BCS chances when said WAC team has a road game at LSU in mid-November.
Even if the Bulldogs find a way to beat Auburn in week one and get by Nevada in an early season WAC showdown, that LSU game looms like Taylor Bennett's senior day. No one looks forward to it, but you know you're going to have to get it over with sooner or later.
Fresno State, Utah State, San Jose State, Hawaii: yeah, no
First off, allow me to make note of a couple interesting aspects of this group. Number one, Fresno State is no longer the most feared Bulldogs team in the WAC. Second, Utah State is no longer in the "others" rung of the conference. Third, San Jose State still has a football team.
Those points notwithstanding, none of those teams has a shot at the BCS. Fresno State is breaking in a new quarterback, Hawaii is still basking in the glow of the 2007 season, SJSU doesn't do offense, and Utah State, while being decidedly less Utah State-ish than normal, is still Utah State.
Idaho, New Mexico State: haha, that's a good one
I'm not even going to go there.