clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Top 25 analysis: Where should Boise State rank among the nation's best teams?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Top 25 Polls Letterman
Top 25 Polls Letterman

Boise State is one of 14 undefeated teams remaining in college football, and they have been a Top Five staple since the season began. So it seems odd to be asking ... Should Boise State be ranked among the nation's best? Have the Broncos been playing like a Top Five team?

Those are two very different questions with two very different answers, and they are questions I've been hearing a lot lately. Join me after the jump for a discussion, and feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on the Broncos and the polls.

Question No. 1: Should Boise State be ranked among the nation's best teams?

I guess it depends how you determine the nation's best teams. At this point in the season, I think it's fair to assess the best teams in the country based on their results against quality competition. In the first five weeks, an upper class has developed. Those teams include:

  • LSU
  • Alabama
  • Oklahoma
  • Clemson
  • Stanford
  • Wisconsin
  • Boise State

You could put Oregon, Oklahoma State, and a few others in there, too. Does Boise State belong? Some might say no, based on the quality, Top 25 wins that the other schools have posted. But Boise State has played a tougher schedule than everyone else in the Top Ten except for Alabama and Clemson. It's just that BSU's marquee win happened a month ago, and their competition since then has lacked buzz (Nevada was the No. 24 team in the country according to Richard Billingsley).   

If you take it a step further and go team-by-team with Boise State and its Top Ten cronies, I think you'll find flaws everywhere you look. There are some very good teams in college football this year. There are no perfect ones. Choosing Boise State as one of the very good ones is going to be a matter of personal opinion, and for the first time in a year-and-a-half, Bronco fans could go either way and be justified on both sides. Personally, I say they belong with their fellow Top Ten teams. They're just a lot closer to falling out of that group than we're used to.

Question No. 2: Have the Broncos been playing like a Top Five team? 

Coach Pete would say no. I imagine most fans would, too. At least for me, I expect Top Five teams to play near-perfect football, and I don't think the Broncos have come close to that yet this season. For reference, a Top Five team plays like Boise State did last year. It's a harsh comparison to make, but there's not much room for coddling at the top. Boise State has eight games left to prove me wrong, and I think they are capable of doing so. 

Official Top 25 polls - AP, USA Today, and last year's BCS Poll

More poll data available at the ESPN website.

Football Rankings


Official weird poll / computer formula of the week


Colley Matrix

Part of the BCS's Computer Federation of ratings, the Colley Matrix boasts on its website to be bias-free ... and totally in bed with Michigan!

The Matrix's Top Ten is unlike any other Top Ten you will find, which could be either a good thing (look at how outside-the-box and bias-free it thinks) or a bad thing (corrupted data). You be the judge. Here is the CM's Top Ten through five weeks of football.

  1. Alabama
  2. Michigan
  3. Clemson
  4. Illinois
  5. Texas
  6. Oklahoma State
  7. LSU
  8. Oklahoma
  9. Boise State
  10. Georgia Tech

Pretty wacky stuff, considering that Colley's No. 2 team is America's No. 12 team, and Colley's No. 7 is everyone else's No. 1 or No. 2. I understand that computer rankings get better and better throughout the season as the sample size grows larger, so I don't fault the Matrix for marching to the beat of its own graphing calculator. We could all use a little polling levity. And there's this: Idaho is the fifth worst team in the country, according to the CM. Computer WIN!

Official OBNUG Top 25 poll

If you can't see the image below, go to Google Docs to get the full OBNUG Top 25 breakdown.


Others receiving votes: None

Explanation: The OBNUG Top 25 poll uses a points-based ranking system to determine its order. Each pollster receives 50 points to distribute to teams as he or she sees fit. The max points that a voter can award a team is 10 points. The minimum is one point. There is no voting for Idaho allowed.

Wisconsin and Clemson gained ground on the Top Four teams in the OBNUG Poll, but nothing ended up changing at the top. That isn't to say that the OBNUG Poll is voting on straight party lines, though. Take a look at some of the votes below, and you may notice a schism between voters who feel Boise State is among the nation's best teams and those who think the Broncos are less so. 

There are no wrong answers in this polling business, and you only get closer to an educated guess the more games that are played. So while Wisconsin and Clemson and Michigan look like world beaters now, we've all seen enough college football to know that there's no sense thinking you know anything until much later in the season, if ever.

That said, Look how bad Idaho is!

Transparency is king

Meet your voters for this week, and guffaw in delight at how foolishly you think they voted.

Profilepic_small_mediumKevan Lee: Oklahoma (10), LSU (10), Alabama (10), Clemson (6),
Boise State (5), Wisconsin (5), Stanford (2), Oregon (2),

Truecrime_prater_small_mediumNick Kroes: Oklahoma (4), LSU (4), Boise State (4), Alabama (4), 
Oklahoma State (4), Wisconsin (4), Clemson (4), Stanford (3), Texas (3),
Illinois (3), Michigan (3), Georgia Tech (3), Kansas State (3), Oregon (1),
Arkansas (1), Arizona State (1), West Virginia (1)
Kellenmoorepoint_copyedit_small_mediumMKingery: Alabama (6), LSU (6), Oklahoma (5), Boise State (5), 
Wisconsin (5), Clemson (5), Oklahoma St (4), Stanford (4), Texas (3), 
Georgia Tech (2), Michigan (1), Nebraska (1), Illinois (1), West Virginia (1), 
Auburn (1)
Myson_bsu_small_mediumLoque: Alabama (5), LSU (4), Clemson (4), Oklahoma  State (3), Boise State (3),
Texas (3), Georgia Tech (3), Michigan (3), Illinois (3), Kansas State (3), 
Oklahoma (2), Wisconsin (2), Stanford (2), Nebraska (2), Auburn (1), Arizona
State (1), Washington (1), South Carolina (1), Florida (1), Houston (1), 
Texas Tech (1), North Carolina (1)
Bsu_trumpet_logo_small_mediumD_summit: LSU (6), Alabama (6), Boise State (5), Oklahoma (5), Stanford (4),
Wisconsin (5), Oklahoma State (4), Oregon (4), Clemson (3), 
Texas (3), Michigan (2), Arkansas (2)
Reflectivity_mediumreflectivity: Oklahoma (10), Alabama (9), Boise State (8), LSU (7), Stanford (5),
Wisconsin (4), Oklahoma State (3), Nebraska (2), Clemson (1), Virginia Tech (1)

Noel-diggity_mediumNoel.Diggity: Oklahoma (10), Alabama (9), Boise State (8), LSU (7), Stanford (5), 
Wisconsin (4), Oklahoma State (3), Clemson (2), Texas (1), Kansas State (1)

Masin-mud_mediummasinmud: LSU (5), Oklahoma (4), Alabama (4), Boise State (4), Stanford (3),
Wisconsin (3), Oklahoma State (3), Clemson (3), Michigan (3), Georgia Tech (3),
Illinois (3), Texas (2), Kansas State (2), Oregon (1), Arkansas (1), Arizona 
State (1), Washington (1), Virginia Tech (1), Michigan State (1), Penn State (1), 
Pittsburgh (1)
Jrig_mediumJrig: LSU (9), Boise State (7), Alabama (7), Oklahoma (6), Wisconsin (6), 
Stanford (5), Oregon (4), Oklahoma State (2), Clemson (2), Michigan (1), 
Nebraska (1),
Obnug-intern_mediumOBNUG Intern: LSU (7), Alabama (6), Wisconsin (6), Oklahoma (5), 
Boise State (5), Stanford (4), Oklahoma State (4), Clemson (3), Michigan (3), 
Oregon (2), Texas (2), Georgia Tech (2), Georgia (1)

Kmd1_mediumKMD1: LSU (10), Alabama (9), Oklahoma (8), Wisconsin (7), Boise State (6), 
Clemson (4), Oregon (2), Oklahoma State (2), Texas (2)

Kmd1_mediummikrino: LSU (10), Alabama (8), Oklahoma (8), Wisconsin (6), Stanford (6), 
Clemson (5), Oklahoma State (5), Boise State (2)

Abstained from voting due to washing their hair: Nate Peters, Rand McNalley, statguy, and greekpadre.

Your turn - Help shape our BlogPoll and right our wrongs

Let us know where we went wrong with the OBNUG Poll, and we'll get this thing as right as rain. Should someone be higher? Lower? What are your feelings on Boise State being one of the top teams in the country? Share your thoughts in the comments.