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Mr. Fiskers sets the Kansas City Star straight on this Boise State thing

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Boise State is ranked No. 4 and well on its way to another three months of national championship debate. Here's some now, courtesy of the Kansas City Star.

Blogger/agitator/crusader for the big guy, Martin Manley shared his opinions on Boise State's ranking and the national championship race in an article that you can pretty much just copy and paste for the next three months. He explains the reasons why Boise State doesn't belong. Mr. Fiskers helps explain why Manley is wrong. Enjoy, after the jump.

Fisking is a point-by-point criticism that highlights perceived errors, or disputes the analysis in a statement, article, or essay. Mr. Fiskers is OBNUG's fisking cat. He has hyperthyroidism.

Martin Manley of the Kansas City Star nearly spilled his Grape Nuts when he opened the newspaper on Tuesday morning. Boise State is ranked No. 4 overall? Marmaduke stole a pastry off a window sill again? We have an African-American President?

First things first, Mr. Manley had to take care of this Boise State business, so it was off to his e-journal where he penned a piece on the many reasons why Boise State is undeserving of a national championship. Never mind the fact that half of the United States of Newspaper Reporters beat him to this story three years ago, Manley wanted his voice to be heard. And so it was ... by Mr. Fiskers. 

Here now is Mr. Fiskers' review of Mr. Manley's opus.

Headline: Boise State - Here we go again!

Buckle up, Mr. Fiskers. It's going to be a bumpy ride through Illogical Town, Population: Martin Manley.


If you didn't notice, the AP poll came out yesterday. Boise State has two first (yes, I said "first") place votes and is ranked #4 overall.

Mr. Fiskers is confused. Since Manley put "first" in quotations, does that mean the first place votes aren't really first place votes? Are they second place votes? Are they delicious pies? This "column" is quite confusing already. Mr. Fiskers needs "something" to take the edge off.


In addition, the two first place votes are from the same guys who voted Boise State "first" on their preseason ballots. Those votes haven's changed in nearly three weeks. Someone get Manley on the AP e-mail list.

That's right. The team is just one loss by two teams in front of them away from a theoretical shot at a national title. What a joke!

I know! The idea of a real national title! Hilarious!


While we're dealing in theory, it should be noted that a loss by Oklahoma to, say, Florida State, or a loss by LSU to, say, Alabama, probably wouldn't drop either team behind Boise State. 

And there's the fact that the teams behind the Broncos can and will theoretically jump BSU after a quality win. So to borrow some Manley sentence construction, the team is just one loss by two teams in front of them away from a theoretical shot at a national title provided there are no wins by any teams behind them away from jumping them or no losses deemed not loss enough by any teams in front of them away from not moving at all. 

Get Mr. Fiskers more "something." It's going to be a long one.


The unfortunate part of this for me is that I would love to be a big Boise fan ...



... but with all the absurd salivating going on over them, I have to take the other side of that issue.

Absurd salivating? Hey, no need to bring Lou Holtz into this.


What a sacrifice by Manley, by the way, to give up his wanton desire to be a big Boise fan (City of Trees and Chuck Wagons, don't you know) for the righteous crusade of not doing that. Someone has to take a stand against absurd salivating. What a choice! What a sacrifice!

This remind's Mr. Fiskers of some movies.




Boise will have beaten a very average BCS team on the road by 14 points.

Boy, Georgia sure did go from SEC powerhouse and Top 10 darkhorse to average BCS team in a short time. I guess that happens when you get beat so thoroughly as to look average. Probably says a lot about the other team, too, don't you think, Mr. Fiskers?

That's good, but "good" is all it is. Otherwise, if Boise goes undefeated, it will have beaten a bunch of nobodies - the exception being TCU.

Karl Benson made him write that.

Also of note, there are eight bowl teams on Boise State's schedule, and Air Force, San Diego State, Tulsa, or Toledo could be ranked by season's end.

But, TCU gave up 50 points to Baylor last weekend and has almost no opportunity to redeem itself as per its schedule unless it beats Boise - and then this whole nightmare goes away.

No more absurd salivating. Our national nightmare could be over, you guys!

Let's break this down.

Boise beat Georgia at Georgia. Yes, I know... SEC team. But, that same team was 6-7 last year. Big deal.

Yes, Mr. Fiskers, you did just see Manley use last year's record to make a point that this year's Georgia team is no good. All aboard the Manley Fallacy Train. 


And if we're judging teams based on last year's records, then Manley must be pretty excited about that Boise State - Nevada game. Two Top 15 teams!

Even then, Boise only out-gained Georgia by 17 yards - 390-373.

So how can you really tell if one college football team beat another college football team? 

  1. Total yards
  2. Score. Maybe.

Give this man a Nobel Prize in stats. Incredible!


The previous year, Boise's big claim to fame was in beating Virginia Tech in the first game of the season. Of course, V-Tech lost the following game to James Madison - who lost to Delaware, New Hampshire, Villanova, Massachusetts and Richmond - a bunch of world beaters.

Boy, it sounds like Virginia Tech totally laid an egg for the entire 2010 season. Wonder how things turned out ...



Boise also beat a ranked Oregon State team, but we later discovered that was meaningless as the Beavers ended the season 5-7.

And did you see the total yards in that game?!

One of the big stats Boise fans want to scream from the top of the local mountain is that BSU is 7-1 vs BCS teams in the last six seasons.

Sure, that's a nice stat to scream at the top of our mountain ...


... but Boise State fans don't use that as justification to be ranked in the Top Five after one week of football. We use these stats:

  • Boise State beat SEC East favorite Georgia, 35-21 on Saturday
  • Boise State kept Georgia out of the red zone, held a decided advantage in time of possession, passed with greater efficiency, and controlled the lines of scrimmage
  • Boise State was one of only four schools to beat a ranked opponent on opening weekend

I get that. Good job. But, all that means to me is that they have played 1.33 BCS teams per season. That doesn't cut the mustard.

More importantly ... what were the total yardage numbers from those games? Those would cut Manley's mustard.


You simply cannot claim to be worthy of a national championship because you beat a BCS team that might be ranked once a year.

No. Mr. Fiskers, put down that bowl of Christmas tree water. Life is worth living!


I hate to have to make these arguments year in and year out, but such is life as a Bronco fan. So here goes ...

The teams with claims on an FBS national championship should include the following: Every FBS team. By definition, if you play in a certain classification of a sport, you should be eligible for that sport's championship. Otherwise, what's the point? 

And Manley's argument that Boise State plays a team that might be ranked proves just how hard scheduling can be. The Broncos set their schedule years in advance when they can't possibly know what teams are going to be good or bad. Even if they scheduled a day before the season began, there is still an element of unknown.

What's more is that Boise State only controls one-third of its scheduling, and even that control is largely superficial. Can Boise State schedule whoever it wants? Of course not. Teams don't want to play the Broncos, and when teams do want to play them (like Nebraska's famous 2-for-1 offer), they make demands that serve to marginalize BSU. It's madness, I tell you.

On the other hand, the three teams in front of Boise in the polls - Oklahoma, Alabama and LSU each defeated five ranked teams in 2010 alone!

Automatic berths in the 2011 championship game for those teams. Congratulations!


It's nonsensical to try to squeeze a square Boise into a round #1 slot. It just won't fit.


The Top 24 teams in the AP poll at the moment consist of 23 BCS teams and Boise. All of those teams play each other multiple times.

Technically, that's not true. Virginia Tech plays zero ranked teams. Stanford only plays one ranked team (Oregon). Oregon has one ranked team (Stanford) from here on out. South Florida has one ranked team (West Virginia) the rest of the way.

Oh, and the No. 25 team that Manley conveniently drew the line just before: TCU, whom Boise State plays. 

Also, to his earlier point, Boise State played a ranked Oregon State team that finished 5-7. Rankings obviously don't matter ... unless they fit Manley's hypotheses, in which case they matter a lot. 

It's impossible to go undefeated (or even one loss) without having been tested over and over again.

Unless you play in the Pac-12 or the Big East or the ACC.

Here is Boise's remaining schedule compared to Oklahoma. If an opponent is ranked by the AP, it is shown as #Bolded. If not, the ranking is Sagarin's.


There is (obviously) zero comparison.

Except for the comparison Manley just made. Rimshot!


So, the question is whether Oklahoma should lose one of those many tough games, but Boise sails through their pud schedule... should Boise move ahead of OU?

Of course not.

So Mr. Fiskers, if Oklahoma lost by 30 to No. 24 Texas, should Oklahoma stay in front of Boise State? If the Sooners lost at home by three scores to No. 21 Missouri, should Oklahoma stay ahead of the Broncos? 



The only reason they would (if they did) would be the laughably ludicrous system used by most sportswriters in voting - that being that if a team loses and other doesn't and they are near each other in the polls, they leapfrog.

... except when it doesn't work that way, like every time Boise State got close to a No. 2 ranking last year only to get dinged for playing an easy team and then jumped by a BCS school.

The ludicrous system ...


... that Manley references may have been used in the late 90's and early 00's, but I don't see it any more. Voters are smart enough to realize not all wins and losses are created equal. Not even all wins are created equal, which is why Boise State jumped Stanford in the polls this week after the Broncos beat Georgia and the Cardinal beat San Jose State.

The better rankings, by far IMO, will be the computer rankings because they are only interested in the facts, not some arbitrary "undefeated" variable.

So it's computer rankings that Manley wants, eh?

Last year, the computers had Boise State as high as No. 3, and the Broncos played a worse schedule than they will play this year. To that end, here are some early rankings for Week Two of the 2011 season:

The computer polls will likely not bump Boise ahead of OU (for example) should the Sooners lose a game along the way.

Computers love underperforming teams (and starring in awkward stock photography).


Bringing up OU will, I'm sure, bring up thoughts of 2006 for Boise fans.

Haha, Bob Stoops.


That's when the team came into the national spotlight. But, just so there is no misunderstanding, Boise came into that game undefeated while OU had two losses and several close wins.

Oklahoma's two losses were to Oregon and Texas, and the Sooners guaranteed a spot in a BCS game by winning the Big XII championship game against Nebraska. Also of note, I have no idea what this paragraph has to do with anything.

Additionally, OU out-yardaged BSU ...

... by 30 yards. So basically, it was an Oklahoma romp. I'm surprised they even needed to keep score in this one.

... but via trick plays and an overtime, Boise won 43-42.

No, Mr. Fiskers. Put down that flamethrower! He didn't mean it!


Nevertheless, although that was five years ago, that's the basis that is used when making the argument that Boise belongs with the big boys.

Um, there's also the stat that Manley himself mentioned earlier. Boise State is 7-1 against BCS schools.

They don't. And, until they have a schedule that is even remotely comparable, they shouldn't even be considered for a national championship.

National championships are for SEC teams only. Deal with it.


The sooner they lose a game, the better, simply so we don't have to keep hearing about it ...

Ah, some refreshingly objective sports analysis. No rooting interests here, folks. Move along.

... I'd love to root for them - David v. Goliath and all ...

That's right, Mr. Fiskers. Ignore the previous 500 words about how Boise State is an abomination to liberty and know that Manley would really love to root for them, Biblical salivating and all.

... but I have no choice except to root against them so that some semblance of sanity will prevail in this otherwise flawed system.


By all means, let's have sanity prevail the way it usually does by finishing the year with four undefeated BCS teams and only picking two of them to play each other for the title. We must preserve this college football tradition like the precious Brontosaur bone that it is.


On the other hand, if they went undefeated and played another undefeated BCS team in the championship game and then lost by 30... maybe that would do more for an eventual tournament.

Manley paraphrase: "So forget what I said this entire article. I'm back on the Boise State bus, you guys!"

At this point, it's anyone's guess.

Bold move to go with complete lack of closure for a closing line.

Well, there you have it, Bronco friends. Mr. Manley's manifesto against the Broncos hits on a lot of points that have been hashed and re-hashed for the past half-a-decade and will likely be hashed and re-hashed for future half-decades to come. It's the classic argument: Boise State doesn't deserve a national title even though it beat an SEC team and all other teams it faced since that SEC team was not LSU. Other excuses are to follow, as people have time to think them up.

Get ready for three months of this debate, but rest easy knowing that we Bronco fans are in the right. Boise State belongs with the elite of college football. You know it. I know it. And assuming that Martin Manley subscribes to OBNUG in his RSS reader, Martin Manley knows it, too.