Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2010

Underdog role vexes Boise St.

September 9, 2010


What’s happening with Boise State right now is remarkable on several phony fronts.

By virtue of a dramatic 33-30 victory over Virginia Tech on Monday, the Broncos have emerged as the team America loves to ... what?

People watched — that’s a fact. ESPN’s 6.8 overnight rating for the game was up 21% from last year’s Miami-Florida State game on Labor Day.

Imagine that, an “upstart” program outgunning one of college football’s major marquees.

It was the network’s highest prime-time rating since it began airing college football on Labor Day in 2003.

Eyes are peeled on the Potato State team, but hoping to see what — Boise go down in the deep fryer?

What should be excitement over the prospect of a terrific story line is already tinged with backlash.

Does Boise State really deserve to be No. 3 in the national polls on Sept. 9?

The curmudgeon USA Today voting coaches, who live in the world of secret handshakes, had no choice really but to move Boise State up two spots, to No. 3 this week.

That’s not to suggest Boise State picked up any first-place votes — it didn’t. Those are still being hogged by No. 1 Alabama, which opened with a win over San Jose State — one of the schools Boise State gets criticized for beating every year.

Boise State also stayed put at No. 3 in the Associated Press poll, although the Broncos picked up seven first-place votes.

My inbox is getting cluttered by the neurotically nervous.

“So winning one game puts them in the national title hunt?” one guy wrote.”Now, they get to play their skirt schedule and go undefeated.”

This is after one game.

Some nattering media nabobs are even suggesting Boise State, because it plays in a weaker league, must be held to a different standard.

Here’s a news bulletin: Boise State already is.

It went undefeated three times in the regular season in the last decade and didn’t get a sniff, one reason the Broncos are upgrading next year from the Western Athletic Conference.

You remember the WAC, the football league that can barely tie its shoes?

Last weekend, Fresno State pummeled Cincinnati, the two-time defending Big East champion.

Boise State, on the road, defeated the defending Atlantic Coast champion.

Hawaii amassed 588 yards against USC — considered by many “the” team of the last decade.

Utah State went to Norman and nearly shocked Oklahoma.

If Boise State keeps winning, come Thanksgiving, your leftover turkey won’t be as picked over.

It’s funny, America fully embraces the underdog in every team sport except college football.

It’s OK for Boise State to reach a Bowl Championship Series bowl game and shock Oklahoma, but don’t think about trying to beat out my alma mater for a coveted BCS title shot.

Most people wanted to see Butler shock Duke in last year’s NCAA basketball championship game, yet many don’t want to give Boise State a shot at Alabama?

Despite the Broncos’ lofty early poll stature, getting from there to No. 1 or No. 2 is going to be the toughest job interview anyone has ever endured.

Boise State hosts Utah State on Dec. 4. Will it matter if the Broncos don’t need to hold their breath in the end the way Oklahoma needed to last week?

Here’s the real Boise bottom line: If it was to somehow reach No. 1 or No. 2, no team in BCS history would have worked harder to get there.

And no team would have deserved it more.


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