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Chaos about to ensue

October 17, 2010
By B.J. LISKO, Salem News Sports Editor

Cue the chaos now, please. Ohio State bit it. Hard. And now Boise State is one step closer to making their improbable trip to the BCS National Championship game.

For all those that think I'm a nut for saying all along that Boise State is as good as any other team in the country, hear me out for a second, because I'm about to say something that goes against just about everything I've ever said.

I love Boise State. I want to see them in the national title game. But it took a one-loss Wisconsin team playing at another level in front of an absolutely rabid crowd throwing the No. 1 team in the land around like a rag doll for me to finally understand that even though I personally feel Boise deserves to be there for their efforts, they shouldn't be.

Let me write that again in case you thought you had a brain freeze. Boise State shouldn't be in the BCS National Championship game.

I love Boise head coach Chris Peterson. I love the anyone, any place, any time attitude of schools like Boise State and Fresno State as well, but because no one wants to risk a non-conference loss, and because the grind of a Big Ten or SEC schedule is already enough of a daunting task, very few will take them up on that offer.

When other schools have taken them up, the Broncos are so ravenous to prove themselves they've beaten the now No. 1 Oregon two years straight prior to this year, and they've also tackled Oregon State two years straight. Did Oregon have to schedule Boise? No. Did Oregon State? No. To their credit they both did, and went a combined 0-4 and were out of the national title pictures before they even had a chance to get going. Remember, Oregon lost last year's season opener to the Broncos and then went on to win the Pac-10.

Boise got too big for I-AA football, they've been way too big for the Western Athletic Conference, and they're certainly going to be too big for the Mountain West Conference when they join next year.

Up and down, do I believe that Boise State is as talented as the top teams in the Big Ten and SEC? This year, yes, absolutely.

And yes, I also think if you put Boise in either conference they would have a legitimate shot to win those conferences with this year's team.

But that's a fairy tale that's not going to happen. Boise will blow out the rest of their WAC competition en route to another unbeaten season.

Whether they get into the title contest at the end is still uncertain, but there isn't a team in the country that Boise can't beat. The problem is they only have to play a few high profile games like that in a season, so we as fans are left wondering, what if?

What if Boise State played in the Big Ten or SEC or even Pac-10? Could their team hold up? Would the team stay healthy playing bigger opponents week in and week out? Would the team be able to string together win after win after win if those wins had to come at Camp Randall, Ohio Stadium, The Big House or anywhere really in SEC country?

We'll never know. But I finally get the argument. They have a decisive advantage if they make the title game over all of those schools because they only have to play on stages that big a few times a year. When they're on them, they win. But there are no lookahead weeks for Boise. There has never been back-to-back weeks for the Broncos that are as difficult as what Alabama just had to do three weeks in a row. There are no 100,000 seaters week after week. These are factors the Broncos never have to face.

You can't fault Boise. They've done everything they can, everything they're supposed to do. I want to see them win it all because they're my team. But I can also see why a distinct hatred has arose against Boise State when it comes to this argument. I love Boise State, but I get it.

The BCS has worked for Boise State. They've been an at-large bid twice in the last three years, received huge pay-outs for their seasons, attracted a boatload of quality recruits because of their national exposure and have made money for their university just like Ohio State does by scheduling MAC schools, all at home, and then blows through, or suffers just one loss in the Big Ten on their way to a big BCS payday.

With the BCS it's always been, and always will be about money. The trickle-down effect it has had on how schools in the hunt for the title set their schedules up is pretty much universal.

I have yet to really find anyone that likes the BCS system other than the BCS itself for all the money it rakes in.

If there's one thing almost universally that college football fans would agree on, is that there should be a playoff system, or at least a plus-one game so the games are decided on the field.

The only way that happens is chaos. Boise State getting into and winning the National Championship would in fact cause that chaos, because in other BCS bowls the debate could rage over a 1-loss, or quite possibly this year, another unbeaten that didn't make the title game and won in the postseason.

I root for Boise because I love their stupid blue field. I love their games because they have a video game offense and they wipe the floor with everyone in their conference, and every one of their high-profile games lives up to the hype with them winning in dramatic fashion.

This year, above all, I root for Boise State because they can change the system. One thing fans, players, coaches and ultimately anyone having anything to do with college football does not want are two national champions.

This is sports. We like our beer cold, our crowds rowdy, our guts full of greasy food, and we like to know who the winner is. Clear cut. No room for computers or errors or flaws. You can take your tie games and stick 'em you know where.

If it all pans out though, and Boise does crack that shell and do the unthinkable, it's a good bet we're going to have a tie or at least a ridiculous debate. When it comes to football, that's about as terrible as it gets.

Unless Boise slips up, it's shaping up to be an ugly and controversial end to the 2010 season.

E-mail B.J. Lisko at



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