It would appear that media, fans and the like are up in arms over Boise State’s Preseason Coaches and AP ranking of #5 and #3 respectively. I am of the thought, like so many, that Boise State should not be ranked this high; however my reason for saying so is much different.
Media and Fans of College Football Argument against Boise State’s Ranking
The most obvious and most often used argument against Boise State’s ranking is the schedule they play. The Broncos are, for the last season, members of the Western Athletic Conference, where they play the likes of Utah State, San Jose State and New Mexico State.
WAC teams are seen as teams BCS teams schedule at the beginning of the season as a tune up in week 1 or 2. Most often these games end up being very lopsided in favor of the BCS team. To get a sense of how these games have gone, Coach Robb Akey was quoted as saying in response to what went well against the Arizona Wildcats “the plane home didn’t crash.”
Granted it is not always gloom and doom when the WAC ventures out into non-conference BCS play. Pat Hill and the Fresno State Bulldogs often play one of the toughest schedules in the WAC and play BCS teams hard, coming away with victories. Most recently the Broncos have had success against tough BCS opponents most notably with wins versus Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and back to back victories over the University of Oregon in 2008 & 2009.
On the flip side many will argue that if you put Boise State into the SEC or Pac Ten, success would not come so easy. Granted if the 2010 version of the Boise State Broncos were playing in a BCS conference, the road would be much more difficult. However, remember if Boise State were in, say the Pac Ten, they would certainly have access to Pac Ten money and Pac-Ten talent. Boise State Football does what it does with its portion of a 28 million dollar athletic budget of an Idaho State run school. Image what Chris Petersen and company could do with a 75 million dollar athletic budget.
My argument against Boise State’s ranking
Polls in general are plagued with bias. Take Craig James’ vote. Mr. James votes seam out of place, he Texas Tech and has Miami unranked and Texas A&M at 22nd, not to mention Georgia at number 7, versus an overall ranking of 23.
Voters either don’t care or wait until the last moment. Joe Giglio, of the Raleigh News & Observer, in this year’s preseason AP poll has Boise State ranked #1. Yes, Boise State received 1 vote to be the number 1 team in all the land. However, consider on the same ballet, Giglio had Nebraska, Pittsburgh and Miami ranked 3, 4 & 5 respectively. One shouldn’t take too much stock in Mr. Giglio’s votes.
The bottom line is simple, the preseason poll means nothing. After the first month of the season Boise State could have a record of 3-0, 2-1, 1-2 or 0-3. The Broncos could be ranked lower with 3 wins or out of the top 25 with 1 loss. I have seen it happen every year and will see happen again this year, whether it is the Broncos or another team.
Where should the Broncos be ranked?
The Broncos have been very successful since joining, Division 1 football. At home on the Blue Turf of Bronco Stadium, Boise State is dominating.
The last time the Broncos lost a home game on the Blue was to the Pac Ten’s Washington State Cougars. The 2001 Cougars, under Mike Price, finished ranked in the top 10 that year and went on to play in the Rose Bowl the following year.
Since joining the Western Athletic Conference the Broncos have only 3 losses against WAC teams. The Broncos have been WAC Champions 7 out of 9 years.
The Broncos average margin of victory versus WAC opponents during the same time period is 29 points. Under Coach Petersen the number has fallen off by 1 point, but Bronco Fans won’t hold that against him as one should expect the other WAC teams to step up some time.
The Bronco’s bowl record is 6-4 since joining Division 1 football. In the 4 losses the Broncos have lost by only a margin of 3.5 points. In every loss the Broncos had a chance pull off a win.
Here are some other items of note regarding the Broncos success. Coach Pete is also 4-1 against BCS teams. Former Broncos Ryan Clady and Kyle Wilson are both 1st round picks over the last 3 years
What does this all mean?
Consider the following; if a BCS team were to have joined the WAC in 2001 and play 9 seasons, I would argue that the same BCS team would be hard pressed to top what the Broncos have done over the same period.
Preseason rankings are also based on the respect the media and coaches have for teams. The Broncos return 21 of the 22 starters from the 2010 Fiesta Bowl Team. Given the resume of success, it would appear the Broncos ranking is based on respect, a respect often reserved for College Football’s elite and most storied programs.
Coach Pete may have summed it up best when asked if the Broncos deserved their 2010 preseason Ranking, “Instead of proving everybody wrong, now we (Boise State) want to prove everybody right.” The Boise State Broncos begin their quest to prove everybody right Sept 6, 2010. Go Broncos!!