Commentary

Broncos can't buck this trend

Updated: October 25, 2010, 2:16 PM ET
By Rick Reilly | ESPN.com

Boise StateTom Hauck/Getty ImagesBoise State's RB Doug Martin can run all season but he won't catch Auburn or Oregon due to flaws in the current BCS system.

So that's it, then. It's done. The fix is arranged. It's Game Over and everybody knows the score. The BCS computers TKO Boise State. Why keep punching when it's not a fair fight?

Auburn and Oregon are No. 1 and No. 2 in the country according to Sunday's latest, most fraudulent compilation yet from the BCS rankings. If those two schools win the rest of their games, they'll play in the BCS Championship Game.

And Boise State? Members of football's lowest caste system? It doesn't matter. The BSUntouchables play Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night, but they're just cleaning windows on the Titanic now. If Auburn and Oregon win out, Boise State can wipe out every opponent 50-0 and not make it in now. And the Broncos probably won't even if the Tigers and Ducks don't win out. Yes, we're talking about Auburn. The team that has 13 fewer wins over the past five seasons than Boise State.

Yes, we're talking about Oregon. The same team Boise State punched out last season 19-8.

[+] EnlargeChris Peterson
Brian Losness/US PresswireChris Petersen should speak up about his Broncos constantly getting bucked by an unfair BCS system.
It's the biggest rip-off since the Nigerian prince scam. It makes you wonder why you watch college football at all. What Boise State is being asked to do isn't doable. It's like trying to win a Cuban election. Or break into the Genovese family.

The Broncos are 6-0. They've won 20 straight games, the longest streak in the country. They've beaten two BCS automatic qualifiers -- 6th-ranked Virginia Tech and 24th-ranked Oregon State. Doesn't matter. BSU could whip the 103rd Infantry and it wouldn't get a sniff. The computers are in charge. The pod bay doors won't open.

Boise State is going to get seated at the kids' table again. The Broncos will go to some pointless bowl and beat somebody like they always do -- they've already bested Oklahoma and TCU in bowls like that -- and they'll come home with a win and a hatful of "You kids sure play with a lot of heart up there" put-downs from the BCS blazers.

Amazing, isn't it? NCAA Division I football is the only sport in the world where continued, uninterrupted, hats-in-the-air winning doesn't mean you keep progressing. For Boise State, it gets you a squirt of vinegar in the eye. It's a three-card Monty game and all they get is two cards. OK, here it comes. Say it: Boise State doesn't play anybody.

Boise State plays -- and beats -- whoever they throw at it. It thumped San Jose State 48-0. Wisconsin, which beat No. 1 Ohio State and No. 15 Iowa, only beat SJSU by 13, at home!

Boise State smashed Wyoming 51-6. Wyoming nearly beat Air Force and Air Force nearly beat Oklahoma. You're telling me Boise State couldn't beat OU? Oh, wait. It already did.

Boise State whipped Virginia Tech on the road. VT is undefeated in the ACC. Are you telling me Boise State wouldn't be carving up the ACC?

People think of Boise State as some kind of Tahitian ice skating team. It's not like the Broncos have to wait for the high school girls' field hockey team to get off the field at 5 p.m. before they can practice. They have killer facilities, blue or otherwise. They recruit against the best for the best. They have a head coach, Chris Petersen, who is 55-4 there. (Anybody remember Urban Meyer?) They've been to a bowl eight of the past nine seasons. They're trying to be the first BCS outsider to make the championship game, but who knew they'd have to whip a bunch of Geek Squadders, too?

"If they played anybody in the country," said Oregon's offensive coordinator, Mark Helfrich, who used to coach at Boise State, "they could give them a game. One time? Against anybody? Absolutely, they'd give them a serious game."

"If they played anybody in the country," said Oregon's offensive coordinator, Mark Helfrich, who used to coach at Boise State, "they could give them a game. One time? Against anybody? Absolutely, they'd give them a serious game."

"I think they'd be tough to beat," said Auburn's offensive line coach, Jeff Grimes, who also used to coach at Boise State. "They've proven that. They could beat anybody on any given Saturday. Could they win every Saturday in the SEC? No. But who can?"

How would Grimes feel if he were the Boise State coach, getting more shaft than Chilean miners?

"I think I'd say, 'Bout time for a playoff, isn't it?'" Grimes said.

Exactly.

Of course, Petersen, who's just so annoyingly classy, won't say boo. "Coach Petersen likes to stay away from the topic," said a Boise State spokesman. "If he starts worrying about the polls and all the noise out there about it, it will just be a distraction to the team."

No, what Petersen needs to do is get noisy in Boise! He needs to be calling up reporters and seething about the short in the BCS mainframes. He should be asking anybody, How come your schizoid computers keep vaulting unworthy teams over us to No. 1? Two weeks ago it was Ohio State. They lost. Last week, it was Oklahoma. They lost. This week, it's Auburn. Who's the computer going to leapfrog us with next? Swarthmore?

Boise State's athletes and coaches deserve better than this dog's breakfast. Fix the crappy data going into the computers. Get rid of the SEC bias. Update the strength-of-schedule logarithms. This is 2010, not 1960. The difference between the old-school schools and the new-school schools is a butterfly's burp.

Sports isn't fun when you take the anything-can-happen out of it and that's exactly what the computers have done.

Better yet, get us a damn playoff.


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