WAC commish: Perfect Boise St. would deserve BCS

Updated: October 2, 2006, 10:46 PM ET
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho -- The Western Athletic Conference commissioner said Monday that should Boise State finish the regular season undefeated, the Broncos should get a high enough ranking to get a berth in a lucrative Bowl Championship Series game.

"Any team that were to finish the season 12-0 certainly is a deserving team and should be ranked in the Top 12," Commissioner Karl Benson said during his weekly conference call, where he was peppered with BCS questions. "I have confidence that the system will reward a 12-0 team."

The WAC champion doesn't get an automatic berth to one of the five BCS bowl games, but can qualify if the team is ranked in the Top 12 of the BCS standings. The WAC champion could also qualify for a BCS berth if the team is ranked in the Top 16 of the BCS standings and is also ranked higher than the champion of a conference that does get an automatic berth.

The first BCS standings will be released Oct. 15.

While the BCS talk swirls around the Broncos, head coach Chris Petersen so far has dismissed the conjecture.

"It really has nothing to do with us as a team," Petersen said. "It may in six or seven weeks, but right now it's irrelevant. Things could change dramatically in two weeks, let alone seven weeks."

Boise State, at 5-0 (1-0 WAC), is a long way from 12-0. But the Broncos moved up to No. 20 in The Associated Press poll after overwhelming Utah 36-3 on Saturday in a game that had been expected to be one of the Broncos' tougher challenges of the season.

"I think any voter who saw Boise State play Utah saw a very good team," Benson said.

A BCS berth is worth about $10 million to the conference that sends the team, said Charles Bloom, BCS media coordinator. Benson declined to say how much of that would go to Boise State if it qualifies.

"There'd be a significant windfall to both the WAC and the member institution," Benson said.

The question for Boise State now becomes not only whether the Broncos can keep winning, but whether victories over their remaining opponents will be enough to push them into the Top 12.

The Broncos already have what were considered three of their more difficult games behind them: a 42-14 win over the Pac-10 Conference's Oregon State on Sept. 7 in Boise; a 41-34 home win over Hawaii on Sept. 23; and Saturday's rout of Utah on the road in Boise State's last non-conference game of the regular season.

So far, though, the Broncos have not played a ranked opponent, and the collective record of their five opponents to date is 9-13.

The Broncos have a favorable schedule remaining, with their most difficult test likely being Fresno State on Nov. 1 on the blue turf of Bronco Stadium, where the Broncos are 22-1 the last four years.

The Broncos last went undefeated in the regular season in 2004, going 11-0 and finishing with a BCS rank of No. 9. But Utah, from the Mountain West Conference -- which also doesn't get an automatic berth to a BCS game -- ended up ranked No. 6 and became the first "BCS buster" with an invitation to the Fiesta Bowl.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press