Only in college football could the third-ranked team in the nation somehow lose during their bye week.
Boise State gets the honors this year, and in week two no less, because Virginia Tech managed to lose to I-AA James Madison at home, in Blacksburg.
The immediate reaction all over the country was just shock that the Hokies could play so badly against a clearly overmatched opponent. Tech had way, way too much talent and good coaching to lose that game, but they somehow managed it anyway.
That, of course, sent the talking heads looking for a reason this could happen and an angle from which to discuss it. About 30 seconds later, some one uttered, “hey, this loss is bad for Boise State!” and the rest is history.
By Saturday night, every talking head said something along the lines of what Rece Davis said on ESPN’s Gameday Final:
I had thought Boise State needed all but one team to have two losses in order to play in the national championship game. But with their marquee victory being tarnished by James Madison, I’m sure of it. What a devastating loss for the Hokies and perhaps a crushing one for the Broncos.
Note the words “marquee victory,” and the not so subtle idea that he thought both Alabama and Ohio State (plus some other teams, apparently) needed to lose twice for an undefeated Boise team to make it into the BCS National “Championship” game.
ESPN is a subsidiary of ABC, which airs the Rose Bowl, a BCS game.
Others used similar language when talking about Boise’s strength of schedule being hurt in the computer polls and in the coaches’ rankings and the other random crap used to rank college football teams and figure out who gets the money.
This is all coded language used to minimize Boise State because they play in the Western Athletic Conference, which does not have an automatic bid into the BCS. And teams in the WAC couldn’t possibly be as good as teams in the ACC or Big East. Or the SEC West, yeesh. Wonder if that would change if they could get the same bowl money.
The BCS, of course, is the entity created by corporate sponsors (such as Tostitos and FedEx) and the “major” conferences to collude every January so that only the big boys get any of the real bowl money from the sponsors. In return, the big boys get “better” bowl games like Virginia Tech/Kansas or Illinois/USC.
If a non-AQ school such as Boise State ever actually won the BCS “national title,” it would undermine the entire existence of the BCS because it was founded on the assumption that only teams from the “major” conferences would be good enough to actually win against the other big boys. The BCS even matches up the non-AQ schools that make it in with crappy opponents or other non-AQ schools in the BCS, so that the biggies aren’t embarrassed if they lose (see: Utah/Pitt, TCU/Boise State).
Sometimes it happens anyway (see: Utah 31 Alabama 17 and Boise State 43 Oklahoma 42). So tell me again how the non-AQ’s have no business in the BCS because of their strength of schedule, which obviously indicates they can’t play with the AQ schools.
If the talking heads on ESPN, and other places, are already speaking against Boise State, this is only the buildup to the initial BCS standings, in which the Broncos will inevitably be ranked lower than the number three spot they currently inhabit. Watch for the talking heads to throw up their hands and say something along the lines of “that’s the formula!”
I can’t decide if Boise actually making the BCS title game or getting screwed out of it would be better for the cause of a playoff in college football, but to see the full power of the BCS and its tentacles already reaching out through subsidiaries like ESPN/ABC is scary to watch.
To paraphrase, and totally change the meaning of, FDR: this is the stuff of which dictatorships are made.