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The Reality Check on Boise State

The talk about Boise State as a legit national title contender is only going to increase as the off season goes along. The piece earlier today kind of covered the pro side of the argument. Here comes the con though.

Boise State should get some measure of congratulations for taking on Virginia Tech all the way across the country. A lot of teams haven't ventured that far from home in the regular season in recent years (or decades... *cough*Florida*cough*). The next best team on the schedule is Oregon State, which has averaged nine wins a year over the last four seasons. After that, the next best team is either Wyoming, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, or Fresno State depending on how those teams pan out.

Now, playing a potential national title contender and a probable nine-win team from a major conference is nice. But you know who else will play that combination? Nearly every single major conference team, only they'll all have multiple Oregon States on their schedules thanks to their conferences. Many of them will have a decent-to-good major conference team or two outside their leagues.

Until and unless Boise State schedules good teams (AQ conference and high end MWC squads) in all four or five of its non-conference slots, it's going to have little room to complain about being left out of the national title game.

Sure it sucks that the WAC is terrible and the Pac-10 won't send the Broncos an invite. That's out of BSU's control.

What is in its control is the way it fills up its non-conference slate, and it's not doing as much as it can to crank up the difficulty rating. Boise State knows it's able to get return games from the Pacific Northwest Pac-10 schools as well as the upper crust of the MWC like Utah and BYU. It must milk that for all its worth while swallowing its pride and doing guarantee games elsewhere. I understand that a lot of major teams won't put up the money to bring the Broncos to their campuses for fear of losing, but scheduling Miami University several years out is giving up without trying.

The point of doing that isn't just to get some quality wins, which sure helps. The point is that playing those big programs week in and week out is more physically taxing on a team than playing non-BCS programs almost every game. Even the ones that don't go to bowls every year like Mississippi State and Iowa State are still bigger, faster, and hit harder than the San Jose States and Louisiana Techs of the world. Boise State can always be fresh for its one to three big games each season because it's not getting beat up as badly on a weekly basis.

BSU will get its chance to play for it all sooner or later as long as it keeps having undefeated years. This season might be that season. But while it'd be nice if Boise State gets those wins over VT and Oregon State this fall, the schedule still doesn't match up with a BCS conference schedule.