Cavalcade of Whimsy - The Boise State Issue
Boise State RB Doug Martin
Boise State RB Doug Martin
Posted Sep 14, 2010

Alright, let's get into it now. Does Boise State deserve a shot to play for the national title if it finishes unbeaten? The Florida offense, the rise of Michigan, the emergence of South Carolina, and more in the Week Two version of the Cavalcade of Whimsy.

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Sept. 14 - Week Two

Past Cavalcades
- 2008 Season | 2009 Season 
- Jan 19, Part 1 - Oh those wacky coaches 
- Jan 19, Part 2 - The sucky 2009 season 
- Sept. 7,  The Marcell Dareus Issue
By Pete Fiutak

- Week Two, Part 2 - Ten Things To Be Grouchy About 

Sorry if this column sucks, it's not my fault … "I definitely want the 2005 Heisman. Reggie Bush is definitely the Heisman Trophy winner for that year, but if they send it over to me I am not going to say no to it."

And could you do the same next year, and make sure the two teams are unbeaten? Love, Commissioner Delany. … Oh mighty and benevolent college football gods, if we are all good, chaste souls and we work hard, stay pure, don't leave the toilet seat up, and keep the Internet porn to a bare minimum, can you see it in your infinite wisdom and loving grace to please deliver us a healthy Denard Robinson vs. Terrelle Pryor showdown on November 27th?

And then I make a sign to no one in particular with my hand to make it look like the receiver screwed up and should've cut the other way … (Unfunny pretentious blurb meant to go here returned by Cameron Heyward after a bad read by Jacory Harris.)

"Normally I wear protection, but then I thought, "When am I gonna make it back to Haiti?" … Rich Rodriguez has managed to quiet the storm surrounding his job status and his supposedly renegade program that practices too hard by getting two all-timer performances out of Robinson. However, he should be fired immediately, and with great malice, if Robinson sees the field for more than two series in any of the next two games against UMass and Bowling Green. You don't put the winning lottery ticket in your pocket and then throw your pants into the washer. You have a grumpy Tate Forcier who needs to be placated before you turn him into a safety (Tate … your NFL shot is as a defensive back), and a phenomenal No. 2 option in Devin Gardner, who might turn into a bigger version of Robinson. See what they can do and keep your star from getting flattened.

Rich, learn from the past. Your 2007 West Virginia team would've played for the national title except for the losses to South Florida and Pitt. Those happened to be the two games that a banged up Pat White played sparingly, and you would've won them both if he was healthy. It is a bad, BAD idea to try to run up Robinson's Heisman numbers by keeping him on the field in winnable games like these next two.

Along with a constant loop of Baby Elephant Walk, what has been going through Tate Forcier's head during the first two Michigan wins … "Oh, that's just super. NOW the offensive line knows what it's doing. Yes, Denard, it's called a hole. You run through it and good things happen … could've used this some of this whole blocking thing last year, gang."

"Did it look at you? Did the fire look at you? It did. Whoa. Wow. Our worlds aren't that far apart after all, are they? So, whoever is doing this knows the animal well, doesn't he? He knows him real well, but he won't let him loose. He won't let him have any fun, so he does not love him. Now, who doesn't love fire?" … There's no truth to the rumor that Pastor Terry Jones has declared September 18th "Burn the Florida Gameplan Day."

"Okay, people, listen up. The people upstairs have handed us this one, and we gotta come through. We gotta find a way to make this... fit into the hole for this... usin' nothin' but that." … The Florida Gators. The Florida Gators, are 104th in the nation in passing offense and 92nd in total offense. Take away two Jeff Demps runs and the offense has done absolutely nothing over the first two games. Urban Meyer needs to run his spread, but he can't.

John Brantley shouldn't be a 2010 Florida Gator; he should be chucking it around for the 1998 squad. He has a special arm, next-level talent, and the type of skills that could make him millions of dollars with the right coaching and tutoring. While Meyer made Alex Smith a No. 1 overall draft pick and Tebow was a first rounder, they're apples to Brantley's orange, and now the offense isn't working.

Of course, it has only been two games and Brantley has been plagued by a center who can't get the snap right and a group of phenomenally talented receivers who treat the football like a hot brick, but in a year of transition, something has to pick up soon or it might be panic time with Alabama coming up on October 2nd. If this doesn't … JACORY. I know you don't have a running game, but you can't force it like that.

"Ah yes, but I'd trade it all for a little bit more." … After two games, Florida is 2-0 winning by a combined score of 72-16. Yeah, the offense is an issue, but the defense has been fantastic and the two games were still blowouts.

"Look, champ. I know guys like that. I grew up with them. I was the fat kid they wouldn't let play. "Sit down, fat boy'. That's what they'd say "Sit down, maybe you'll learn something." Well, I learned something alright. Pretty soon, I owned the game, and those guys I grew up with come to me with their hats in their hands. Tell me, champ, all those years of puggin', how much money did you make?" … There's no question that Florida State-Oklahoma, Miami-Ohio State, Penn State-Alabama, and Michigan-Notre Dame made for a special September 11th. This was superpower of superpower Saturdays considering the brand names involved and all the history they bring into every game, but what have you done for me lately?

It's really, really, really hard to win a national title. It only seems like all the star teams in last weekend's showdowns have won championships over the last few seasons, but Alabama is the only one with a title in the last seven years. Michigan has won just one national title since 1948, Ohio State has won just one title since 1968, Notre Dame hasn't won since 1988, and Penn State hasn't won a championship since 1986. Miami hasn't won in eight years, Oklahoma hasn't won since 2000, and Florida State hasn't won since 1999. With all the … aw crap. The long, sustained blurb stalled with another Jacory Harris interception.

"Let's go, handsome, come on. Not you, fat Jesus, slide it on back. You, pretty boy." … Jesse Palmer Weekly Spiky Hair Index: 9.5.

The Palmer Spiky Hair levels for Saturday will remain relatively stable in the extremely high range. This is a result of mild temperatures, medium humidity, and softball questions from John Saunders. The gel from the hair is delivering a fairly constant level of duuuuuude into the air.

What I really learned from the Charlie Debacle is that you gotta punch your weight. Charlie was out of my Class: too pretty, too smart, too witty, too much. What am I? Average. A middleweight." … Anyone with a brain, and 32% with half of one, knows that the 2010 Boise State Broncos can absolutely, positively play with anyone in the country. Stick them in Glendale on January 10th, 2011 against Alabama or Ohio State and yeah, they can win that game.

That's not the point.

It's not about Boise State, TCU, Houston, Temple, or any of the other non-BCS schools that are currently unbeaten. It's not about any one team at all. It's about the process, and it's about a cockamamie joke of a system that not only keeps the little guy out, but demands it.

As we go on through the season and we get into the daily discussions of whether or not Boise State or TCU can or should play in the BCS Championship, the answer is a very painful, very simple, no. It's not about what we believe; it's about what we can prove.

There were similar fights about 1984 BYU, 1998 Tulane, 1999 Marshall, 2001 BYU (until Hawaii's Nick Rolovich had his say), and recent unbeaten teams from the Mountain West and the WAC, but there hasn't been a team in a long, long time with the credibility, the résumé, and the respect that this year's Boise State team owns.

The program has earned its shot to be in the discussion after winning at least ten games in nine of the last 11 seasons, and with two BCS victories in the last four seasons. But there isn't a playoff system in place, and this year's national title discussion has absolutely nothing to do with the past. What happens in the Las Vegas Bowl, stays in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Each year, every team has to replace roughly a third of its squad, and every season has to be taken on its own … right through the hands, ALMOST another Jacory Harris pick … merits. While the pollsters might use what happened the year before as a basis for how they do their preseason rankings, they're not supposed to, and it's that human element that remains the problem.

Remember, the BCS isn't necessarily in place to put the two best teams in America in the BCS Championship game. It's in place to figure out which two teams deserve to play for the national title. We can all speculate and have our thoughts about which teams are the best, but college football's champion is determined by a beauty contest and subjectivity can only go so far.

If we went just on what we all believe, then Florida had no reason to make the trip to Glendale to face Ohio State in the 2007 BCS Championship. Why did Oklahoma bother to go to Miami for anything more than the weather in January of 2001? That Florida State team was supposed to be unbeatable, as were the 2005 USC Trojans, the 1983 Nebraska Cornhuskers, and the 1992 and 2002 Miami Hurricanes. That's why, with no playoff in place, if college football is going to use the BCS to come up with the two most worthy teams to play in the national title, then the computer formulas have to play an objective role and strength of schedule has to mean everything.

It's not Boise State's fault that most of the really, really good teams pretend to be in the can when the call comes to try to put together a tough non-conference matchup. It's not Boise State's fault that the rest of the WAC sucks. It's not Boise State's fault that the system is designed to prevent anyone from a non-BCS school to play for the national title without a perfect storm of losses from the big boys. But that's the deal.

It has been repeated ad nauseum, but it's the most important point of the 2010 college football season. Schedule matters, and it's not enough to be able to beat a Virginia Tech in a one shot deal, or an Oregon State at home when the rest of the slate looks like this: at New Mexico State, Toledo, at San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, Hawaii, at Idaho, Fresno State, at Nevada, and Utah State to come after the Oregon State game.

Compare that to Alabama's schedule after playing Penn State (and remember, six teams get a week off before facing the Tide): at Duke, at Arkansas, Florida, at South Carolina, Ole Miss, at Tennessee, at LSU, Mississippi State, Georgia State, Auburn. If the Tide gets through that, then there's an SEC Championship game to deal with meaning that at least six games, possibly as many as eight, are as difficult, or more so, than Boise State's one signature victory. Yeah, it's great to beat the Hokies, now beat the Hogs, the Gators, the Gamecocks, and on and on and on.

Could the Broncos get through Alabama's schedule without a loss? It doesn't matter. They don't get the chance to try.

Ohio State's schedule after playing Miami gets nice and soft for a while, but going to Wisconsin and Iowa, and facing Penn State and Michigan, means the Buckeyes will have earned their stripes if they run the table. The same goes for Oklahoma, who blew up Florida State and still has to face a tough Air Force team and goes to Cincinnati before dealing with Texas, at Missouri, at Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and at Oklahoma State, not to mention a possible Big 12 Championship.

The schedules for the top teams are so tough that it'll be next to impossible for there to be more than one unbeaten BCS conference team when all is said and done. So let's say Boise State does finish in the top two and plays for the BCS Championship. Are you going to be happy leaving out a one-loss SEC champion? What if Alabama loses two games in close, classic fashion, but obliterates Florida in the SEC title game? How about keeping out a one-loss Ohio State team that lost to Wisconsin on a last second field goal, but trampled everything in its path the rest of the way? And to take this a step even further, let's say Boise State actually wins the BCS Championship. Are you going to give the team your full respect, or will you still point to the fact that it got a free pass to get to the game when it probably wouldn't have been there by playing a BCS schedule?

But before all you BCS league types get all puffy-chested and completely eliminate Boise State from the title game based on the deserve factor, the precedent has been set to play for a national title even with a miserable schedule.

No one questions Miami's 1983 national title, but it had one decent win over a West Virginia team that went 9-3 before stunning Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. The 2001 Hurricane team that all the pro types likes to gush over beat a big bowl of whatever before facing an undeserving Nebraska team for the title.

1981 Clemson effectively played a two game schedule. 1985 Oklahoma only beat one team, Nebraska, that could strap on a helmet, and lost to Miami along the way (in the Troy Aikman broken leg game). 1986 Penn State beat just three teams that finished with a winning record, and one of them was a 6-5 Temple. Nebraska's 1994 juggernaut faced two teams with a pulse, Kansas State and Colorado, and the 1995 team played three teams (KSU, Colorado, and Kansas) that didn't colossally stink. And, of course, the all-timer is 1984 BYU, whose schedule made Boise State's 2010 slate look like a murderer's row.

But we live in a new era where the media is far better, the scrutiny is tighter, and everyone sees every game (except for the people voting in the polls). This isn't 1984, and it's going to be next to impossible to convince anyone outside of the greater Boise metropolitan era that the WAC deserves a team in the BCS Championship without a lot of help along the way. Even then, it might not be enough.

"But … my stapler … " … When the second best season in your program's history came in 1903, highlighted by a 89-0 win over Welch Neck High and with a dominant performance against Columbia YMCA, you're due.

South Carolina fans have been the most patient in the history of college football, waiting year after year after year for something to finally go their way in one season when everything comes together. Freshman RB Marcus Lattimore appears to be the catalyst, the offensive line is showing a serious attitude and appears ready to block someone for the first time in the Steve Spurrier era, and the defense is starting to jell with all the pieces back in place after issues with the NCAA. Of course, this is South Carolina, which means that just about the time when the dream season is about to hit its stride ... yoink. Oh yeah, by the way, the NCAA sent South Carolina a formal letter of investigation last week.

Boise State, beat Georgia and roll through this, then you can play for the whole ball of wax … Gamecock fans, before you start booking tickets for Atlanta, take a hard look at the schedule after a layup against Furman this week. At Auburn, Alabama, at Kentucky, at Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Arkansas, at Florida, Troy, at Clemson. That's eight bowl bound teams in the final nine games, and even if everything breaks right and the Gamecocks win the East, then it's probably another battle with Alabama to deal with.

And I'm still pushing for GameDay to come broadcast from my breakfast nook, but I don't live in SEC country (more on that in a moment) … It's Year Two, Week Two of my open lobbying of the ESPN College Football Final show guys to give me a helmet sticker and the signed T-shirt, suitable for framing. Why do I deserve one this week? I hurt my hand/finger golfing on Friday. I know, boo-hoo, but you try typing 100,000 words and using the mouse's scroll-wheel with an index finger three times its normal size.

- Sept. 14,  Cavalcade of Whimsy, Part Two