5 Thoughts - The Bias Against Boise State

Posted Sep 26, 2011

5 Thoughts - The bias against Boise State and the problem with the rankings


CFN Analysis 

5 Thoughts, Sept. 26

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Past Thoughts  2010 5 Thoughts | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

- Fiutak: The bias against Boise State
- Cirminiello: Oregon is back to being Oregon 
- Zemek: The incredible flopping punter
- Sallee: Florida is the class of the East
- Fiutak: Non-conference games are overrated    

E-mail Pete Fiutak

It's time to stop putting Boise State in the preseason top five, because it obviously doesn't mean anything.

LSU is not No. 1. The AP put LSU up to the top spot, and we did the same at CFN, but the only ranking that counts right now is the Coaches' Poll, and LSU is tied for second with Alabama.

That still doesn't matter. If Oklahoma finishes the regular season 12-0, it'll play for the national title. If the LSU vs. Alabama winner finishes 13-0, it'll play for the national title. It makes no difference if LSU is No. 1 this week, or No. 3 next week.

What does matter is that an idle Stanford just overtook Boise State in the No. 4 spot.

I apologize for being repetitive. I ranted about this last year, and the year before, and I'm sure I'll fire it up against next year. Pollsters, whether you like it or not, you have to apply the same set of rules, regulations, and criteria for Boise State that you do for everyone else, and you can't change what you've historically done just because you don't like a certain team.

After Week 3, Boise State was No. 4, Stanford was No. 5, and Oklahoma State was No. 6. Oklahoma State beat No. 8 Texas A&M at Texas A&M, so if the coaches had moved the Cowboys up to No. 4, fine; there wouldn't be much of an argument. After all, LSU all of a sudden made a bit of a leap up by beating No. 16 West Virginia on the road, and OSU's win was more impressive and more important, at least according to the rankings.

Oklahoma State didn't move an inch and is still No. 6.

Stanford didn't play anyone last week and hasn't come up with a win anywhere near as good as Oklahoma State's win in College Station. So far, the Cardinal beat San Jose State, Duke, and Arizona, with the win over Arizona on the road by 27. Oklahoma State pummeled Arizona at home 37-14, and it beat Tulsa 59-33 in a strange game that lasted until 4 a.m., but still, Stanford moved up from five to four while remaining idle.

Boise State beat Tulsa 41-21 and dropped from four to five.

Did the people voting in the Coaches' Poll – whether it was a sports information director, assistant coach, or some intern – bother to notice that Boise State was up 34-0 before taking its foot totally off the gas? Did anyone care that the Tulsa points came against mostly backups? Was it noted in any way that Kellen Moore was Kellen Moore, completing 23-of-29 passes for 279 yards and four touchdowns before giving way to the second string? More importantly, how many of the people who vote in the Coaches' Poll can name one Boise State player other than Moore? How many can name more than one Stanford player other than Andrew Luck? I've given coaches these types of pop quizzes before, and believe me, almost all the coaches outside of the Pac-12 haven't seen Stanford play.

If you want to sell the idea that Boise State doesn't belong in the national title because of its schedule, fair enough. If you believe that Stanford is better than Boise State, that's fine, too. What's not acceptable, though, is the ongoing bias against Boise State just because it's Boise State.

The Broncos' win over Georgia in the Georgia Dome is far stronger than Stanford beating Arizona at Arizona. Again, Stanford DIDN'T PLAY THIS WEEK, Boise State was flawless for three quarters, and yet for some reason the Cardinal gets the coveted first-runner-up spot and is ready to step in to the national title spotlight if and when Oklahoma loses or if LSU and Alabama have a blemish.

Go over the history of the Coaches' Poll and one of the fatal flaws is the lack of movement at the very top – unless it involves Boise State. If you're in the top five and you win, you're almost always assured of keeping your spot no matter what – unless you're Boise State.

Boise State started the season No. 5 overall, moved up to No. 4 once Florida State lost, and has done everything it's supposed to and everything expected. It doesn't matter.

The Broncos won't play for the national title, and they never will unless everyone starts dropping like flies and there's no other choice for a top two spot. Will they ever get the respect a preseason top five team should receive? Apparently not. It doesn't fit the narrative.

So again, for yet another year, I'm going to beg that the people voting in the Coaches' Poll be forced to submit their reasoning why they voted the way they did, and each week, they should have to give some justification for any movement. It's time to start holding the judges in the BCS Championship beauty contest accountable, because no, every week isn't a playoff in college football. There is no playoff.

With no way of truly determining who the best team is on the field, the voters have to explain what, exactly, Stanford did this week to move up to No. 4, and why Boise State slipped one spot after a dominant win.

This matters. Boise State might have just lost its shot at the national title on a whim. 

- Fiutak: The bias against Boise State
- Cirminiello: Oregon is back to being Oregon 
- Zemek: The incredible flopping punter
- Sallee: Florida is the class of the East
- Fiutak: Non-conference games are overrated