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Cavalcade: Could Boise State Play For It All?
Boise State DT Billy Winn
Boise State DT Billy Winn
Posted Oct 25, 2011

Can Boise State really play for the BCS Championship? This and ten other crazy things that might not happen, but ...

Cavalcade of Whimsy

Oct. 25, 2011

Past Cavalcades
- 2008 Season | 2009 Season | 2010 Season 
2011 Sept. 6 | Sept. 13 | Sept. 20 | Sept. 27 | Oct. 4 | Oct. 11 | Oct. 18

- Part 2. Ten crazy things that won't happen, but ... 

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208 days since Stanley McClover's claims against Auburn, Ohio State, Michigan State, and LSU with no repercussions.

Sorry if this column sucks, it’s not my fault … the officials ruled it sucked, but the replay official, despite no clear evidence, said it was good.

“No! No, don't do it! Please don't do it. Only you and me seen it, and I won't tell a soul. I promise. Nobody will know. You've got to tell him not to do it. It's a stupid rule that don't mean nothing.” … I’m not a process and rules guy in any way. I don’t believe it should be a penalty if my golf ball is three inches on the wrong side of the rope. I don’t care if a player taunts another as he’s running into the end zone. I don’t believe it’s a big deal if I take one swig of Dr. Pepper from the drink machine when I only asked for water.

As a true believer in the all’s-well-that-ends-well theory – reason No. 19 why I ripped off a brutal old-school-scoring 480 on the math portion of the SATs – all that matters to me is that everything comes out right, which is why I’m sort of stunned that I have an issue with the final play of the Wisconsin-Michigan State game.

It was a touchdown. I thought it was in live action, and after the fact there was a halfway decent shot that showed that Keith Nichol barely got the ball over the goal line, but there wasn’t anything conclusive in the heat of the moment that should’ve allowed the replay official to overturn the original call that the ball was down at the one.

I’ve Zaprudered the TV replay of the Michigan State Miracle several times, including the replays the officials had to work with, and there was NOTHING that showed definitively that Nichol had scored a touchdown, mainly because the one camera that had the correct angle was shaking so hard. The evidence has to be irrefutable to overturn a call made on the field, and that didn’t exist at the time. On the flip side, had it been called a touchdown on the field, it couldn't have been reversed because of the lack of a proper shot.

But give Wisconsin credit for not whining or crying about it in any way, shape, or form. There are a lot of coaches and a lot of schools that would’ve thrown a hissy fit, but the Badgers have been mum.

“My colleagues believe that I am wasting my time with you, but I believe you want to do the right thing. It is obvious that you are an intelligent man, Mr. Anderson, and that you are interested in the future. That is why I believe you are ready to put your past mistakes behind you and get on with your life.” … There’s no debate and there’s no other side. Bret Bielema absolutely made the right decision to call a timeout with 30 seconds to play and with Michigan State facing a 3rd-and-8 in its own territory. With the nation’s No. 1 punt returner in Jared Abbrederis, a red-hot Russell Wilson, and a great kicker in Philip Welch, you absolutely, no question, stop the clock to try to get the ball back.

No, beating Ohio State this year won’t really count ... I’m officially declaring a moratorium on calling Wisconsin a power program until it comes up with a real road win. Take a guess on the last time the Badger won a true road game – not a bowl game – over a team that finished a season with fewer than four losses.

September 30th, 1995. Wisconsin 17, Penn State 9.

Since then, Wisconsin is 8-33 overall against teams that finished with four losses or fewer coming up with just one win – last year against Ohio State – since beating Auburn in the 2006 Capital One Bowl over five seasons ago.

“You took the purest thing in your life and corrupted it, for what? For what?” … It’s over and the NCAA has lost the argument. With president Mark Emmert pushing for the idea that players should get an extra $2,000 in payments beyond the normal athletic scholarships, the concept that players shouldn’t be allowed to accept benefits from boosters, agents, marketing companies, or anyone who wants to give them money or gifts, is dead.

Enough is enough.

From bowl game swag to shoes; from meals to books; from tuition to tutoring; from t-shirts to jackets; from housing to training; major college athletes aren’t amateurs. They’re being compensated for their talents, but they’re not getting their fair market value. With Emmert halfway acknowledging that the players deserve something extra, he’s admitting the players deserve anything extra.

You can’t be a little bit pregnant on this. If these are really supposed to be STUDENT-athletes, then the players shouldn’t be getting anything at all. No scholarships, no room and board, nothing. Either college sports teams should be made up of regular students who only get into the school on academic merits, or else they should be allowed to be treated like any other talent in any other walk of life.

There’s no difference whatsoever between getting an extra $2,000 from a conference and $20,000 from an agent. There’s no difference between getting an iPod from the Corporate Sponsor Bowl and a car from a booster.

It’s over, NCAA. You lost, and it’s okay.

"I am so smart. I am so smart. S-M-R-T." … Emmert is talking about keeping teams out of the NCAA tournament and bowl games if they don’t hit a minimum of 900 on the Academic Progress Report, and in the future, it’ll be up to 930. It shouldn’t matter to any football program this year – everyone was above 900 – but BYU, Colorado, Houston, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, NC State, Southern Miss, UTEP and Washington State are just a few of the teams that were under the 930 mark in the latest report, and Arkansas, Cincinnati, Florida State, Michigan State, Minnesota, San Diego State, and Tennessee are just a few flirting with the bowl version of the Mendoza line.

“Hundreds of documents could help prove this conspiracy. Why are they being withheld or burned by the government? When my office or you, the people, asked those questions, demanded evidence the answer from on high has always been: national security. What kind of national security do we have when we're robbed of our leaders? What national security permits the removal of fundamental power from the people and validates the ascendancy of an invisible government in the U.S.? That kind of national security is when it smells like it, feels like it, and looks like it you call it what it is: Fascism!” … I’m ready to take on the impossible.

America, I’m ready for your slings, your arrows, and your venom.

I’m ready to take my first step down this perilous journey in full knowledge that I won’t survive it, while accepting the responsibility of the irreparable damage about to be done to our nation and our way of life.

I’m going to try to argue that in which I do not believe and cannot prove.

I’m going to try to convince the college football world that Boise State will not only play for the national championship, but that it might finally deserve its shot.

I know, I know, I know. I practically invented the Boise State’s Schedule Sucks argument, but now I’m going against all I believe to be just and all I believe to be right in the attempt to finally give this program a chance to prove it really is a superpower worthy of playing for it all.

Let’s start with the obvious.

Every year has to be taken on its own merits, and it’s not fair and it’s not right to give the 2011 team a break for something the 2006 team was able to do, but Boise State hasn’t been a fluke and it’s answered the call time and again. Remember that stat I gave about Wisconsin not being able to beat the top teams? Since 1999, the first ten-win season in the phenomenal run, Boise State is 13-8 against teams that finished with fewer than four losses, winning seven of those games away from home. Since the start of the 2006 season, the Broncos are 8-1 against BCS conference teams.

The team has lost two games in the three-plus years since Chris Johnson and East Carolina ran away with the 2007 Hawaii Bowl. Those two were against an 11-2 TCU in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl and to a 13-1 Nevada last year.

Again, I know.

No one will ever be convinced that a team that plays one or two BCS league teams per year should be considered in the mix with the top programs from the bigger conferences, and the week-in-and-week-out struggle means something, but this year, what does it really mean to be in a BCS league?

Is it any achievement to beat Florida right now? No. How about South Carolina, Auburn, or Tennessee? Boise State already beat Georgia on the road by 14.

Would Boise State beat San Jose State, Duke, Arizona, UCLA, Colorado, Washington State, and Washington? Yeah. Getting through Stanford’s schedule so far wouldn’t be a problem, and remember, Boise State has stopped Oregon cold the last two times they played.

The Broncos beat Virginia Tech last year in what amounted to a road game. Could they handle Troy, Wofford, Auburn, Florida State, at Virginia Tech, Boston College, at Maryland, and North Carolina? It wouldn’t be a walk in the park, but they could absolutely be 8-0 with Clemson’s schedule.

Toledo almost beat Ohio State at Ohio State, and lost in a controversial overtime game at Syracuse, and in between it was blown away by Boise State at home.

Nevada lost a 35-34 heartbreaker to Texas Tech – the same Texas Tech that beat Oklahoma – and the week after was held to 59 rushing yards by the Broncos.

Fresno State lost by double-digits to Cal, Nebraska, and Ole Miss, but it came up with 444 yards of total offense against both the Huskers and Rebels. The Bulldogs lost 57-7 at home against the Broncos.

Georgia has allowed six touchdown passes this year and hasn’t given up more than one in any one game – except for the three allowed to Kellen Moore in the opener.

Fine, you’re not convinced in any way and you’ll never be sold that a program with five straight double-digit-win seasons, eight in the last nine, 153 wins since 1999, and an average over 12 wins a year every year for the last 12 seasons doesn’t deserve to even be in the discussion for the BCS Championship.

I’m not entirely convinced, either, but I’m working on it. However, none of that matters because Boise State really might end up playing for the national championship, and here’s the path. (And remember, you didn’t see Texas Tech over Oklahoma or Syracuse over West Virginia coming.)

1. Boise State wins out highlighted by a dominant win over TCU.
2. LSU beats Alabama.
3. Oregon beats Stanford. Or if Alabama beats LSU, if Oregon loses to someone other than Stanford.
4. Oklahoma beats both Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
5. Clemson loses at Georgia Tech, or at an emerging NC State, or at South Carolina, or in the ACC Championship.

If all of that happens, then no one will want to see an LSU-Oregon BCS Championship after the Tigers won the season opener over the Ducks so convincingly, and then it’ll likely come down to a fight between Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, and Boise State for the No. 2 spot.

If Wisconsin beats Ohio State like a drum this weekend, it’ll roll through the rest of its schedule and it’ll pile-drive Michigan State in the rematch in the Big Ten Championship. The argument will be that the Badgers were able to avenge their only loss that came on the road on a fluky final play, but they’re out because the BCS computers are going to continue to hate the Big Ten.

Alabama will be close. If the Tide loses to LSU but runs the rest of the table convincingly, it’ll drop no further than third in the human polls and should stay in the top five of the computer rankings. But the humans won’t want a rematch with LSU and will vote accordingly.

Oklahoma will probably be Boise State’s biggest problem – and Oregon will be an issue, too, if Alabama beats LSU. The Sooners didn’t drop far enough this week to be out of BCS Championship range, and they’ll keep on moving up and up and up if they take care of No. 3 Oklahoma State and No. 8 Kansas State. If they do it in blowouts, and if they also crush No. 16 Texas A&M, they’re going to be in the top three of the human polls as long as Clemson and Stanford also lose. Then it’ll become a theoretical debate: a one-loss Oklahoma that lost a home game, or an unbeaten Boise State that has one, maybe two, decent wins.

The Broncos are currently No. 4 in the BCS rankings, and while they’ll drop like a stone if Clemson, Stanford and Kansas State keep winning, they’ll move back up if and when those three lose. The computers like schedules, but they like wins more and they’ll put Boise State in the final top four if it’s one of two unbeaten teams left. That might be the tie-breaker.

With all of that said, if there are two unbeaten BCS teams left, Boise State is absolutely, positively out even though it’s ranked ahead of Clemson, Stanford, and Kansas State. And that’s the real problem. No team in the history of the BCS has ever been in the top four in the rankings and didn’t move up when any of the higher ranked teams fell. Boise State will be held to a different standard than any team in college football history – again – and if you think that’s fair, then don’t put the team that high in the standings in the first place.

In the end, it’s going to be the LSU/Alabama winner taking home the crystal trophy. It might as well be Boise State that gets its turn to be thumped by the SEC.

“Don't condescend me, man. I'll (bleep)in' kill ya, man” … In the category of pot calling the kettle pot, if it’s proven that Tyrann Mathieu, Tharold Simon, and Spencer Ware really did test positive for synthetic marijuana, isn’t this a bigger deal than just a one-game suspension? I’m hardly one to be throwing any stones at a glass bong, but if I’m reading the Louisiana state laws correctly – and I might not be, even after asking a few experts – according to NORML (National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws), “possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500 for a first offense. For a second offense the penalties increase to up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. A third or subsequent offense increases the penalty to up to 20 years in prison.” And if it’s within 1,000 feet of a school, church, or public housing, it’s an automatic half of the minimum of the maximum possible fine. None of that will happen and the three will get a slap on the wrist, but this isn’t like getting nailed for underage drinking. The laws in this country are ridiculously harsh for anything to do with marijuana, even for superstar football players.

“Oh I ain't saying you did or you didn't. All I'm saying is that you could have robbed banks, sold dope or stole your grandmother's pension checks and none of us would have minded. But shaving points off of a football game, man, that's un-American.” … For the next two weeks, I don’t care if any of the Alabama or LSU players are growing fields of ganja in a kindergarten classroom. Anything short of a non-drug related felony should get the “But It’s A Really, Really, Really, Big Game” treatment until November 6th. After that, punish accordingly.

The pregame show starts … wait for it … wait for it … NOW … Watch, after the way LSU blasted Auburn, and with the way Alabama struggled and sputtered a bit with Tennessee, everyone is going to pick the Tigers. But remember, big games like this often defy logic, even though we plan to spend the next two weeks bringing nothing but rationale and reasoning behind the picks and predictions for what’s going to happen.

Also, I’ll be tweeting live during the game, Stream of Consciousness-style, at #cfbnews.

If you ever say that Denver, or anyone, is “out of Luck,” your punishment is to read a copy of Tebow’s book … Nice job, Denver. Tim Tebow just circumcised off any hope of getting Andrew Luck.

Speaking of Tebow’s surgical abilities … This week’s Alex Neutz tracker: The Buffalo sophomore had a huge day against Northern Illinois, grabbing nine balls for 135 yards and a score in the close loss.

I’m continuing to push for GameDay to come broadcast from my breakfast nook, but there’s no way my place can handle the pressure of being No. 201 on the Lee Corso headgear pick. I’m also not going to be the act to follow Wisconsin-Michigan State … After three years of begging, I finally got the Helmet Sticker shout out two weeks ago – and I do want the t-shirt and it will be framed. To fill the empty void, each week I’ll unearth a wacky fun-stat worthy of being used on the GameDay broadcast. In seven games, Kent State has cranked out 1,264 yards in total offense. That’s just 156 more than Oklahoma and Texas Tech combined for in last week’s thriller.

- Part 2. Ten crazy things that won't happen, but ...