After last night, I sure do (not those uni's, but nice try Nike).
Everyone's favorite BCS buster did what it needed to do to remain in the National Title Game contention, by beating Virginia Tech at a "neutral" environment. 80,000 Hokies fans on the opposite side of the country, and Boise State quieted the crowd at many points during the game. A flying start, questionable middle, and great ending for the Broncos propelled them to victory. Kellen Moore, one of the under-the-radar candidates for the Heisman Trophy, did what he does so well, lead the Broncos on a game-winning drive with poise, and his great accuracy. They impressed me, and many other people, including 8 number 1 votes in the AP poll. They've already won 2 Fiesta Bowls, beating Oklahoma, and BCS Buster1-A TCU. But, I'm avoiding the major question here. Do they have a legit chance to make the national title game over a 1 loss SEC or other auto-qualifier conference team?
Many skeptics say no, because of the fact that they don't play a grueling schedule like the SEC or Big 12. I guess, but Boise has done what it could to move to a stronger conference, and then 2 of the best 3 in their new conference move out. The part of Boise's schedule that they can control, the out-of-conference part, they did their best to make as appealing to the silly voters, and computers. Oregon State, Virginia Tech and Wyoming isn't the best compared to other schools scheduling major opponents, but is better than what they had in 2006. The funny part of this is that Boise needs Virginia Tech to run away with the ACC and Oregon State with the PAC 10 after Boise beats them, to make Boise look even better, and sweeten their resume. But, will that be enough to spur the bucking Broncos?
The same critics make the point that Boise couldn't go to big stadiums like in Starkville to play the Mississippi State, Stillwater to play Oklahoma State, and win. But, the same teams couldn't go to Boise and win either. Put them on a neutral field, Boise will walk over them, and the Broncos could probably do that too many of the teams like Virginia Tech at a neutral site (where Boise will have fewer fans go). The WAC doesn't even compare to the MAC, or even the Big East, in terms of high quality teams. Put Boise in both of those conferences and they may run the table anyway. Put them in the SEC, Big 12, or Big Ten, they may not run the table, but they'll prove their worth. But, going undefeated in any conference is tough enough, and Boise has made its own life as tough as they themselves can make it. They try to seclude themselves from the national media, and keep a low profile, and they're doing a great job with that. Head Coach Chris Petersen said after the game, "We live in such a cocoon anyway. We'll go back and our guys will go be in class tomorrow. They'll be there by 10:00. They'll come in and watch the tape and the coaches will go recruiting and we'll go practice again." Couldn't say it any better myself, and neither could Jim Tressel, Nick Saban, Mack Brown, or any other Top 10 coach.
Do I believe that Boise should play in Glendale on January 10th, 2011 for the BCS Title? I can't say that now, ask me in November, when BCS rankings are at the forefront. But, at least now, on September 7th, they should be in the discussion. They are the #3 team in the country in both the AP and Coaches polls as of now. Boise has the best QB not in the major national spotlight every Saturday, a wide-out that can also block punts, and a bend but don't break D. This is a perfect combination to run the table in a mediocre conference. Boise has a bye on the 11th, and then plays Wyoming in Laramie on the 18th. But everyone is focusing on the 25th, on the smurf turf, when they play Oregon State. That is where everyone thinks Boise's final test on the road to Glendale lies. All they need after that is to win, and get help from the Hokies and Beavers.
Are the cemented in Glendale right now? No. But should they be one of the top candidates if they have no losses? You bet.