Okay, we’re thinking of a football conference over by the West Coast, where one team enjoys a seemingly perpetual stranglehold on the conference, routinely running the table or slipping once to an opponent who had no shot at the title. Are we talking about the Pac-10 and USC in the Pete Carroll era (minus this year, of course)… or the WAC and Boise State in the same time span?
The difference between the two teams, however, is that USC can get pretty much anyone, anywhere, at any time. Whether it’s money or influence or just the opportunity to have USC on your schedule, whatever. They’re never hurting for opponents. Boise State, on the other hand, can’t fill their 2011 schedule with a decent opponent, and it’s been this way for years.
Several high-profile programs have turned down a chance to play a home game against Boise State in 2011, WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Tuesday.
Boise State - with help from ESPN, Benson said - has been shopping for a game to fill out its 2011 schedule.
Benson isn’t sure of the exact number of schools that have said no, but figures it is close to 10. The Broncos aren’t asking for any games in Boise in return, he said.
Considering the fact that three times in the last decade (and we’re looking at a fourth this year), Boise State has run the regular season table and not gotten so much as a whiff of contention for the national title, it seems that a weak schedule - one with usually no more than one cursory BCS opponent - is usually to blame. Boise’s trying to rectify that, and what do you know; they can’t.
There’s only two schools of thinking possible here. One is that Boise, being a non-BCS school, would hurt the BCS team’s schedule strength.
A simple history lesson here would do the trick. The fact is that Boise State has the highest winning percentage of any program in I-A history. No really, they do. They’re at .750, which is a hair over Michigan at .740. Further, they’re routinely around #5-10 in the BCS standings. That kind of opponent never negatively affects schedule strength.
The other possibility is that Boise doesn’t deserve what would come with a stronger schedule - national title consideration. The thinking goes that if a non-BCS team wants to crash the title party, they’re going to have to do so with the help of some big-time BCS teams. If nobody helps them out on that front, then problem solved, right?
But that kind of widespread exclusionary thinking, which is usually typical of the darker eras of human history - we’re probably a little far away from the race riots in the ’60s, but we’re just sayin’ - is flawed for one very important reason: it concedes that the outsider candidate is qualified on the merits. But by institutionalizing discrimination and denying opportunities, the BCS teams can merely repeat that Boise isn’t qualified enough for the ultimate prize, and why don’t they just go back to their cute blue turf and play pinochle.
Yep, a playoff system’s probably sounding pretty, pretty good to Boise right about now.