September 23, 2011

Mailbag: Could this be Boise's year?

Got a question? Click here to send it to Olin's Mailbag

There is a first-time for everything, even in college football.

The first game was played Princeton-Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869. The first Associated Press poll was released in 1936. Waynesburg and Fordham played in the first televised game, in 1939.

The first time a black player won the Heisman was in 1961, when Syracuse running back Ernie Davis was the recipient. Just two weeks ago, Michigan and Notre Dame played the first night game at Michigan Stadium.

But no team outside of one of the six automatic qualifying conferences has played in the BCS national championship game. Maybe that will change this season.

After all, there's a first time for everything.

Classic rematch?

Will this be Boise State's year if they go through the season unbeaten and all the rest of the teams in the top 10 don't? What if only Oklahoma goes unbeaten along with Boise State? Could we see a rematch of the Fiesta Bowl classic?
Brian in Chicago

Anything is possible in college football, so it's possible voters who have a say in the BCS standings might take up the Boise State cause and push to get the Broncos into the national championship game.

But the cynic in me says it won't happen. The cynic in me says the BCS is created to keep teams such as Boise State from playing for the national championship even if they are the only unbeaten team in the country.

Remember 2007. LSU had two losses, but played in the national championship game rather than unbeaten Hawaii. Sure, LSU was better than Hawaii, but if a team from a non-AQ conference couldn't get in 2007 (when every "big six conference" team except Ohio State had two losses), then when can it happen?

Maybe it will happen this season, but even with the move to the Mountain West Conference, the bet here is the schedule will work against the Broncos.

Really, the worst thing that happened to Boise was TCU's season-opening loss to Baylor, a team that projects to finish no higher than fourth in the Big 12.

If Boise State goes unbeaten, there's a good chance it's most impressive victory would be over TCU. Detractors could say the Broncos' best win was over an opponent that lost to the fourth-best team (maybe) in the Big 12.

The Broncos did open their season with a victory over Georgia, but Georgia then lost to South Carolina. Perhaps Boise would have a shot if South Carolina loses a game but goes on to win the SEC. Then, Boise proponents can argue that Boise beat Georgia 35-21, while South Carolina beat the Bulldogs by just three points.

That argument doesn't figure to hold much water, though. First, SEC proponents will point out that the conference has produced each of the past five national champions, so a one-loss winner of the SEC deserves to play for the national title.

That's a tough argument to top.

In addition, if a one-loss South Carolina does win the SEC, then it likely will have beaten Florida, Arkansas, Clemson and either Alabama or LSU along the way.

[Yahoo! Sports Radio: Olin Buchanan]

Compare that to Boise State's schedule. They have a victory over Toledo, which lost to Ohio State, which may be headed for a mundane season. Next, Boise State faces Conference USA contender Tulsa, which has been blown out by Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Boise State also plays Nevada (lost to Oregon 69-20), Fresno State (lost by 13 to Nebraska and 15 to California), Colorado State (14-point loser to Colorado), Air Force (a 16-point loser to TCU), UNLV (blown out by Wisconsin and Washington State) and New Mexico (winless).

The Broncos' other two games are against San Diego State and Wyoming, which are currently unbeaten and have games against Michigan and Nebraska this week.

Boise fans should be big fans of the Aztecs and Cowboys. But even if those teams posts stunning upsets this week, it's unlikely beating those teams would carry enough weight for Boise State to get into the BCS championship game over a one-loss SEC team.

I believe that only if Boise State is unbeaten and there is only one one-loss team, like in '07, will the Broncos have a chance to get to New Orleans.

Follow the money

Would you agree this "super conference" thing is going to hurt college football? I don't see any positives other than money for the respective schools. P.S.: Can the Buckeyes win eight?
Mike in Montpelier, Ohio

I really don't know if it will hurt college football. I think college football is so popular it will survive and flourish no matter what happens.

But it's definitely going to look a lot different and some of the great traditions and rivalries will be gone. But we saw that happen years ago, when the Big 12 formed and Nebraska-Oklahoma no longer was an annual game.

[College Football Pick'em: Sign up and play today]

What I wonder is where all this extra money would go. Yes, there will be more travel expenses, but not so much to consume all these additional millions the schools will be making. Only so many buildings can be built, right? Hopefully, all that extra money would go into a fund to help offset the rising cost of tuition for all students. Yeah ... that's going to happen.

I also find it ironic that the school presidents who have continually fought against a playoff even though it promised to generate additional millions now are signing off on expansion, which I believe will make a playoff unavoidable.

If you have only four mega-conferences and four champions, it sure would be easy to stage a four-team playoff, especially because it's going to be less common for teams to go through a season undefeated.

And as far as Ohio State goes ... yes, I believe the eight-win mark is attainable. The Buckeyes will be much better when their suspended players return.

Nowhere fast

With all the talk of realignment and "super conferences," where do you think Notre Dame will end up?
Jim in Greensboro, NC

Notre Dame's future and possible conference affiliation has been a prime topic of conversation for years, but the Irish always have preferred independent status.

Look for Notre Dame to stay that way as long as possible.

But when college football becomes divided into four 16-team conferences - and all indications are that's where this is headed - Notre Dame very likely would have to rethink its independent status.

The guess here is that Notre Dame eventually will join the Big Ten, though I think that's a few years down the road.

What's with the cupcakes?

Don't you think the NCAA should limit the number of games a major program plays against undermanned teams? Look at Arkansas; the Razorbacks played three games in a row at home against basically high school teams. The only reason they do this is to become halfway eligible for a bowl game. Sure, the small team wins with the money they are paid to play, but it doesn't help either program. What's your take on this?
Jake in Russellville, Ark.

Whoa there, Jake.

First comparing any college team, especially Troy, to a high school team is way off-base.

Troy lost by 10 to Arkansas, and also gave Clemson a good game before running out of gas in the fourth quarter.

That's not uncommon for the Trojans, either. Last season, Troy lost to Oklahoma State by three points. The Cowboys beat seven teams from "major conferences" by far greater margins.

In '08, LSU had to rally from a 31-10 deficit to avoid an upset at the hands of the Trojans. And in '07, Troy beat Oklahoma State.

Personally, as long as they play at least one similar opponent (and Arkansas does with a game against Texas A&M next week), I have no issue with high-profile programs scheduling non-conference opponents from "lesser" conferences.

But I don't think FBS teams, especially those in the major conferences, should ever schedule more than one FCS opponent a season.

Other popular stories on Yahoo! Sports:
Fox: Week 4 Viewer's Guide
Huguenin: A pick for every Week 4 game
Keep an eye on: What our guys are watching

Olin Buchanan is the senior college football writer for He can be reached at
Got a question for Olin's Mailbag? Click here to drop him a note
, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.

FEATURED PRODUCT is your source for: College Football | Football Recruiting | College Basketball | Basketball Recruiting | College Baseball | High School | College Merchandise
Site-specific editorial/photos Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved. This website is an officially and independently operated source of news and information not affiliated with any school or team.
About | Advertise with Us | Contact | Privacy Policy | About our Ads | Terms of Service | Copyright/IP policy | Yahoo! Sports - NBC Sports Network

Statistical information 2007 STATS LLC All Rights Reserved.