Monday, November 22, 2010

The New Paranoia: No BCS Bowl at all?

This post is painful for me to write because, as regular readers know, I generally try to be optimistic about things. But as the tide has turned on the nation's opinion of the Frogs, the seed of doubt has been planted: what if TCU is completely left out of the BCS?

Hopefully in a few weeks we can look back at this post and laugh at how silly I was being. After all, the Frogs do still have a legitimate shot at playing in the Championship game. But if Boise State ends up passing TCU, which is 'inevitable' if you listen to the 'experts', they won't be guaranteed anything...EVEN IF Auburn or Oregon lose and TCU ends up at #3.

To quickly bring those of you not well-versed in BCS rules up to speed on why TCU wouldn't be guaranteed a BCS spot, even at #3...the BCS is required to take the highest-ranked non-BCS team, provided they are in the Top 12. But JUST the top-ranked team...the Top 12 rule doesn't mean a thing if you're the second highest-ranked non-BCS team. And for those of you thinking that the Top 3 ranked teams are guaranteed a BCS spot...that rule only applies to teams from BCS conferences. To sum it up...only the team that ends up ranked higher between TCU and Boise State will be guaranteed a spot in a BCS bowl, and the other will be hoping to be picked as an at-large team.

So let's look at who will be automatically eligible for the BCS:

-SEC Champion (either Auburn or South Carolina)
-Big 12 Champion (OU, Oklahoma State or Nebraska)
-Big Ten Champion (Wisconsin, Ohio State or Michigan State)
-Pac 10 Champion (probably Oregon...possibly Stanford)
-ACC Champion (Virginia Tech, Florida State or NC State)
-Big East Champion (Pitt...or someone, who knows)
-Top-ranked non-BCS team (if we're to believe ESPN, it'll be Boise)

That would leave just three at-large spots. You have to believe that a second SEC team will be picked, with the schools mentioned above as well as LSU and Alabama as strong candidates. You also have to assume that a second Big Ten team will be selected, as all three of the schools listed above are 10-1.

After that, you're left with just one remaining spot. Sure, if TCU does indeed beat New Mexico and finish the regular season 12-0 and ranked #3 or #4 in the BCS, you have to think that they'd be the top choice here. But what about Stanford? The Cardinal are 10-1 right now, and would one of the BCS bowls rather have an 11-1 Pac 10 team than a 12-0 Mountain West team? It sure doesn't sound like something completely out of the realm of possibility. And what about a 2- or 3-loss team from the Big 12? Would the Sugar or Orange Bowls want Oklahoma, Oklahoma State or Nebraska above an undefeated TCU?

If I had to bet, I'd put my money on the Frogs getting a BCS bid. After all, the BCS has to be wary of the extreme criticism that it receives year after year. And even if you feel like the media doesn't come to the defense of TCU enough, trust me, they'd raise a stink over the Frogs being relegated to the Las Vegas Bowl as the #3 or #4-ranked team in the nation. So I think that, out of self-preservation, the BCS will find a spot for TCU. But I just want to, even as someone who is usually fairly optimistic, prepare you all for the worst-case scenario.

So It Has Come to This...

Boise State QB Coach Rico Dynamite is apparently worth ever penny.

After waking up Saturday morning to check the box score - yes, I went to bed before the game was over. I am old - and seeing Boise 51, Fresno State 0, I had to face some facts. One, Boise is good. Two, Boise's defense is maybe better than their offense. And three, Boise is definitely going to be seen as being superior to TCU in the minds of every voter not living in Tarrant County. I knew this game was going to be dangerous for us - despite having a worse record than San Diego State did when they rolled into Fort Worth, for whatever reason the pundits were up in arms about this being a tough game for the Broncos, so no matter what happened they were going to inflate the result accordingly. I think we all expected Boise to win by a pretty nice margin, but 51-0 just made my stomach churn because I knew what the backlash would be. Just like the media overreacted to TCU going to sleep on a good San Diego State team - who led Utah all game Saturday but lost on a blocked punt - they praised Boise for beating up on a middle of the pack WAC opponent. I understand that beating anyone 51-0 is a big deal, but is it any more impressive than what TCU did against Baylor, Air Force, Utah or any opponent on our schedule not hailing from the state's of Oregon or San Diego, which is apparently the 51st state now? I give them all the credit in the world for taking care of business against an inferior team, which we clearly did not do against the Aztecs, but let's not act like they shut down the Greatest Show on Turf era Rams or anything.

Sure, I was pleasantly surprised to see that, despite our off week, Boise still lags behind us in the BCS rankings, but the gap was significantly narrowed and, just like they said last week, the media is "GUARANTEEING" that Boise will jump TCU with a win over Nevada, even if the Frogs come out and put a bloody exclamation mark on Mike Locksley's career as a college head coach. I definitely take their guarantees with a grain of salt, but if TCU and Boise both win by large margins, the voters are going to be clamoring over each to get their ballots in the inbox of the powers that be with Boise at the top, and I'm not sure how many more favors the computers can do us going forward.

So what are we to do? What can we really hope to happen this week that will take Boise out of the equation? Well, the best case scenario is for the ESPN studios to get shut down all week due to an ebola outbreak, thus killing off any Boise hype until it is contained, not to mention the Herbstreit's of the world, which would confuse the hell out of voters because they'd have to think for themselves and thus would just keep the status quo out of necessity. The second, of course, is for Boise to lose in Reno Friday evening, but unless you're the most cynical member of the anti-Boise fan club, you can't possibly expect that to happen. In fact, I don't think you can even hope for a close game with the way Boise is playing right now. But there is one thing you can hope for, one thing that, while it'll make you feel ugly inside and earn the ire of any unbiased bystander, would give the Wolfpack a fighting chance to take out the Broncos and overturn the WAC pecking order in the last year of it's current configuration.

Yep, TCU fans, the time has come for us to wish a game altering injury on Kellen Moore.

Before the moralists among us shout me down for calling for the downfall of a student athlete who by all means seems like a pretty good kid, let me clarify. I don't want Kellen Moore to have a career ending injury. Heck, I don't want him to have an injury that effects him beyond the game Friday. I would love for the guy to come back next week, blast Utah state, and then return next year and make the TCU/Boise game the most hyped ever in the Mountain West Conference. I just don't want him to play Friday night. Perhaps a tweaked ankle, or a little turf toe, I don't care. Or not even that - just one of those nagging injuries you hear about that shouldn't be enough to keep you down, but are persistent enough that you can't play your A game. Or food poisoning. Just SOMETHING that either keeps him on the sidelines or, if he does play, keeps him from playing his best, slows the game down a little and gives Nevada a chance to keep up. Is that so wrong? Ok, don't answer that....

To be honest, even if Kellen Moore doesn't play, Boise's defense and offensive play makers not named Kellen Moore are probably good enough to sneak by Nevada. And that's really what I'm hoping for - a slim Boise win, followed by a TCU blowout, which, if anything is right in the world, will create just enough doubt in the minds of voters to keep us elevated above the Broncos. If Cam Newton was suspended and Auburn struggled, you bet your ass they'd downgrade the Tigers because they clearly wouldn't be the same team without him, so why not do the same to the Broncos without Kellen Moore? This has nothing to do with Boise State personally; I could definitely argue that they are the best team in the country - better than TCU, even - and I wish them as much success as any team in the country that doesn't sport a Horned Frog as a mascot. But when this success comes at our expense, actions must be taken. These guys scare me and I want them out of the picture. It's not you Boise, it's me.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here is a collection of the worst sports related injuries I could find on the interwebs that will hopefully generate some bad mojo in the greater Boise area this week. Desperate times require desperate measures.

And, of course, the most famous one of all, with which we never would've been able to witness Sandra Bullock pulling off some of the most abrasive accent work since Caddyshack...

Morning Dump

Why TCU's chances for a BCS bowl just improved CBS Sports

Boise State closes in on TCU; Oregon still leads BCS
USA Today

Utes help themselves- and TCU- with victory
Washington Post


TCU men hold on against Bradley


TCU teaches Alaska a lesson
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner