Why They’re Here: Boise State is movin up in the world. This is the highest ranking the Broncos – or as I’ll be referring to them as henceforth, Blue Magic – have ever had and they’ve certainly earned it. They’ve managed three undefeated seasons in four years and have played in two BCS bowls and won both in that time. That’s an impressive resume no matter who plays in your conference. They’ll have to earn their way in, but if Blue Magic takes care of business they have an amazing chance to play for the BCS National Championship this year. That’s something no one would have thought even three years ago.
The Good: Blue Magic have everything going for them. They’ve managed to keep their coach from dumping them for a prettier program with no money, their first-thought Heisman quarterback is returning for his junior season – his third as a starter – and the running game and defense have never looked better. In fact, this squad returns 19 starters from a team that beat one of the nation’s best teams in last year’s Sugar Bowl. They’re ready for this number three ranking. They’ve earned it.
The Bad: Boise State being ranked third (which they probably will be in most national polls when the season starts, not just here) is sort of like Rudy starting for Notre Dame. Yeah, you pulled for him to get in the game, because he had to earn it and we all cried a little when he hit the field, but do you really want him out there starting the game with the first team D? Ask yourself how you’d really feel about a guy “five-foot-nothin, a hundred-and-nothin,” starting for your team. That’s sort of how it is with Boise State. We all loved them as a Cinderella story, but do we really want them out there with the first string D, week in and week out? With respect comes expectations and Blue Magic is going to have to bring it every week. They’ve always had the bull’s-eye on their back in the WAC, but they have now become every other team’s ticket to the national spotlight. One off week, one bad play, one botched call and it’s all over and the program may never have this opportunity again. No one at Boise has ever had to carry that kind of load – they were always the Little Engine That Could – and it will be interesting to see if they’ve got the stones to make it happen. Having a first-thought Heisman candidate who will have to air it out to get the necessary votes to become the school’s first-ever winner will add another wrinkle to the equation – especially since Blue Magic are at their best when the utilize the ground game.
The Last Word: Can you imagine splediferousness (that’s a Don King word) of a Boise State-Alabama national championship game? It would put Duke-Davidson to shame. It would be the greatest thing to happen to college football since Tim Tebow. Bama-Blue Magic would bring in a 40 rating, easy. Who wouldn’t want to watch The Little Engine That Could take on the most illustrious, untouchable program in the history of college football, coached by probably the most pompous, swaggerific coach in the game this side of Lane Kiffin? Would you miss that game? Not for the birth of your first son. The football gods have been plotting this one. I may be all alone in this one, but I think they can do it.
Final Record: 14 – 0
I’ve watched both TCU and Boise State play live once this year before the Fiesta Bowl. Here’s what I learned about the two teams and schools after watching Monday’s game.
1. Boise State had a great team this year.
I’ve been refusing to accept this conclusion all year and Monday night made it impossible to live in denial any more. After the Fiesta Bowl, I have to admit that Boise is probably the fourth best team in the nation – maybe even third. They physically manhandled Oregon this year and Oregon physically destroyed USC. I thought it was a fluke until last night.
2. Andy Dalton and Jerry Hughes aren’t that good.
Not only did Hughes, who I had considered one of the best defensive ends in the nation, not get a sack, he didn’t even get a QB pressure in the game. Given my first point, it’s understandable that he didn’t dominate the Boise St. O-line, but great players play great in big games and OK players disappear; Hughes disappeared.
As for Dalton, I thought he was one of the most underrated players in the country, but he proved me completely wrong. Not only did he throw three picks, including the game-ender, but he went 25-44 passing, and of his 25 completions, I think maybe five were on-target. If he wasn’t putting balls in the dirt, he was sailing passes and getting his receivers killed. Like I said about Hughes, great players play great in big games.
3. TCU has the lamest football gang sign ever.
Sure, hand gestures like the “hook ‘em horns” and “gator chomp” may be obnoxious, but at least they look cool. TCU’s little horned frog gang sign looked more like someone butchering Little Bunny Foo Foo than a school emblem.
4. The hot girls at TCU don’t travel.
I used to live in Fort Worth, Texas, about two miles from the TCU campus, and I know the kind of “talent” they have at that school. So either the camera men at the Fiesta Bowl were purposely avoiding the eye candy or the hot sorority girls at Texas Christian couldn’t get daddy to finance a trip to Glendale.
5. Boise State has the nerdiest students and alumni of any football school in the country.
Did you watch the game? I wanted to wedgie the entire student section and rob them for their lunch money.
6. The cheerleaders at TCU take football very, very seriously.
I have never, ever, not once in almost 20 years of watching football, seen a cheerleader cry after a loss. Never. At the end of the game they cut to one of TCU’s cheerleaders and she was sobbing like Tim Tebow. Wait, I made myself feel bad with that one. Seriously, though, the cheerleader was crying! Maybe her boyfriend is on the team and she knew he was going to hit her because they lost.
Did I go too far with that one?
Despite the fact TCU and Boise State made it to the Fiesta Bowl, the BCS still needs to be done away with and replaced by a true playoff!
That said, the Fiesta and Sugar Bowls should be two amazing games!
There’s a song by Kurupt, a West-coast rapper from Compton, with a chorus that goes something like: “This here is one of them occasions/Where the homie’s not doin it right/So what you found you a hoe that you like/But you can’t make a hoe a housewife.” It’s quite a catchy little diddy and whether you’re comfortable with the terminology involved, Kurupt has a good point: You can’t make someone into something that they are not.
In this particular case, the “homie” is Oregon coach Chip Kelly and the “hoe” is LaGerrette Blount. You may have heard on Friday that Kelly said he would consider reinstating Blount onto the team as early as November 7th, easing the season-long suspension that the university imposed on him. Kelly is effectively trying to turn Blount into a housewife and it just ain’t happening. While the incident where Blount cold cocked Boise State’s Byron Hout on national television was the most egregious of Blount’s offenses, it’s certainly not his first.
In his first season at Oregon, Blount – who transferred to Oregon from East Mississippi Community College because he didn’t have the grades to get into a single school in the SEC – reportedly clashed with former head coach Mike Bellotti a number of times. The most widely acknowledged was the time Blount was suspended for the first quarter of the team’s 2008 game against Cal for “not following team rules.” He was suspended again by Kelly before the 2009 season started for the exact same unspecified offense (not following the rules). Then, prior to the game, Blount mouthed off to reporters about how the Ducks owed Boise State an “ass whoopin.”
Reports coming out of Eugene were that Blount was skating on thin ice before the team even took the field in Boise, and we all saw how that ended. Kelly is an old-fashioned good guy. Clearly he wants to give the kid, who comes from a rough place and has worked hard, another shot. But Kelly needs to learn that what’s best for a troubled youngster might not be what’s best for his football team, his program, or even himself.
Blount is a hard-head and a thug who hasn’t learned his lesson and probably never will. Had he just thrown the punch, it would have been forgivable. But what (should have) sealed his fate was the fact he was so out of control that he actually tried to go into the stands and fight the opposing team’s fans. That’s not the mark of someone who needs to be on the football field anytime soon… it’s the mark of someone who needs years – literally years – of emotional and psychiatric counseling.