"It’s just a game," Boise State head coach Chris Petersen said in a postgame interview on ESPN. The words were so calm and true. It was just the opening game for the third-ranked Boise State Broncos. The win meant they were just 1-0.
In what may be the biggest opening week game in sports history, Boise State knocked off tenth-ranked Virginia Tech, 33-30, on the "neutral site" of Fed Ex Field in Landover, Md. The win stunned a few folks, but those who follow college football know that Boise State isn’t just some Western Athletic Conference (WAC) team trying to establish itself among the nation’s elite. These Broncos are established. The win over Virginia Tech was their fourth win in five tries against the AP top 10, including two Fiesta Bowl wins over Oklahoma and TCU [Louisville 44-40 in 2007 was their only loss.]
The nation might have questioned Boise State’s preseason ranking in the top three, but with the win over Virginia Tech they proved more than worthy. The domination of Boise State’s front four on defense was the most impressive aspect of their game. They harassed Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor on just about every play.
The Labor Day showdown was as hyped as any opening game in recent memory. With this win, Boise State might finally prove more memorable than the blue turf they play on.
Boise State isn’t the only team trying to crash the BCS Championship picture. TCU opened its year in the top ten of the AP poll as well. Their win over a ranked Oregon State team in Cowboy Stadium, 30-21, only propelled them into the mix even further. But there are still people out there who think Boise State is not as athletic as an SEC or Big 12 team. They must have slept through the games this weekend when Boise State running back D.J. Harper burst through the Hokies defense and no one could catch him. The Broncos defensive and offensive line had their way with the Hokies front lines. TCU bottled up one of the toughest backs in the nation in Jacquizz Rodgers.
It was 1984 when BYU claimed a National Championship, the last non-BCS school to do so. Of course that was a decade before the birth of the BCS, back when presidents had a hand in determining champions. We still have people crying that a one-loss Ohio State, Alabama, Texas and Florida would be more deserving than an undefeated WAC or Mountain West Conference (MWC) team. Maybe those folks missed Boise State beating Virginia Tech. Maybe those same folks missed TCU beating Oregon State. I doubt it. They probably missed Fresno State beating two time defending Big East Champion Cincinnati and missed Utah beating a very good Pittsburgh team. These smaller schools continue to beat the big ones but yet we refuse to let them have their shot at a title.
What else can they do? We beg them to play harder schedules so they schedule the nation’s elite and still win. What is left? Boise State is already heading to a new conference. There is one option we have yet to try: perhaps a Boise State-TCU showdown in Glendale, Ariz. for all the marbles. Why not? There hasn’t been a good one since 2005, when Texas beat USC in a thriller. So until Boise State goes undefeated and gets their shot, it was truly just a game.