Thursday, September 8, 2011
Boise State= Penn State of the '70's & Florida State of the 80's
How do you earn it? How do you get it?
If you want respect, sometimes you have to go take it from someone. Thats exactly what Boise State has done over the past decade.
Yeah they had some cute gimmicks like Smurf Turf and Stormtrooper uniforms, creating a bowl game in Idaho so you can guarantee a post season invite. All of those things have been done before, even the create your own bowl game (see Arizona State/Fiesta Bowl pre Pac 10 invite).
But nothing gets respect like winning does. For Boise, the conference games won't get that done. So Boise has had to go out and play BCS opponents, on there terms because no one is going to Idaho. So the Broncos have done that and won, defeating the likes of Oregon, Virginia Tech and Georgia in three consecutive season. Having already played in two BCS Bowl games over the years, they are a legitimate threat to play in the BCS Title game.
The Broncos have followed the same map laid out by two college football legends Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden.
Paterno and Penn State were snubbed several times after finishing undefeated, only not to get a share of a national championship through the pollsters. Eastern college football has never been that respected compared the the midwest, the south and the west coast. Paterno had three undefeated seasons in in 1968, 1969 and 1972, finishing #3, #2 and #5 respectively. Each time, the Lions won the Orange Bowl but did not gain a share of the national title. Finally when given a shot at the title after the 1978 season, PSU fell inches short of # 1 losing to Alabama at the Sugar Bowl in the Goal Line Stand by a score of 14-7.
Add into the disdain of not reaching #1, PSU had to deal with Jackie Sherrill and the dominance of the Pitt Panthers on the western half of the state. Instead of pouting, Penn State scheduled up, beginning with home and home series with Alabama and Notre Dame in the 1980's and playing Nebraska twice. By scheduling and winning its fair share of big intersectional games (PSU was an independent in the 1980's), the Lions defeated Georgia for the 1982 National Title, despite suffering a 42-21 loss to Alabama earlier in the year. In 1985, Penn State got another crack at the title, but lost to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, but then won probably the ultimate game of the Paterno era, defeating the Miami Hurricanes in the Fiesta Bowl to secure a 2nd title in 5 years. Its almost a certainty if PSU had not scheduled up, they would not have had those opportunities to win.
Bobby Bowden and Florida State did the same, but even to a more extreme level, adopting an anytime, anywhere mantra to scheduling. FSU went to places like Nebraska, Pittsburgh, LSU, Auburn, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan. In most cases, there were no return trips to Tallahassee. Sometimes they played two straight years at Ohio State or four straight at LSU or one and done at Michigan. And guess what, FSU won the majority of those games, putting the former all girl's school into the power elite of college football. The end result is that FSU won 2 national Titles in 1993 and 1999 and played for the title on 3 other occasions, falling to Florida in 1996, Tennessee in 1998 and Oklahoma in 2000.
Now Boise State had had to do the same thing to gain respect. They've played home and home with Oregon, defeated Va. Tech and Georgia in what amounted to home games for the other team in Washington DC and Atlanta. This years UGA/Boise game replaced what was supposed to be a game in Oxford, MS vs Ole Miss.
As a result of winning these big, early season games, the Broncos have positioned themselves to get to New Orleans. And should they make it there against an Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU, Wisconson or someone else, I wouldn't bet against them in a 1 game, winner take all scenario.