Inside The BCS: Boise State Vs. The System

LANDOVER MD - SEPTEMBER 06: Wide receiver #2 Austin Pettis of the Boise State Broncos tries to avoid cornerback #21 Rashad Carmichael of the Virginia Tech Hokies at FedExField on September 6 2010 in Landover Maryland. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)

Are the voters ready to invite a non automatic qualifying conference team? Can Boise State run the table? What does the BCS landscape look like after week one?

Monday's win by Boise State over Virginia Tech has gotten the entire college football world abuzz about whether Boise State deserves national championship consideration. Before breaking straight into some analysis of the BCS picture it might be useful to address some popular questions about the BCS.

With many more mid-major teams in play than ever before, are the voters ready to place them into the BCS National Championship Game?

First of all, the term mid-major does not reflect the reality that all eleven FBS conferences are part of the BCS contract structure. I prefer the term at-large conference, but the BCS refers to them as non-automatic qualifying conferences.

With each passing year, the tide appears to get closer to the levy. Boise State and TCU are closer than any non-AQ conference member at this point in the season. If Boise State finishes undefeated only a handful of teams can pass them with a loss.

No other team is more likely to go undefeated than Boise State. Only a few teams are close when one loss seasons are added to their undefeated odds.

The fact that Boise State is No. 3 this early in the AP poll, No. 2 in the Blogpoll and No. 2 in my simulated BCS standings all suggest that the voters are open to giving Boise State their day on the big stage.

What is Boise State's prognosis for the remaining season?

Boise State has three games worth mentioning left on their plate. In increasing order of likely line advantage, these are Oregon State, Fresno State and Nevada. Boise State needs to impress in these games to keep from sliding down the polls. To make the NCG Boise State needs to win every other game with gusto.

An undefeated Boise State would have a harder time than Auburn in 2004 and an easier time than LSU in 2007 getting to the NCG. With 2004 being a 1 and 2007 being a 10 on the top 5 chaos scale, an undefeated Boise State needs a 5 or 6 to get to the NCG.

A single loss puts them in the familiar spot of hoping a MWC team loses to gain a BCS berth. Being the first non-AQ conference team with a loss to qualify for a BCS bowl would be a bitter-sweet consolation prize for a team coveting a chance at a national title

My pick is for Boise State to stumble along the way somewhere, (Ole Miss vs. Jacksonville State style) but will be right on the edge of No. 2 and No. 3 until they do. If I am wrong and they finish undefeated, then I will not get any sleep the night of December 4th.

Inside the BCS Numbers

For a full look inside the BCS numbers see my simulated BCS standings. The first question to consider is which teams are in the lead for the BCS NCG. Using the current standings and the number of likely ranked teams left on the schedule it is possible to estimate which teams will pass other teams if they finish undefeated.

This list will likely get shuffled some as early results become known and the actual impact of games played are determined, but attrition should be far more significant than mid-season corrections. I suspect my normal methods are being a bit optimistic on Boise State here and AQ conference teams that come out strong can move up quickly.

Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Alabama (1 Loss), Miami, Boise State, Oklahoma, LSU, TCU and Nebraska.

The only other question on the radar at this point is who is ready to fill the gap if Boise State should fall. TCU is clearly in the picture, but Utah and BYU are within striking distance and have a direct shot at TCU's perch.

Using 2007 Hawaii standards (to use the word "standard" loosely), 89 of the 120 FBS teams are still in contention for a BCS berth.

Later in the season I will include bits on conference races, but that is all for now.

If you have any questions about the BCS, send them to benjamin.prather@gmail.com for consideration in next week's intro.

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