Would you want Boise State at Michigan?

Submitted by StephenRKass on October 27th, 2010 at 1:40 AM

The common complaint about Boise State is that they just play cupcakes.

So, if Michigan could have played them in Ann Arbor this year, would you have scheduled them, if you were the AD?

I'm thinking we would have been shredded. But I also think that it isn't fair to complain about their level of competition, if we wouldn't want them scheduled against our own team.


Zvornik Bosna

October 27th, 2010 at 1:56 AM ^

You have to play the best in order to be the best. If in the race for the national title (which Michigan wasn't expected to be in this year) you have an opportunity to control your own destiny by knocking off a highly ranked team, I say you take it. Of course this year is different since we weren't in contention but I still wouldn't mind scheduling Boise just so that the players can play against a great team. I don't know about getting shredded because Tech only lost by a couple points and they have some bad losses this season.


October 27th, 2010 at 2:39 AM ^

But nobody is going to agree to a home & home with them. It's worth considering that Boise's AD knows this and by insisting on a home & home actually preserves their ridiculous winning percentage and keeps them nationally in the conversation. Which honestly is as much as they can get.


October 27th, 2010 at 8:12 AM ^

And yet every time they get a chance to play a quality opponent (Oregon, Oregon State, Virginia Tech), Boise State comes out on top.  The AD isn't just trying to preserve their ridiculous winning percentage.  He's trying to find quality opponents that might give BSU a shot to win a national title.

Everyone's just scared of them.

Section 1

October 27th, 2010 at 8:42 AM ^

It's just a big negative, with no upside.  There's no point in a home and home with them.

And I'd argue that the odd early-season games that they've undertaken with Oregon, Oregon State and Virginia Tech hardly places them in the category of other major-conference powers.

An undefeated Big Ten, SEC or Pac 10 power is impressive, because those teams have to face week after week of teams who are a serious threat.  Ohio State didn't just have to get by Miami in the second week of the season; Ohio State has to face Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan, and more, with fully half of that kind of conference schedule on the road.  And they do it year in and year out.

I'm waiting for Chris Peterson to get hired by a really good school.  Just like all the other successful Boise State coaches.


October 27th, 2010 at 8:49 AM ^

However, I think there is some upside. At this point, Boise State is recognized as a good team. They've built a body of work. So beating them gets you a lot more cred than say, UConn or UMass, or, for that matter, ND.

Also, even though there isn't huge upside, my main point is this. If teams like Michigan and Florida and Texas aren't willing to schedule them, then their fans, and BCS team fans in general, are just whiny brats and disingenuous in complaining about Boise State's schedule.


October 27th, 2010 at 10:30 AM ^

What upside though? If Michigan goes undefeated, MAC cupcake and all, they will, 4 seasons out of 5, play in the national championship game. Winning to Boise wouldn't increase this chance, but losing to Boise would wreck it. On top of that, the money isn't any better than a game against a UConn or Vanderbilt, maybe not much better than a MAC team when you need to do a home and home. So what's the upside?

It's not whiny to recognize this fact, it's reality. And it's hardly disingenuous - no one is complaining about the strength of Boise's OOC schedule, which is tougher than most. If anyone is disingenuous, it's Boise supporters, who compare their OOC schedule to Alabama's while simultaneously ignoring the gaping black hole that is their conference slate.


October 27th, 2010 at 8:57 AM ^

And I'd argue that the odd early-season games that they've undertaken with Oregon, Oregon State and Virginia Tech hardly places them in the category of other major-conference powers.

The point isn't that Boise's schedule is comperable to the average BCS program (although I think that they'd win the Big East walking away).  The point is that Boise is making an effort to play BCS programs and, when one actually agrees to play them, they are beating them.


October 27th, 2010 at 9:04 AM ^

Peterson has won multiple BCS bowls and has multiple undefeated seasons.  That's good coaching no matter which way you slice it.  I'm sure he's been approached to leave but seems to recognize he has a good thing going and he also likes living in Boise.  I think watching Koetter and Hawkins has made him cautious about making the leap to a "down" AQ team.  It's entirely possible we could be looking at a coach who actually means he's found his dream job at a smaller school.


October 27th, 2010 at 9:23 AM ^

It's just a big negative, with no upside.

So...yeah...they're scared.  Of losing.

Somebody summarized my response elsewhere in this thread, but BSU must play their conference schedule.  It's a requirement.  But their non-conference games have been against, among others, Virginia Tech and Oregon State.  That's a tougher non-conference schedule than most teams have played, including the University of Michigan, whose toughest non-conference game was against a kinda crappy Notre Dame.

It's not like they beat Oregon OR Virginia Tech OR Oklahoma OR Oregon State in the last few years.  They've beaten all of those teams.  If that's not a trend of winning against top competition, then I don't know what is.


October 27th, 2010 at 9:51 AM ^

They lost against those teams back in 2005 and 2007 (with an undefeated season in between, BTW).

Let's make sure we hold these current players and coaches accountable for what happened during the 2005 season. 

Your team lost to Boston College when you were juniors in high school, so you clearly aren't an elite team!


October 27th, 2010 at 1:24 PM ^

But beating the Big Boys has been the norm for this team over the past several years.  That's why it's relevant.  Oklahoma, Oregon, etc. have fallen prey to Boise State over the past four or five years.

You're bringing up teams ONLY from several years ago.

The more recent trend is that Boise State can run with the big dogs.


October 27th, 2010 at 5:46 PM ^

After Oklahoma they lost to Washington, Hawaii and two straight bowl games against East Carolina and TCU.  Did beating Florida erase The Horror or the 08 season?  Why is it OK for the Oklahoma game to be relevant but not the following losses?

HOWEVA, I am not disagreeing that this years Boise team can't play with anyone because they can.  It is just unfortunate they are a very good team in a very bad conference.  I would love to see how Boise's recruiting and depth held up in a BCS conference.


October 27th, 2010 at 1:50 PM ^

But what about Oregon last year?  They absolutely shut down Oregon, and this year BSU returns nearly everybody from last year.  Same team that was excellent last year + one more year of experience = quality team.  Especially in a year when nobody looks absolutely dominant (except the team that BSU beat last year), why shouldn't they get their shot?  If a MAC team beat everybody in their conference by 35 points, and beat decent BCS conference teams, why not consider them?


October 27th, 2010 at 1:15 PM ^

were in the Big Ten or SEC they would not be where they are right now. I just wish we could go to a playoff system and shit can all this BCS bullshit. The fact that the NCAA has a playoff system for every divisional sport except for D1 football shows the NCAA has sold their soul to the devil. The big bowl locations can still have a game at their stadium...just make it a playoff game instead. Sometimes old traditions really fuck things up...IMO.


October 27th, 2010 at 4:39 PM ^

Why wouldn't they be where they are if they played in the Big Ten?  MSU sits atop the Big Ten right now, and I think BSU is a better team than MSU.  BSU might have an easier road than in the WAC, but that doesn't mean that they couldn't compete.  For example, they shut out San Jose State 48-0, while Wisconsin beat SJSU 27-14 and Alabama beat SJSU 48-3.  Of course that is just one common opponent, but it does provide some basis for comparison.


October 28th, 2010 at 3:56 AM ^

own question for me by saying "BSU might have an easier road in the WAC." Of course the WAC doesn't stack up to the BT or SEC and that is why I said they wouldn't be where they are right now...meaning ranked so highly in the poles. Your comparison is good stuff and I know BSU could compete in the BT or SEC but do you honestly think they (BSU) would be ranked so highly like they've been the past three years if they had to endure what the teams in the BT and SEC go through year after year? C'mon man! Get real...


October 27th, 2010 at 8:42 AM ^

The Boise AD was quoted last year saying he's willing to schedule anytime, anywhere, without a return trip to Boise.  I haven't seen anywhere that their AD insists on a home & home. To the contrary, he can't find hardly any BCS teams willing to schedule Boise as a non-conference game. But I may have missed something. Do you have a source or link for your assertion?


October 27th, 2010 at 9:17 AM ^

Do you have a source for that quote in your post?

I remember him saying he'd play anybody at anytime, but I dont think he ever said without a trip to Boise.

Also: Oregon State -- Not Good, VA Tech -- Not Good

Those cant be your premier wins to make a national title case. Nobody else receiving a shred of attention (outside of possibly TCU in a down MWC) will be using wins over those teams as a case for the Title. Oregon State and Va Tech wouldnt even be in the upper half on Alabama's schedule.

Last year Boise did beat a pretty good Ducks team, but 1) it was the only team they had to get up for all year and 2) that same Oregon team lost to Ohio State. Why should Boise have a title shot when their best -- and only good win that year -- was over an Oregon team that Ohio State beat as well. Furthermore, Ohio State lost to USC and Purdue (goes to show that making it through a conference is tougher than just knocking off the top team, i.e. Beating Oregon last year does not prove that Boise State would go through the Pac-10 undefeated).

Point is, Ohio State last year was not given a title shot -- thank god -- and they beat the same one quality team that Boise did and got beaten by two teams that were probably not the toughest matchups on their schedule (USC/Purdue) because its a grind to get up for 12 straight games instead of 1.


October 27th, 2010 at 9:39 AM ^

...and a similar Oregon team has been torching opponents for several years now.  What's your point?

A good Ohio State team beat a good Oregon team in a close game, and Oregon lost to Boise State...

...and that Oregon team is currently ranked #1 just a year later.

BSU beats the teams they should beat, and they usually beat the good teams to whom they're "supposed" to lose.


October 27th, 2010 at 10:06 AM ^

This is on honest question, so please don't take it as snark - would you (or anyone else on this board) believe that an undefeated MAC team would deserve to play in the national title game (assuming you believe Boise should have a shot)? Because the schedule of, say, CMU was just as tough in 2009 as that of Boise.

My main issue is that Boise's wins over big name schools, while consistent and impressive, aren't really "fair". What I mean by this is they get to play 10 games that amount to scrimmages against mediocre, totally overmatched competition, and place all of their effort into winning one or two big games. Almost every important game they play, they have a month to prepare for that game specifically, and then coast through the rest of their schedule on their considerable talent. Their opponents don't have that luxury, and for them Boise is just one game on an overall tough slate. To me it would be ridiculous to ignore the role that this plays in Boise's big wins. Does anyone doubt that Ohio State, Alabama, or any other top power would go undefeated more often than not with Boise's schedule? More importantly, couldn't mid-level teams, say Iowa or Arkansas, do the same with regularity? Even this year's Michigan, weak as our defense has been, would have a great shot at 12-0 vs. the Broncos 2010 schedule. And no one is saying we should be a national champion this year.

Under the current system, Boise will get respect when they join a real conference. Have they made any effort to do so? I'd like to see them in the post-Nebraska Big 12.


October 27th, 2010 at 10:42 AM ^

1) I don't think Michigan would beat both VT and Oregon State.  I hate to say it, but I just don't see that happening with our defense.

2) I doubt that Boise will be joining a "real" conference anytime soon - their athletic department, the football program aside, seems pretty weak, and they don't have much academic ground to stand on.  Factor in their stadium that is tiny by power conference standards, and I don't think they're going anywhere for a while.  Their best chance was probably to try and join the new Pac-12.  Joining the Mountain West will certainly help their overall profile, though.


October 27th, 2010 at 11:24 AM ^

It depends on the non-conference schedule.  I would be in support of CMU playing for a national title if they went undefeated and beat some solid teams in the non-conference schedule, as well as if they had a reputation for beating the "big boys" in previous years.

If you have three undefeated teams vying for the NC, and two of them are from power conferences (let's say the Big Ten and SEC), then I'd say go with the two teams from power conferences.  But if you have a 12-0 team from the Big Ten facing a 12-1 or 11-2 team from the SEC, then yeah, I'd say an undefeated Boise State deserves a shot.

The Nicker

October 27th, 2010 at 2:15 PM ^

Magnus, I don't see how you could bash someone's argument for listing the teams they've lost to over the years (some of which are mediocre) and then use their quality wins from previous years to say they deserve a shot. It doesn't make any sense. Besides the genius "Billingsley" idea of incorporating previous season's results is widely panned by the statistical, in addition to the rational, community.


I don't think anyone is making an argument that Michigan is as good as Boise State, or even that Boise State is or isn't one of the two best teams in the country. If they are, they shouldn't be. The point is, their schedule is weak, year after year. The third best team they play each year is equivalent to about the eighth or ninth best team on the schedule of most MNC contenders, and that's not fair. We don't know how good Boise State is. We don't know if thet are one of the two best teams. And we do know that based on resume they probably don't deserve to play for the MNC.


You can add this to the list of reasons why a playoff would be so important. If Boise State has to win three, or even two, games in a row against the best and pulls it off, no one will doubt their status as legitimate #1 . . . that is, until next year, because THE PREVIOUS YEAR'S RESULTS DON'T MATTER.




October 27th, 2010 at 2:39 PM ^

Magnus, I don't see how you could bash someone's argument for listing the teams they've lost to over the years (some of which are mediocre) and then use their quality wins from previous years to say they deserve a shot. It doesn't make any sense. Besides the genius "Billingsley" idea of incorporating previous season's results is widely panned by the statistical, in addition to the rational, community.

Well, Michigan lost to Appalachian State in 2007.  Should that loss prevent Michigan from being in the conversation of elite teams in 2012 or 2013?  Absolutely not.

The difference is that the wins against Oregon, Virginia Tech, etc. have taken place in recent years, with some of the current players, and with the current coaching staff.  Listing teams Boise State lost to back in 2005 should not be held against the 2010 team.  However, a 2009 victory against a very good team (Oregon) helps to show that recent and current iterations of the Boise State program might be able to play with the best of them.


October 28th, 2010 at 2:13 AM ^

Well, I don't like counting past season's to determine THIS seasons champion, but then again there is a such thing as preseason polls, and they do affect who has a shot at a title. So you have a point.

I have a hard time, however, agreeing with the idea that going 12-1 in the SEC is less of an accomplishment than going 12-0 against Boise's schedule.

Clarence Beeks

October 27th, 2010 at 10:55 AM ^

Yep, I think that really says something about Boise's program (and Oregon's).

Steelers are looking good.  I'd prefer to see them not playing so close to mid-tier teams, though.  I think that'll come together as the offense starts to click with Ben back, though.


October 27th, 2010 at 12:46 PM ^

Didn't they offer to play a road game for their 2011 opener without expecting a return trip and no one took them up on it? Don't get me wrong, I think the concerns about Boise's cupcake schedule are legitimate, but I don't think they're actually trying to duck tough opponents. It's just that no one wants to play them. They would have jumped at the chance to join the Pac-10 if they weren't way out in the middle of nowhere and based in a lucrative enough TV market to warrant an invite over Utah or Colorado. 

On a related note, there is no way the Big East should continue to keep its automatic BCS bid instead of the Mountain West, even after losing Utah and BYU. The ACC also sucks right now, but at least they have traditional powers in FSU and Miami (and, to a lesser extent, VaTech) that are in down cycles. The Big East's strongest power is West Virginia, which has never won a national championship, and it has two schools that didn't even have Division 1-A football programs twenty years ago (UConn, USF). 


October 28th, 2010 at 2:24 AM ^

I humbly predict that we will finish with an equal to or better record than both - OSU is 3-3 and has yet to play Oregon or Stanford. Virginia Tech is 6-2 and will probably find a way to choke on two more opponents, because they are Virginia Tech, the "SPARTY NO" champions of the Eastern seaboard.

grand river fi…

October 27th, 2010 at 2:20 AM ^

I used to spend a lot of time in Wendover Nevada casinos that were always packed with Boise State fans.  While they were mostly genuine nice people, quite a few of them had massive chips on their shoulders.  I would love to see Michigan play them in a couple years, but would know that their fans wouldn't ever let anyone forget if they won.  I hope they are eventually given a chance just so their fans can mellow out a bit, they deserve it.


October 27th, 2010 at 2:20 AM ^

I would like to have seen it even though they would probably have crushed us, but I am likely in the minority. 

It would be somewhat like App. St., in that some people would give you less credit for a win than against a mediocre SEC team, but would hammer you for losing to them.  That is why they are screwed - they are willing to play the big boys, but nobody wants anything to do with them.  They cannot join a big conference for the reasons mentioned above (academics, limited athletics, small stadium, etc.), but there is also only so much that they can do OOC.

Having watched each of their games and having seen them in person, I still think that they can play with anybody, WAC schedule notwithstanding.

The Mick

October 27th, 2010 at 6:42 AM ^

Too late now, but I'm sure they'd not insist on a home and home just to play Michigan. Make it the last OOC-game to get ready for the Big 10 games.


October 27th, 2010 at 7:12 AM ^

The way that you state the cupcake complaint isn't quite accurate.  The common complaint is that they play in a conference full of cupcakes.  This isn't really BSU's  fault. 

Boise seems to go out of their way to prove themselves with a difficult OOC schedule.  This year they played Virginia Tech and Oregon State.

I don't know if you realized this, but thought I'd make sure you understood the complaint with their schedule.