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.



October 27th, 2010 at 8:38 AM ^

doesn't mean that teams from real conferences should suffer as a result. Teams from the big conferences need to prepare weekly against decent to great competition. A team like Wisconsin is out of the BCS picture, but they played OSU, MSU, & Iowa 3 of 4 weeks. That's tough competition week-in week out. There is no tough game streak for BSU, and therefore they should get punished.

Also, Oregon State is 3-3 and Va Tech lost to...James Madison, so...

If BSU wanted, they could accept less money to play an away only with a few good teams to make up for their disaster of a conference.


October 27th, 2010 at 7:31 AM ^

Boise State's problem is the Michigans of the world won't play them unless they travel here for a one-off, and Boise believes they deserve home-and-homes. Their AD's a good guy, from accounts, but naive: he doesn't really grasp how much of a money issue it would be for a school with a 100K-plus stadium to lose a home game in favor of a trip to Idaho.

There is so much incentive not to do it, I'm surprised Boise even found a Virginia Tech or Oregon State to take on.

Would the fans like to see a home and home against Boise St instead of, say, UMass and Delaware State? Absolutely we would. But the economics of the thing don't work out that way.

One of the things standing in the way is the Big Ten revenue sharing model. If we invite Texas, Alabama, USC and Notre Dame to play at the Big House, Michigan gets the same exact cut of money for playing those games that Indiana gets. It's not worth the risk of all of those early season losses. Michigan will fill its stadium whether it's playing the best FBS team or the worst FCS team, so that doesn't matter. The only difference would be whatever a 12th of the extra TV dollars might be. Consider that end of the season, ludicrously, an 8-4 team who didn't play any FCS schools is considered worse than a 9-3 team who played two. Until we're looking like Ohio State or something, the risk of losing that big FBS non-conference game is too great, and with Notre Dame plus 8 Big Ten games among which two will always be Nebraska and Ohio State, well, there's no fear of a perfect record at Michigan not being enough to justify a BCS NC berth.

If Boise had more fans, I would suggest a home-and-away series, in which we play one game at Michigan Stadium, and then play another at a pro venue on the West Coast. As with Alabama, if we're playing out of our conference footprint, Michigan doesn't have to share the revenue. But do you think Michigan-Boise St could fill 67,000 at Quest Field (Seahawks)?


October 27th, 2010 at 8:14 AM ^

Filling any stadium with Michigan shouldn't be a problem. First sell-out at Memorial Stadium in Indiana in a few years (52,000) is a good example. Also, 73,000 Boise St and TCU fans filled the stadium for last years Fiesta Bowl.


October 27th, 2010 at 12:48 PM ^

Boise St v TCU was the biggest game in either school's history. A Week Three Michigan-Boise St game in Seattle would be great Prime Time TV on Saturday night (4:30 game time), but you're not talking about a huge sports city. Mich-Bama in Dallas makes sense because you have a mega fan base and a large-ish fan base that's relatively near by. Boise State has a lot fewer fans than Alabama, so really we'd be chancing Michigan having enough Seattle transplants to fill the stadium.

I'm still in favor of it, despite the risk.


October 27th, 2010 at 8:56 AM ^

If what you say is true, I agree with you.

However, their AD was quoted in the MSM last year being willing to play anywhere without a return date to Boise. Do you have a source regarding your statement on their requiring a home and home?


October 27th, 2010 at 1:13 PM ^

I don't see why not. Michigan would probably be Boise State's biggest nonconference regular season game since their rise to prominence (and it would probably also be our biggest nonconference game in a long time). Michigan has fans all over, and Seattle is not that far from Boise. Boise State is also developing a bit of a national following (perhaps out of pure curiosity if nothing else). I could see Michigan-Boise State filling up a stadium like Qwest. Another possible venue is Oakland Coliseum or Candlestick Park in the Bay. 


October 27th, 2010 at 7:48 AM ^

I still believe "FBS" needs to be broken up into two divisions. A playoff system would be better than the BCS, but understand, that would just make a BCS of 8 or 12 or 16 teams instead of 2. Better...still not at all fair.

FBS 1: ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Pac XII, Big XII (minus Iowa St and Baylor), Notre Dame, BYU

FBS 2: Big East, MWC, Sun Belt, WAC, MAC, C-USA, Army, Navy

I would then suggest a several FBS2 schools get invited to join FBS 1 as independents.

  • Pitt
  • Syracuse

Having a division of 120 teams that play just 12-13 games is ridiculous. We've been beating around this bush by calling them "mid-majors" for so long, but there's a huge difference in the size of these schools and the size of their respective brands. It's more complicated than simply drawing a line by endowments, since there isn't a clear separation between the 60th and 61st teams etc. The market for the best MAC team versus the best C-USA team isn't what it is for the best Big Ten team and best SEC team.

Just a dream.


October 27th, 2010 at 8:13 AM ^

What about Louisville, WVU?  Cinci, USF and UConn are new to the scene, but could potentially get to where they need to be.  Rutgers is tied for the oldest program in the country... there's the history argument.  Do you disagree?  I mean I think these schools are at least on par with the bottom of the AQ conferences.


October 27th, 2010 at 9:10 AM ^

Right? Louisville, WVU, Pitt, and Syracuse all have richer traditions  and more notable recent success than at least a couple teams in every other* AQ conference. These schools have the claim of molding some of the best players of all time: Unitas, Marino, Jim F'n Brown, umm... Pacman Jones. OK I couldn't think of one for WVU but I'd have as much trouble thinking of one for Northwestern, Minnesota [okay, Bronko Nagurski, but none since], Kentucky, Vandy, Duke, NC State, and any number of Pac-10 schools. 

The Big East isn't, top to bottom, the best football conference and a lot of the schools are basketball schools with new-ish money. And it's too small, in general. But the best programs in it have very strong traditions that compare favorably to some teams in every other conference.


* The Big East = AQ conference


October 27th, 2010 at 8:41 AM ^

You are probably reading one of the potential byproducts of the attempt to stack leagues into super conferences with 16 plus teams in them seen last summer. Good call.

If it came down to there being super sized Big Ten, Pac 10, Big 12, SEC and maybe ACC, this would more likely help create a playoff scenerio. The money would be thicker for the participating teams and the worries about the smaller conferences crashing the party playing weaker league schedules would be cleared up too.

They could do a playoff now the way things are and do it with little thought, but the big boys only want it if they can make huge dollars and take steps to make the pool of teams shallower.   Oddly Boise State has probably deepened opposition towards a playoff among the power brokers



October 27th, 2010 at 8:23 AM ^

I would like to schedule them but certainly not until 2012 when our secondary is older and wiser. Since we are Michigan though I would make sure we were on their schedule after another tough out of conference opponent. This way they can't prepare for us several weeks in advance while beating up on inferior competition. Also I would just for once like to see Boise play two consecutive hard fought games in a row. Win them both and I am a believer. Playing two big games a year really isn't that impressive considering the other games on their schedule are little more than scrimmages.


October 27th, 2010 at 8:37 AM ^

to playing Boise State.  If you win, "'you were supposed to"; if you lose it sucks the life out of your season.  BSU may be one of the 4 best teams in thecountry on any given Saturday, but in a 8-9 game conference season, they'd get put in their place in the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-10.


October 27th, 2010 at 8:43 AM ^

FWIW, I don't think "you're supposed to" beat Boise anymore...  I don't think they have the "fear" level of other programs, but they definitely are to be respected.  They don't have the historical prestige as your Texas, USC, Miami, Georgia's but i'd say Boise can probably beat each of those teams this year.


October 27th, 2010 at 9:19 AM ^

Sure, I would have enjoyed hedigng my emotions with a big bet on Boise in that hypothetical matchup. Man, the OVER would have been easy money too.


October 27th, 2010 at 10:00 AM ^

As long as we're not talking about 2012, yes, even if it meant a return date in Boise.

And BSU is not the lose-lose proposition that playing Appy State or UMass were, either, considering their victories against Oregon, OK, VT, and Oregon St. They are a legit power; you don't beat those teams by being merely "lucky." And if we don't pull a turnaround in the next couple of years, BSU would come into the Big House as the favorite.


October 27th, 2010 at 10:11 AM ^

They would probably insist on a home-and-home agreement with at least one of those games being played on a Tuesday night.  Why the f- did they play last night?  Boise just seems to want to be "different" than everyone else.  Blue field, playing games on a Tuesday night (virtually ensuring that no one watches other than Boise and LA Tech fans), etc.  You'll never see a BCS powerhouse playing on a Tuesday night.  I just don't get it.



October 27th, 2010 at 10:26 AM ^

If we are willing to play Alabama at a neutral site without a home and home, why not do the same with Boise State?  The money could be worked out so as to make both sides reasonably happy, and it could start a trend of us having a sort of preseason sort of bowl game to attend every couple of years similiar to the 2012 opportunity to visit Dallas.  great for exposure, great for recruiting, and great for getting opportunities for our fan base to see the boys outside of A2.


October 27th, 2010 at 10:38 AM ^

Would you fly to Dallas to watch UM-Boise? Because I'm already planning to attend the Alabama game, but UM-Boise would be a giant "meh" for me. I'd rather watch UM pound Bowling Green at the Big House.


October 27th, 2010 at 11:35 AM ^

With the advent of Big 10 expansion, a conference championship game, and the BCS system, there is only one reason to play a big non-conference game-money.  If we think we need to do that, the Alabama game is the model, not a team like Boise St.  As many have said, there is little upside to beating Boise, and not as much money.  Forget them, and ultimately, forget ND as well.


October 27th, 2010 at 11:41 AM ^

I would gladly play Boise State. This year, next year, any year. And I'd love to see a home-and-home. I frankly think it would be a blast for a bunch of us Michigan folk to invade their blue stadium, donning OUR shade of blue and plenty of maize.

But as Misopogon so aptly stated above, the reason this'll never happen is money (surprise, surprise...).

Boise State needs a sugar daddy. A Jerry Jones, if you will, who will buy teams to come play in their house.  


October 27th, 2010 at 11:49 AM ^

I don't see any downside, especially because they are non-conference.  Home and home would be cool.  I think BSU is the real deal.  Extremely well coached, disciplined and really fun to watch.


October 27th, 2010 at 11:56 AM ^

I would be happy to see any big name opponents on our non conference slate, and thats why I am happy we are playing bama in '12. It will be a huge game in Dallas, and get us a lot of exposure.

Boise isn't exactly Alabama, and the reward for beating boise state isn't the same either. But it would be a fun game to watch.


October 27th, 2010 at 12:01 PM ^

If they can be in the national championship picture by clubbing their baby seals, why would we toughen our schedule when we already play ND and a tough Big Ten slate?

I see no upside.


October 27th, 2010 at 12:38 PM ^

I really, really, REALLY hate this argument.

Does Boise St need a PAC-10 or Big-12 invite to get any chance at the title game? Probably.

If Boise is just another little guy pretending to play with the Big Boys, why can't th big boys put them in their place? It's the same thing I hate about this thing people seem to think about State's over-obsession with Michigan as an excuse for losing to them: Fuck that! If you are the premier school, prepare for the damn game and beat the opponent.

So, say BSU makes it to the Natl Champ game and spanks an undefeated Auburn team: it doesn't count, because Boise only had to get it up for 2 or 3 games this year? That's really atrocious, and makes me sad for anyone that thinks like that. If, in this situation, Auburn is really the best team, they have no excuse not to assert that dominance on the supposedly lesser team. Don't give me this "Auburn was burnt out from their SEC schedule" bullshit.

I love the thought of Boise playing any traditional power in the title game. Why? because Petersen's a great coach, and his teams are always well-prepared and show great effort. I want to see what they can do against the powerhouses. What's totally useless is throwing them into the Fiesta Bowl against another non-AQ like last year. Utterly pointless.

I would love a UM-Boise St game in the future. That would be fantastic. Quite frankly, if we played them this year, we would get shredded. And it's not because BSU plays Louisiana Tech and NMSU. It's because they are a great team.


October 27th, 2010 at 2:11 PM ^

You articulated why I put the OP up. Plus 1 to you, sir. The Big Boys need to either put up or shut up. Boise has done a great job every chance they get. My hat is also off to Petersen. He doesn't whine or complain or speculate . . . he just coaches, and wins.

Interestingly, Michigan could still play Boise this year. If we win 3, even 4 more of the remaining games, I wouldn't be shocked at a matchup with them in a bowl.


October 28th, 2010 at 12:22 PM ^

Excellent post. I agree with all of your points except for this one: Don't give me this "Auburn was burnt out from their SEC schedule" bullshit.

The SEC, Big10, Pac10, Big12...heck even the ACC and BigEast generally have players that run faster and hit harder than the WAC. Boise is a talented and well-coached team but a team that doesn't have to go through a physically bruising schedule like a Wisconsin or an Alabama does. In turn, the lesser competition allows BSU to stay healthier through the schedule. BSU does try to schedule the big boys and they do beat them. But, if you only play 2-3 real teams during the year, your chances of staying healthy throughout the season are greater.


October 27th, 2010 at 2:48 PM ^

I am pretty sure if you go back in time and we played them each year for the past 40 years, we would be ahead on the scorecard. You are picking one year when they are up and we are down.

Here is a better question: If all of the FBS teams played BSU's 2010 schedule, how many would be undefeated? My guess is you need more fingers (and toes) to do that calculation. Their schedule is a joke.


October 27th, 2010 at 5:03 PM ^

I don't give a shit who's on their schedule. They TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS. do you see a loss to APP St or JMU on there? Petersen gets that team ready to play. By many accounts, he should and could be heading up a Top BCS team. When they get the opportunity to play BCS teams, they have proven the ability to beat elite competition. What more can you ask of a team?

it simply comes down to:

(1) Someone sign this team up for the PAC 10 or Big 12 so we can end this discussion

(2) I hate the notion that a team has an extra or unfair advantage in a big game because their schedule is soft... that is a moronic argument. If you're the supposed 'better' team, play like it.

(3) Will they get into the Natl Champ game over 2 BCS undefeateds? No way, but I most certainly would put an undefeated Boise St in the game over a 1-loss team. Why? because I'd bet a fair amount that Boise would not let TV viewers down.

(4) Given how crazy this season has been, I can't see Oregon & Mizzou winning out. In fact, I think both teams will have a loss after this weekend. We'll see with Auburn. Provided Boise continues to do what they do best, taking care of business, there's a damn good chance you'll see this team in the championship game. I just pray they draw a highly-respected opponent so we can truly see what they're made of.

5.) @psychomatt - Boise was a 1-AA team a little more than a decade-ago with a tiny program... I bet you're right, we'd have a pretty good record against them. But I would all but guarantee that post - '06, we would not have beaten them. Accurate QB who doesn't throw ints plus several big play wideouts and a competent stable of backs = DOOM. I know people like you just don't want to like teams like Boise because of their supposed inferiority, but take a look where that mindset has gotten you (us) with our 'little brother', poised to not only sneak away with the Big Ten Title, but also the Nat'l Championship. For your agony alone, I would laugh if MSU plays Boise St for the Nat'l Championship. You know why I don't like, and most other big name college fans don't like that idea: Because we failed to beat those teams!


October 28th, 2010 at 4:40 AM ^

(1) I never said BSU was not a good team. In fact, I argued exactly the opposite. I said that the OP's question was unfair because right now BSU's program is "up" (probably the best BSU team ever) and UM's program is "down" (two of the worst years in UM football history).

(2) Your comment "Boise was a 1-AA team a little more than a decade-ago with a tiny program... I bet you're right, we'd have a pretty good record against them," undercuts your argument that BSU should be considered inherently equal to the top teams from the powerhouse BCS conferences. Assuming that 1-AA teams generally are inferior to 1-A teams uses the same logic as assuming that WAC teams generally are inferior to teams from powerhouse BCS conferences. The only difference is degree.

(3) BSU's problem is not that its weak schedule proves that it is not a good team. BSU's problem is that its weak schedule makes it extremely difficult to determine how good the team is relative to the other top teams in the country.

Seven FBS teams currently are undefeated and quite a few one and two loss teams also exist. Arguably all of those also are good teams, some possibly as good or better than BSU. Moreover, because each team has a slightly different schedule than the next, it is wrong (and lazy) to automatically slot any of them into the BCS championship game simply because they end the season undefeated. Being undefeated is impressive, but should not be the sole selection criteria. The stated goal of the BCS is to select the two best teams in the country not the two least defeated teams in the country.

IMO, BSU's relatively weak schedule makes it extremely difficult to compare its resume to the other top teams in the country. BSU generally plays against much lesser competition and has few if any common opponents with the other top teams. Additionally, IMO, any number of other FBS teams also would be undefeated if they played BSU's schedule. The fact that BSU is able to make it through the season unscathed is far less impressive if 10-15 other FBS teams could have done the same thing if they had played BSU's schedule.

You can argue about the selection process (many people do), but the stated purpose of the BCS is to match up the two best teams in the country in a final championship game. If BSU remains undefeated at the end of the season, that certainly should be considered when deciding whether BSU is one of the two best teams in the country. But so should strength of schedule (i.e., who BSU played and defeated relative to who the other top teams played and defeated). If BSU wants to be considered on an equal footing with the top teams from the powerhouse BCS conferences, the recipe is simple -- BSU should have a comparable number of quality opponents on its schedule. At a minimum, it needs a sufficient number of quality opponents for a reasonable person to be able to make a fair comparison and conclude that it is one of the top two teams in the country. A failure to play a sufficient number of quality opponents will and should put BSU (or any other team) at a significant disadvantage.


October 27th, 2010 at 2:47 PM ^

why wouldnt you want this game? Its not like UofM is in the hunt for national championships. I would much rather see Boise at the Big House than Umass or a MAC team.

If you are a fan of exciting football this is a no brainer. YES