Top 25: Defending the Potatoheads

I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more. My new favorite team -- the Boise State Broncos -- continue to be the victim of a nationwide conspiracy to underplay their accomplishments. It's right there in black and white in this week's media poll, under the headline in our print edition that reads "Gap between top 2, Boise St. widens."

Why am I mad? It's not because I necessarily think that Boise State would beat Alabama or Ohio State on a neutral field -- or a neutral-colored field for that matter. It's because there is such a glaring double standard when it comes to evaluating the teams that aren't traditional BCS powerhouses.

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Boise State traveled to the East Coast to play Virginia Tech in Week One, but got relatively little love from the media and coaches voting in the two college football polls, I guess because Alabama scored such an impressive win over San Jose State and Ohio State had its way with Marshall.

So what happens this week? Boise has a bye and the top two teams play well against representative opponents and the Broncos lose seven of their eight first-place votes. They'll probably drop out of the Top 10 entirely when Alabama gets done with Duke and Ohio State emerges the victor in that scintillating in-state rivalry game against Ohio this week.

While the Buckeyes open with three creampuffs at home during the first four weeks of the season, Boise opened with a very legit victory over a Virginia Tech team that was ranked 10th in the nation going into the game at Fedex Field. That victory has been devalued by voters, however, because VTech suffered a stunning upset this past weekend against James Madison, which was supposed to be one of the Hokies' creampuff opponents.

Here's my gripe. If the voters want to act like Virginia Tech, in retrospect, wasn't really the 10th-best team in the nation, well, who's fault was that? Who put the Hokies in that position? The fact is that Boise State accepted a coast-to-coast road game against a traditional East Coast powerhouse team and pulled out a hard-fought victory. If you want to know how hard it is to do that, ask a very highly-rated Cal team how it felt to get upset by Maryland a couple of years ago at Byrd Stadium.

The rap on Boise St. is always the same. Soft conference. Nobody on the schedule. Never mind that no big-conference school in its right mind would sign a home-and-home contract to play every other year on the field of blue.

The voters look at the schedule and see that Boise's second game is against Wyoming and the best team remaining on the schedule is Fresno State, which took Cincinnati for an ugly ride a couple of weeks ago. Fair enough, but I don't think the first nine games of the Ohio State schedule is anything to write home about, either.

This doesn't mean a thing, but here's a trivia question for you: Which team is scheduled to play the most Top 10 teams during the upcoming regular season -- Alabama, Ohio State or Wyoming?

Like I said, this doesn't mean anything in the greater scheme of things, but it's still an interesting bit of information. Wyoming scheduled three Top 10 teams this year, which is more than both Alabama and Ohio State combined (2). They both have one on their schedule, just like Boise State.

I really don't know whether Boise State can compete with the Crimson Tide or the Buckeyes, but if the Broncos run the table and end up watching the BCS title game from home while a one-loss team plays for all the marbles, it will be more proof that the fix was in right from the start.

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