Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thursday: Boise & weekly lines

I did turn off "Glee" last night in time to see Boise's 28-21 survival at Tulsa, notable because it's one of the rare times the Broncos have actually been challenged during this torrid run they've been on the last few years.
Naturally, much of the conversation since the season began and the Broncos whipped Oregon (now famous because of LeGarrette Blount) has been whether an undefeated BSU team would be worthy of a national championship shot. And I'm going to have to agree with Tony Barnhart here and say an unequivocal "no."
Look, we can argue this one to death — the system's stacked against Boise; big non-conference foes won't play them during the regular season; they can't help that their conference stinks — but the fact is this: right now, Boise isn't one of the best two teams in the country. And since the BCS system is set up to pair the best two teams at the end of the season (and screw everybody else), that pretty much makes any discussion moot.
Moreover, have you looked at the remainder of Boise's schedule? The toughest game on it is a trip to Ruston to take on Louisiana Tech in three weeks. Again, maybe it's not their fault, but ... well, when La. Tech is your toughest remaining game, you're not going to earn a ton of respect nationally.
The interesting (OK, terrible) thing about the college football system is that it can take many years to earn national respect (and, eventually a shot at a national title). Most people forget this now, but during the 1970s, Penn State (an independent) finished undefeated multiple times and received nothing in return, until Bear Bryant did Joe Paterno a favor by lobbying for a Sugar Bowl bid for the Nittanies in 1974 (and even then, PSU didn't get a real shot at the crown until the '79 season and didn't win one until '81). Miami suffered a similar fate: few people gave the Hurricanes any respect nationally until 1983, when they beat Nebraska in the Orange Bowl (and even getting that OB bid was a huge step).
Boise State, unfortunately, is stuck in that type of mold. Their best shot at a title-game invite may be 2010: the non-conference schedule includes Toledo (better than you think), Oregon State and Virginia Tech. If they could (and this is far-fetched) sweep that slate and be impressive enough in the conference ... then, maybe. Maybe.

Anyway, here are this week's lines, as always, courtesy of

Cincinnati (-2.5) at South Florida
Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Rutgers
Louisville (+12.5) at Connecticut
Northwestern (+13.5) at Michigan St.
Wake Forest (+6) at Clemson
Oklahoma (+2.5) vs. Texas (Dallas)
Iowa (-1.5) at Wisconsin
Ohio St. (-13) at Purdue
Georgia (-7.5) at Vanderbilt
Mississippi St. (-3.5) at Middle Tennessee St.
UAB (+22.5) at Ole Miss
California (-4) at UCLA
Arkansas (+24) at Florida
(Note: Too high or too low? I can't decide.)
North Carolina St. (+2.5) at Boston College
Texas Tech (+6) at Nebraska
Minnesota (+16) at Penn St.
Marshall (+20) at West Virginia
USC (-11) at Notre Dame
Virginia (-4) at Maryland
Stanford (+6) at Arizona
Va. Tech (-3) at Ga. Tech
(Note: One of the most intriguing games of the day, potentially.)
Kansas (-9) at Colorado
Texas A&M (-4.5) at Kansas St.
Illinois (-3) at Indiana
Kentucky (+13) at Auburn
South Carolina (+17.5) at Alabama
Missouri (+7) at Oklahoma St.

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