Dear Marshall – A Letter From Boise State Fans

Letter

Dear Marshall,

Hey how are you guys doing? I see you guys have an undefeated record! Congratulations on that! We have had a few those, it is pretty awesome to get tons of attention and see your team on ESPN and college football talk shows huh? I also see you guys might have some “big” schools looking to steal your coach… Trust me, we get that as well… Anyways, I was just writing to you guys about the possible “Access Bowl” our fan bases are fighting over right now. See, I know you guys have had a great season and trust me, we really do respect an undefeated record. We have been telling other fans for years that if it was so easy then why don’t all schools do it? But here is the thing Marshall, this season we have two losses… And yes, I know you guys have beat everybody on your schedule, and once again be very proud of that! It is just well, see, we think we deserve the Access Bowl more than you guys… Yes, I know all of a sudden we sound like everything we hate/have hated for years during the BCS. But please, understand it is not our fault, and it is definitely not you guys, I mean seriously you guys are awesome. The movie “We Are Marshall” who doesn’t love that movie? And it even had Matthew Mcconaughey in it so that tells you everything right? But again, I digress, and need to return to the point. See we honestly don’t mean to sound like everything we have always hated, the Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, USC fans who always said our strength of schedule sucks and we don’t deserve to be in (insert big game here). But this is what the system has done to us, this is what it has created. We are all sharks in the water fighting for a that dead carcass the “Power 5″ have left for us, the carcass that is the chance to play in a meaningless “Big Bowl” that ultimately means nothing on the national stage. So once again, we are sorry, know that it is not you, it is just the situation we all find ourselves in. Maybe someday we can be friends again, maybe someday we can all realize that we shouldn’t hate each other, or be fighting with each other. Instead, we should be focused on the bigger issue here and that is the system we are forced to live in. Until that time though, know that we are rooting for you to lose, and for us to win. It is nothing personal, it is just business.

Best Regards,

Boise State Fans

BTN Playoff Rankings & Access Bowl Rankings

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Playoff Rankings

1.) Florida State

2.) Alabama

3.) TCU

4.) Oregon

On the outside looking in – Baylor, Ohio State.

Breakdown: For me this week not a lot changed. Mississippi State is out, Alabama (puke) is in. I refuse to give two spots to the SEC and and my personal rankings will continue to show that. Some people might have TCU out because of a lackluster performance. However I still think they are the team that should come out of the Big-12 overall. Yes, they lost to Baylor but overall they have done some really great things this season. I could easily put Baylor in their spot but right now I am holding onto TCU. As for Florida State, I was really happy thinking they were going to lose to Miami. But, because they won, I begrudgingly keep them as the #1 team, somebody has to beat them for them to disappear. Lastly, I have Oregon, and I have to say it sure does seem like a lot of teams I really dislike are in the top 4 and it sucks. But the Pac-12 deserves a team in the tournament and right now Oregon is the team in line.


Access Bowl Rankings

1.) Marshall

2.) Boise State

3.) Colorado State

4.) Air Force

5.) Cincinnati

I know, I heard it from Boise State fans last week, and I will hear it again. But I just don’t see Boise State’s 2 losses outdoing Marshall’s undefeated record right now in the committees mind. Trust me, I hope I am wrong, and I would love to say I am wrong if indeed that is the case. But I just don’t see it right now, and frankly Boise State still has a long way to go before they change my mind. I am as die-hard as anybody but in this situation after all the years of BCS letdowns, I just don’t see us as the team right now. A Mountain West Championship could change my mind. Marshall right now though has the edge though and I sit here just waiting for a loss. The “big” difference in my rankings this week is ECU is out of contention and Air Force with Cincinnati moves in. To be honest, I don’t really feel like anybody after my top 3 deserve a shot. But considering chaos is still a possibility here those are my next two teams right now.


 Noel

Playoff Rankings

1.) Florida State

2.) Oregon

3.) Alabama

4.) TCU

On the outside looking in – Mississippi State, Ohio State.

Breakdown: With Mississippi State and Arizona State losing, it clears out the picture just a little. Well, to me at least. I had thought that the Bulldogs and Sun Devils were going to take care of business but no dice.  Alabama showed that they can get the big wins most of the time.  I didn’t move Florida State because of what I said last week.  They’re undefeated for the better part of 2 years.  Just because they play like a bottom-feeder doesn’t mean they should penalized like they lost.  I moved Oregon up to #2 and Alabama at #3 because that would be a fun semifinal to watch.  TCU won ugly, but they won so they get to stay put. The Bulldogs and the Buckeyes are on the outside looking in. It may well stay that way because the top 4 are pretty strong.


 

Access Bowl Rankings

1.) Marshall

2.) Boise State

3.) Georgia Southern

4.) Colorado State

5.) Air Force

 

Breakdown: Just like Heath, I’m going to give the nod to Marshall. They’re currently ahead of Boise State in the AP Poll (I know that means little) but since no one from a non-power conference is ranked in the College Football Playoff, that’s all I have to go from.  The only way the Broncos slide up in there is if the Thundering Herd falls.  I keep putting Georgia Southern in there because they are a triple option team that’s undefeated. No matter how much you prepare, triple option teams are tough.  I put Colorado State and Air Force in because, quite frankly, there aren’t a bunch of options.  But those teams need a Pandora’s Box of other teams’ failures to even be considered.


Tami

Playoff Rankings

1.) Florida State

2.) Oregon

3.) Alabama

4.) TCU

Breakdown: Man, that Mississippi State/Bama game was a doozy, wasn’t it? It exposed the Bulldogs for what they are though – not the best team in the SEC. So, up moves Bama to number 3. I think Oregon has that #2 on lock. Florida State is still doing Florida State things, so on top they remain. TCU is a solid 4 for now, but if Mississippi State wins out, they are in jeopardy of being jumped. Texas just won’t bring enough SOS to bail the Horned Frogs out if it’s a close game.


Access Bowl Rankings

1.) Marshall

2.) Boise State

3.) Colorado State

4.) Northern Illinois

5.) Air Force

Breakdown: Logic brain says that the committee seems to be holding SOS in less esteem than the BCS used to. That being undefeated with that weak of a schedule is going to keep Marshall out of the access bowl because their behavior is consistent with that decision, even if they aren’t ranking any G5 team as of yet. The angel on the shoulder is screaming about hypocrisy and that Marshall was only capable of playing the schedule in front of them and “should be” rewarded for going undefeated because that’s “fair.” Just because the angel’s view is what allows me to sleep at night doesn’t mean she’s correct. So, hey, the cold auditor in my brain is telling me to prepare for Boise State to end up ranked and headed to Glendale to meet our fates with whatever poor schmoe gets assigned this Broncos squad. Still putting them at #2 for now. Colorado State, owners of the best record in the MWC lost the head to head to Boise, so #3 you go. Northern Illinois is likely going to win the MAC this season, too bad the MAC is kinda terrible right now. Air Force brings up the fifth spot, but has virtually no chance of making an access bowl without the intervention of the chaos monster.

BTN Playoff Rankings & Access Bowl Rankings

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Heath’s Rankings

Playoff Rankings

1.) Florida State

2.) Mississippi State

3.) TCU

4.) Oregon

On the outside looking in – Alabama & Baylor

Breakdown: If you are an SEC fan reading this for some reason you are probably livid. The thing is though, I am the guy who never buys the SEC hype. Yes, the conference has reason to be confident and believe it is the “best”. But when it comes to the playoffs I don’t think that means you get 2-3 teams in just because. Look at other sports, the NFC West in the NFL is easily the best conference in the NFL, that doesn’t mean they get 3 teams this year into the tournament. I look at the CFB playoff the exact same way. As far as my rankings go, I put Florida State at number one because to be the best, you have to beat the best. Do I like Florida State? No, I hate them, but everything considered I have to respect the product on the field. Mississippi State comes in at #2 because right now no team looks better to me, yet I still feel they are setup for a major letdown soon. TCU right now is the hot team in the country and though I really loathe the Horned Frogs, they deserve to be in. Gary Patterson transforming a team that was once all about defense into an offensive power has been really impressive to me. Then lastly we have Oregon, I have them here because I firmly believe they will win the rest of their games and the Pac-12 deserves to be represented. The conference has gotten much better as a whole over time and if Oregon wins out they should get a shot at the National Championship.


Access Bowl Rankings

1.) Marshall

2.) Boise State

3.) Colorado State

4.) ECU

5.) Nevada

Breakdown: Kills me to have Marshall at #1 right now and I know BSU fans are going to blast me because “look at the schedule”. Trust me, I get it, Marshall has beat nobody that makes you believe they are a great team. Even with that though I have to give the players on that team credit. You beat who you have on the schedule and let the rest sort itself out. Boise State at one time hated hearing about SOS and I assume their fans do as well. Weird turn of events for Boise State fans right? And yes, Boise State usually had at least 1 marquee game on their schedule and Marshall has nothing even close to that. I personally however give zero losses more respect than two losses even if it is against two good teams in Ole Miss and Air Force. After Boise State and Marshall I have Colorado State, and I am sure for CSU fans they are hating the position they are in. That conference champion rule right now is quite the pain in the you know what for them. But until BSU loses they can’t jump us on my list or any list for that matter. After that I have ECU and Nevada and neither to me are real contenders at this point. If some craziness happens and CSU, Marshall, and Boise State all meltdown then I will give them a harder look.


Noel’s Rankings

Playoff Rankings

1)Florida State

2)Mississippi State

3)Oregon

4)TCU

On the outside looking in: Alabama and Arizona State

Breakdown:  As much as I’m not a fan of Jameis Winston and his antics off the field, he seems to be the leader and has helped keep the Seminoles loss-free for the better part of 2 seasons.  Mississippi State is a close second because of FSU not losing.  Oregon and TCU can be either 3 or 4 bout I like the semifinal matchup of the Ducks and Bulldogs because of the dynamic that both their quarterbacks bring.  As far as Alabama and Arizona State, that will sort itself out with the Tide and MSU playing this weekend (Tide won’t Roll) and the Sun Devils getting Arizona in their rivalry game and Oregon in the PAC 12 Championship.  Anything can happen.  I hope that anything does.


Access Bowl Rankings

1)Marshall

2)Boise State

3)Georgia Southern

4)East Carolina

5)Colorado State

Breakdown:  Marshall? Yes, Marshall.  And it makes my wife happy because of Matthew McCanaughey.  They’re undefeated.  Have the really beaten anyone?  No but my #2 pick, your Boise State Broncos, lost to Air Force and a now twice-defeated Ole Miss.  The Broncos do have a clear path to the MWC Championship game if they can win out. I added Georgia Southern because they’re undefeated in the Sun Belt, which is AWFUL, and the triple option is horribly tough to defend, amirite? East Carolina could be a complete team but has fun “trip up” games that seem oddly familiar.  Colorado State – yeah no chance if they don’t get some luck.


Tami’s Rankings

Playoff Rankings

1.) Florida State

2.) Mississippi State

3.) Oregon

4.) TCU

On the outside looking in – Baylor, Bama

Breakdown: FSU needs to lose and lose hard. Ideally, they’ll trip against Miami because I would like to see the most heartbreak possible on Jameis’ smug face. Just don’t think it will happen with their remaining schedule. Thus, top spot. Mississippi (CLANGA) State is the best team in the SEC, despite the world’s Bama obsession. I also don’t think 2 teams from the SEC deserve to be in, for the reasons Nate outlined above. That leaves the last two. Oregon is interchangeable with Arizona State at this point – whoever walks out of the Pac championship game with a win goes to the playoff. I just don’t think the Sun Devils will survive the Ducks onslaught. TCU is a dangerous team right now, and could be the scariest team in the playoff picture. They may not win the whole thing, but they will probably take out their first round opponent and cause much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the process.


Access Bowl Rankings

1.) Marshall

2.) Colorado State

3.) Boise State

4.) Eastern Carolina

5.) Louisiana Tech

Breakdown: Marshall is undefeated. Until such time they lose, they are in the drivers seat. Yes, they have awful SOS, but they’re a pretty good football team who stands a chance of winning all their games. Winning them all is hard, no matter the conference, and I really just want the precedence set that undefeated means playing on New Years. I have CSU at number two because technically they are ahead of Boise State right now. I also don’t think that will last. Next is ECU because Pirates and a good record. Last is a wild La Tech appearing! Sure, they lost to an FCS school, but they also had a nice OOC schedule otherwise in Oklahoma and Auburn. Those are the only three losses on their schedule and theoretically, they could beat the Thundering Herd in the CUSA champ game. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. Or maybe do hope, because in my heart I want Boise State to play in an access bowl and Marshall must lose for that to happen.

5 Keys – 1 Prediction

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1.) Keep Finding New Targets: No Matt Miller, no problem right? If Boise State can keep up the Nevada trend of getting everybody involved that might be the case. Matt Miller is an exceptional talent, that will be deeply missed. But if Boise State can spread the ball around then this could become addition by subtraction. Hedrick seemed to lock on to Matt early and often and the offense seemed to be built around 3 guys. Now with Miller gone it looks to be forcing BSU to become more diverse and in someways more dangerous. If BSU keeps up the new, more diverse offense, Boise State could give the Fresno defense fits all night long on “The Blue”.

2.) Jay Ajayi Keeps up Home Success: Jay Ajayi is a beast, but he is an absolute freak at home this season. So far in 2 games he has 369 yards and is averaging over 6 yards per carry. If Jay keeps this up, nobody will beat Boise State at home. If Jay even comes close to this kind of production against Fresno State, they should win the game. Fresno’s defense has struggled this season, and they haven given up a tons of yards per carry this season against solid opponents. Mix this with Jay Ajayi at home and Fresno State could be in for another embarrassing trip to Boise.
3:) Defend the Bubble-Screen: If you hated Robert Prince and the bubble-screen passes then you will really enjoy rooting against Fresno State. Just like last season Fresno is going to try and get the ball on the edge and win in space. One of the ways they do this is getting their best player Josh Harper the ball on bubble-screens and letting him work. For Boise State to win this game they will need to continue their success defending and often times blowing this play up. Cleshawn Page against Ole Miss and before he got injured showed he can be a monster on this particular play. If he can show that again against Fresno it could lead to some big hits and turnovers. More importantly if Boise State as a whole can defend this play, they will win the game.

4.) Remember Last Season: No sport is more emotional in my opinion than football. Boise State does not like Fresno, Fresno does not like Boise State. Add to that mix a little revenge and then sprinkle in some blue turf and Boise State has a recipe for a beat down. Many of the guys on this team now know what it felt like last season to lose to Fresno on national TV. They need to use this emotion and payback factor to teach Fresno who owns this rivalry.

5.) No Big Plays: When you look Fresno the biggest stat that stands out to me is their lack of big-plays. Specifically when you look at their first 3 beat downs they were averaging around 4.5 yards per PASS.  Once again, Jay Ajayi at home this year is averaging more per carry than Fresno was in some of their games in the passing game. With this, Boise State can’t allow Fresno to get any confidence with any big plays down the field. If they can keep Fresno in front of them all game long, I fully expect Fresno to struggle to score points.

1 Prediction: My prediction for this game is that a new star will rise for Boise State. Who that is, I am not sure. Right now though,  I would put my money on McNichols if he gets the chances. Few players have looked as good as McNichols did in his first game against Nevada. If he gets touches against Fresno I expect that trend to continue. If it is not him however, somebody else will step up big not named Rhodes or Ajayi.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

5 Stages of Grief – The Process After Air Force

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Denial

A lot of fans might find themselves still in this stage, after all maybe today is Saturday? Maybe, the NCAA reviewed it and found something wrong and they need to replay the game? I mean, we couldn’t actually lose to a team like Air Force right? This is Boise State, this is the marquee “non-power 5″ team in the country. Nope, no way Boise State lost that game, I will just avoid the news and move on to next Saturday as if we won.

Unfortunately the reality of the situation is we lost, we lost badly. However, no matter how much I tell you this, it will be up to you the fan, to take the next step.


nuhno

Anger

I saw a lot of this step last night, I personally hit it around the end of the 1st quarter. “No f’n way, Hedrick is going to do this again!”. “How hard is it to hang on to the BALL!”. “Hey Harsin, your boy is embarrassing you!”. And much like the .gif above, “No, NO, NO!!!”. That one probably took place after the 2nd or 3rd turnover, at this point it is hard to recall. However I do know Hedrick was the target of most my anger and if we enter the game against Reno with the same QB…. Well, I just can’t really think about that without throwing something right now.


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Bargaining

If we just would have put in Finley sooner… Or maybe if we didn’t have so many injuries, then of course we win. None of this would have happened if we just would have (insert a bargaining chip here). Remember, it is only natural to think there is something Boise State could have done to prevent this. However, sometimes the world just doesn’t align the way we planned.


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Depression

“Will Boise State ever be great again?” “Now I know what if feels like to be a Vandal all the time.” These are pretty normal reactions & feelings to such a devastating defeat. Just remember, there is always another game, another season, and the future to look forward to. Until then however, we all understand if you need to spend some time with your best friend Jack Daniels for awhile.


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Acceptance

This is the step I am in at this point, I have come to accept it. After all, we or at least I expected some challenges this season. Was that challenge a lose to Air Force, no, not even close to that. But with a new staff come new challenges, new systems, and a new future. Boise State has a long climb back to the top but that doesn’t mean we can’t save this season. Making it to the Mountain West Championship certainly just got a lot harder. But the Mountain Division is not exactly full of deep, talented teams. If Boise State can find  a way to regroup vs Reno, anything is possible. The “access bowl” is gone, and playoffs were never really an option to begin with. So Bronco fans hopefully can rally with this team and find optimism in the little things. The future is still there to be attacked, let’s get together and support a team who obviously could use it.

Go Broncos, and remember….

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