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

cfpHeath

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.

Attack The Opponent: Wyoming Cowboys

The Cowboys are 4-6 under first year head coach Craig Bohl, somehow beating Air Force and Fresno in conference. They nearly took out Colorado State, hailed by many as the best team in the MWC right now. They haven’t really truly been blown out by anybody in the Mountain West. All that combined with the fact that their place might be the second hardest place to play in conference other than Boise State makes the game coming up this Saturday require inordinate focus.

Playing at Wyoming seems like it would be the exact opposite experience of a Bronco home game. Whereas Albertsons Stadium is a riot of bright blue and orange and noise, War Memorial Stadium is a drab and fairly sparse collection of folks in brown and yellow. The wind howls and the snow blows and momentum can get sucked away like a dementor feeding on joy.

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Harsin and Ginny Weasley share a patronus. #hashtagHPGeek

Then again, the Broncos are on a roll. The Cowboys will be tough, because that’s kind of the Cowboy deal all-around. Those guys don’t just lay down, roll over, and die. Nobody is going to do that anymore, and it’s making football a much more exciting thing in the Mountain West. If only the Wyoming fan base was as hardy. Boise State is coming off some very interesting second half comeback wins. Would imagine we will see the J-Train rolling hot into Laramie on Saturday night, and the team that doesn’t kill themselves with turnovers and penalties will win.

Boise State is going to have to defend just as well as ever. Ben Weaver said during the radio show on Monday night, “Lots of incentive to go 3 and out, you could get back to the heaters.” Well, lucky you, Mr. Weaver! Hold Wyoming and their big, tough RB to 3 and outs and you can totally hang out by the heaters again this weekend!

Just maybe stick with the gas heaters instead of what happened in the first half vs. SDSU.

There is a lot of speculation floating around about how the end of the season is going to look. The Broncos must stay focused on the task at hand – winning this game, this week. The ‘Boys aren’t going to be an easy team to beat. As satisfying as it would be to see Boise State put a ton of points on Wyoming (mostly to add to the fan misery complex), The Broncos haven’t been consistent enough on the road to make that prediction. They do, however, seem to really care about each other and have bought into their own message. That ol’ Bronco Magic was never magic, and we all knew it. The miracles, the amazing victories, the battles with Goliaths, was all driven by this enviable philosophy that Hars and his intense band of coaches has so successfully translated to millennial speak.

I don’t think Craig Bohl has that at Wyoming yet. Thats why Cowboys fans are despondent on the message boards, and while tickets sell, they’re getting Vandal numbers through the doors. The fans will show up in slightly bigger numbers for this game because Boise State coming to town with ESPN and dat cash in tow is kind of a big deal. They took down the guys that took down Boise…maybe it’s possible for the Cowboys to out tough the Broncos on a cold and windy night over seven thousand feet.

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We did see Tony Hawk fall off a real-deal hoverboard this week. Anything is possible.

It’s also just as likely that Boise State puts together a true 4 quarter game and shuts up everybody who whines about being a second half team now. Or about how late the games are. Or about how cold it is outside. Broncos care about one thing: playing the best football game that can be played. Bronco Nation better hurry up and get with the program en masse or the team will leave them behind, just like they are conference opponents these days. The Broncos don’t have time for it. They’ve got a championship to bring home.

BTN Playoff Rankings & Access Bowl Rankings

cfp

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.

Attack The Opponent: New Mexico Lobos

New Mexico isn’t very good at football. They haven’t won even a portion of a conference championship in 17 years, since they won the WAC Pacific League title in 1997. Know what else was going on then?

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Houston Nutt was Boise’s coach. What the hell, 1997?

The Lobos have never defeated Boise State. The closest they have come was in 2012 when they scared the hell out of most of the city of Boise by coming within 4 points of a strong Bronco team. Not to say that they don’t have a long football history. The Lobos have been playing since 1892! Sure, they have 61 more wins all time than the Broncos, but they also have had 41 more seasons to try.

Ancient history though, all of it. The only thing that really matters is this week. Boise State has taken control of their MWC destiny, and will likely end up meeting Nevada for the championship game on The Blue if they can keep winning and not get tripped up in the homestretch. TBH, New Mexico likely isn’t going to be that team. Currently they are 3-5, with wins over Texas El Paso, Texas San Antonio, and UNLV. They played close with Air Force, but ended up losing by 4. (Air Force is an enigma. They beat Boise, win the Commander in Chief’s trophy, lose to Wyoming and Utah State. Just…what?)

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Coach Bob and his bitchin’ glasses don’t really understand what happened with AFA this season either.

The Lobos are an option team, and one that is capable of putting up bunches of yardage…on the ground. New Mexico is not a threat through the air. In their best performance of the year, they only put up 130 passing yards. This team is not balanced, and apparently isn’t even trying to be, judging from that five whole yards they somehow managed to gain against UNLV through the air last Saturday. However, on the ground is a different story. No, the Lobos aren’t consistent, but they have run for as much as 430 yards in a single outing. Granted, that wasn’t against a team with any sort of defense. Check out the trend graph below.

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Basically, all that is telling us is that the Lobos aren’t consistent on offense and aren’t that good, either. They’re the same Lobos they’ve always been on the football field, unpredictable and underachieving.

One positive for the Lobos is that their defense is getting better each week. Sure, they still have a terrible defense that allows 400+ yards per game, 450+ if the opponent has any sort of offensive prowess, but they are improving ever so slightly. That trend should be blown out this weekend with the Broncos coming to town, but as we learned in the Great Scare of 2012, anything is possible.

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Pretty sure this is where we’re at: New Mexico is not a good football team. They may not get bowl eligible, but it would make their season to derail Boise like AFA did. So, the Broncos must be prepared and ready to go. That includes continuing to play good defense on the ground, get picks if they are available (against a team that is okay with throwing hardly any passes, though, there may not be a ton of opportunities), and tackling well. Boise’s Offense is going to have 700 yards if they play like they did against BYU. The Broncos will be able to get just about all the plays they want through the air (as long as Turnover Grant stays home), and once the field opens up there will be Broncos popping off big runs like whoa. The key is in the prep work though. No team left on this schedule can be overlooked, including New Mexico. It’s time for Boise State to have a good November, and stomping on the Lobos is a decent start. Go Broncos!