Is Boise State Deserving of Being Number One?

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The halfway point of the college football season means one thing: the first BCS poll will be released early next week. That Bowl Championship Series poll is what is used at the end of the regular season to determine which two teams play for the mythical college national championship game. It is mythical because without a playoff system in place, the teams who don’t get to play for the national title always feel left out.

When the first poll is announced the Boise State Broncos are likely to snag the top spot. That is because the Alabama Crimson Tide lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks last week, knocking them out of the top spot in the other polls. Both Boise State and the Oregon Ducks are expected to move up in the computer generated poll.

Ohio State

The Ohio State Buckeyes, the consensus top pick in the three human polls — Associated Press, United Press International and Harris — could finish several notches down. Indeed, in a mock BCS poll conducted by ESPN, the Buckeyes would finish fifth as TCU and Oklahoma would occupy the third and fourth spots respectively behind Boise State and Oregon.

The projected rankings are based largely on the schedules each of the teams has played so far this season. Obviously that will change — Boise State’s schedule for the remainder of the season is weaker than Ohio State. Should both teams finish undefeated, the Buckeyes could very well be placed ahead of the Broncos given that they would have to beat some very good Big Ten teams along the way including Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan. With early season games against Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan, Ohio State’s schedule thus far hasn’t been especially challenging.

Boise State

Having Boise State number one so early in the season is likely to fuel calls for a college football playoff system. Both Boise State and the TCU Horned Frogs are highly ranked and the only top-ranked teams not belonging to Bowl Championship Series (BCS) automatic-qualifying conferences. As at-large bids they can qualify to play in the BCS, but the criticism being levied at these two schools is that neither one has a schedule worthy of what SEC, Big Ten or even Pac 10 teams face each week.

Bottom line is that the way college football is set up today — bowl games instead of a playoff — will keep people wondering who is the best team in the nation. Likely, some sort of eight or 16 team system will eventually be put into place, allowing the best teams in the nation to work it all out on the field.

For some fans and college programs that day cannot come soon enough.

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