Win over Tulsa hurts Boise's national title hopes

BY foxsports • October 17, 2009

CFN's experts give their thoughts on No. 5 Boise State's 28-21 win over Tulsa on Wednesday night.

Got to step it up

A smart man once said (actually, I'm assuming someone smarter than me must have said this at some point in a more meaningful situation) that you don't get what you want if you don't ask for it. I totally understand why and how Boise State head coach Chris Petersen is saying that he's not worrying about any quest for perfection, and he's not thinking about or preaching the idea of shooting for the national title. The opposite approach is Fresno State, who under head coach Pat Hill had a shot for the stars only to go into the tank after missing a few steps along the way. But at some point, Boise State needs to play with its hair on fire, at least a little bit. And it needs to sell the college football world on why it belongs in the national championship discussion, because the game at Tulsa sure didn't do it.

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I would love nothing more than to see Boise State get its shot at Apollo Creed for the heavyweight championship of the world. There are pieces to play with in the discussion, like the astounding decade of success, the performances against some big name teams, the ruthless efficiency, the upgrade in talent and the great coaching. If Ohio State can win ugly and be in the national title discussion, and if Virginia Tech can slog past Duke, then why can't Boise State just win, baby? It's because it's too tough a sell.

Oklahoma obliterated Tulsa 45-0 with Landry Jones throwing for six touchdowns. Does that mean Boise State can't play with Oklahoma? No, but it means that when we're supposed to compare apples to oranges, especially on the heels of a sluggish win over UC Davis, that it's hard to give a team with this bad a schedule a whole bunch of credit. But we'll be happy to give Boise State the BCS bid. Fine, go to Glendale or Miami and knock yourself out, but if Boise State wants to really enter the true big time and be a program that's worthy of being in the top five, and not just because it's unbeaten, then it has to start making its case.

Sell the fact that the defensive line dominated when it had to. Sell the fact that you were going for the win, and not trying to add any extra style points for the stupid by kicking a field goal instead of going for the touchdown late in the third quarter. Sell the fact that Oklahoma gave up 269 yards of Tulsa total offense and you gave up 295, with 53 coming on one play for an early score. Sell us that this is all just a learning experience for your team as it tries to build toward something big in January. I'll buy that. I'll buy that your goal is to play for the national championship, or at worst a BCS game, and every game before that goal is just the preseason. Sell us on something, because if you don't, then we'll all have nothing else to go on but a seven-point win over freakin' Tulsa, and then we'll be more than happy to cast you aside to watch Ohio State, like the BCS did last year when it came to the filling its Fiesta Bowl slot.

Pete Fiutak

Not title worthy

Vegas thought Boise State would win by eight. The Broncos won by seven. Just because the nation's No. 5 team didn't blow out Tulsa is not cause for alarm.

Nothing changed Wednesday night at Skelly Field. Boise State still has the inside track on a BCS bowl bid. In fact, even more so now that one of the biggest remaining hurdles has fallen. It's still going to win another WAC championship. And it still hasn't proven it belongs in any serious talks regarding a spot in the national championship game; not with a schedule that features one ranked team ... before Labor Day.

Boise State is an outstanding program that, with the right circumstances, can defeat just about any team in the country. Any team. However, if 40-point wins are your only measure of success for teams from smaller conferences, you're going to be disappointed by the Broncos. Remember that this is the same school that beat UC Davis only 34-16 when it was last on the field. As long as Boise State keeps winning, there's no reason to pull out the microscope. The Broncos are doing just fine at the halfway point of the season.

Richard Cirminiello

Be consistent

1) We can forget the national title debate with Boise State. If you're going to play in the ultimate college football game of the season as a non-big conference team, you need to beat multiple heavyweights and whack the bejesus out of the cupcakes on your schedule. Boise hasn't done that. Even the mighty 19-8 win over a really good Oregon team was a very ugly display of football.

Here's what's hard to accept about Boise State: I trust the Broncos to play their best when a big occasion arrives. Chris Petersen brings his A-game, and his players avoid the sloppy mistakes seen Wednesday in Tulsa, when Boise State plays the Oklahomas and TCUs of the world. Boise State will make a great BCS bowl representative, but the sad fact in college football is that if you're a little guy and not part of the old-money crowd, you need to be at your best each and every week to earn a maximum of respect in the sport.

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