By Chadd Cripe
© 2010 Idaho Statesman
An old story made waves on Twitter on Friday morning — a Bowl Championship Series-conference school claiming it won’t play Boise State because the Broncos insist on getting paid a high price for those games.
This time, the reports are based on stories out of Nebraska that the Cornhuskers were willing to play the Broncos but not for the $1 million Boise State wanted. Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier told me last year he was looking for a minimum of $900,000.
Boise State did get $1.25 million to play Virginia Tech this year and will get $900,000 for playing at Mississippi next year.
Those payments are part of the business of college football. BCS-conference teams buy opponents for home games. Other recent examples include Alabama paying San Jose State $1 million, Ohio State paying Colorado $1.4 million and Nebraska paying Idaho $800,000.
Boise State — and all WAC teams — count on that money to help offset the huge funding gap that exists between BCS-conference schools and non-BCS schools. The Broncos, in particular, are chasing big-money games to pay the rising costs of funding a Top 25 program while playing in a 33,500-seat stadium.
The problem for the BCS teams is that these games have long been known as “bodybag” games. Boise State, however, doesn’t give those teams what they want most — a guaranteed win.
Here are some comments on the topic from Twitter:
Brian Murphy, our columnist: “I have no problem with Broncos' $1 million asking price for true road game. Gotta pay the bills in addition to scheduling games.”
Stewart Mandel, SI.com: “Boise in tough spot. It wants better games, but its still got an athletic dept to fund, and relies on those checks if giving up home game. … I don't blame Boise for asking $1M from Nebraska, nor NU for saying no. NU can sked someone weaker, cheaper and still fill stadium.
Gregg Doyel, CBSSports.com columnist: “Dare you to root for Boise State after you read about the Broncos' greed. $1 million? Really?”
This quote from Alabama coach Nick Saban is being circulated as a slam against Boise State, but his point is fair — that Boise State doesn’t face the same level of opponents every week as the Crimson Tide but that doesn’t mean the Broncos wouldn’t survive that situation.
“It's the full body of work," he said on the radio recently. "It's not just that you can beat one team, but if you have to beat six or seven other teams and have to play with consistency to do it, I think that goes a long way in saying a lot about what kind of football team that you have. And that's no disrespect … because they may certainly be able to do the same thing if they were put in that circumstance."
This quote from Duke coach David Cutcliffe, also said on radio, is much more inflammatory about the Broncos’ 33-30 defeat of Virginia Tech, Duke’s fellow ACC member:
"You can't make mistakes in the kicking game, nobody emphasizes it more than Frank [Beamer]. But they were clearly the best team, guys. Anybody that watched the game could tell that Virginia Tech was the dominant team physically. …
“They didn't win but this stuff about we can't compete with the best. ... You know, Boise's a good football team. They're not a dominant physical football team. Gimme a break on some of the publicity. …
“Real well coached, good team, got some great skill players. Not as good a football team as Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech just blew the ball game."
Strange comments considering Boise State outgained Virginia Tech 383-314, outrushed the Hokies 168-128, absorbed more penalty yardage (105-55) and made two critical mistakes of its own in the kicking game — the missed chip-shot field goal and running-into-the-kicker penalty that cost the Broncos 10 points.
Cutcliffe, it's worth noting, is a voter in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, which is part of the BCS formula.