Can Boise State really be left out of the BCS completely?

By Brian Murphy
bmurphy@idahostatesman.com

Boise State is undefeated, ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press, No. 3 USA Today Coaches and Harris polls and No. 4 in the Bowl Championship Standings.

So why were the Broncos missing from ESPN's BCS projections unveiled on Sunday night's BCS show?

And is it really possible that an undefeated Boise State could be left out of the five BCS bowls altogether? Sadly, the answer is yes.

Here's one scenario:

National Championship Game: Oregon (Pac-10 champ) vs. Alabama (SEC champ)

The top-ranked Ducks continue winning and Alabama, which has one loss, beats LSU and Auburn to claim the SEC West crown, then avenges its loss to South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game. The SEC has won four consecutive national titles and Alabama, the defending national champ, squeeze into the title game.

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin (Big 10 champ) vs. TCU (top-ranked non-AQ)

The Badgers earn a share of the Big 10 title and find their way to Pasadena based on BCS rankings. TCU, which remains ahead of Boise State in the BCS rankings, replaces Oregon in the Rose Bowl. If the Rose Bowl loses one of its participants to the title game, it must take the highest-ranked non-AQ, if the team is eligible.

From the Rose Bowl site: "For the games in January 2011 through 2014, the first year the Rose Bowl loses a team to the NCG and a team from the non-AQ group is an automatic qualifier, that non-AQ team will play in the Rose Bowl."

The Rose would have the first pick in the selection order because it lost the No. 1 team in the country (Oregon).

Sugar Bowl: Auburn (at-large) vs. Ohio State (at large)

In this scenario, the Sugar Bowl will have the second pick (for losing Alabama) and the No. 3 pick (pre-determined on a rotating basis). Auburn, with its one loss to Alabama and its likely Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback, is a no-brainer for the New Orleans-based game. The second pick is a little tougher. But the Sugar has been saddled with Hawaii and Utah in recent years, so it opts for a marquee name in the Buckeyes, who have just one loss.

(Note: I think this entire scenario still works if you swap Auburn and Alabama. The Sugar would still take a 2-loss Alabama.)

Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech (ACC) vs. Oklahoma (at large)

The Orange Bowl picks next, again as determined by the rotating selection order. The Orange is contractually obligated to have the ACC champ, which I'm projecting to be Virginia Tech. The Orange doesn't want a rematch between the Hokies and Broncos and it doesn't want the Big East champion. Instead, it grabs Oklahoma, which has two losses after dropping the Big 12 title game to Nebraska.

Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska (Big 12) vs. Pittsburgh (Big East)

The Fiesta Bowl has the final pick in the selection order. Nebraska is bound to the game as the Big 12 champ. And the Fiesta, which would love to match the Cornhuskers against Boise State, is forced to take Pittsburgh — the Big East champion.

So where do the Broncos go?

Probably the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco on Jan. 9. With Hawaii already accepting a spot in the Hawaii Bowl, the only options for Boise State are the Kraft, UDrove Humanitarian or New Mexico bowls.

"The Kraft Bowl will have a priority over the Humanitarian and New Mexico bowls in terms of its choice or its preference," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said.

The game would love to have the undefeated Broncos.

And so the Broncos head to San Fran and to play the Pac-10's No. 6 qualifier, perhaps 6-6 California, which was stomped by Nevada earlier in the season.

It's also possible that the Pac-10 may not have enough bowl eligible teams to fill the Kraft Bowl. With USC not eligible, the Kraft game might have to fill its spot with a team from another league.

The key to avoiding this fate for Boise State is to get ahead of TCU (and remain ahead Utah) in the BCS Standings.

Report: Minnesota targeting Petersen as next coach

Minnesota, which fired coach Tim Brewster earlier this season, has Boise State coach Chris Petersen at the top of its wish list for a new head coach. Petersen, Stanford's Jim Harbaugh and TCU's Gary Patterson were named in the story as the Gophers' top three choices.

I don't think Minnesota has much of a chance to lure Petersen away, but we've been through this before — and we will again. Petersen's name is going to continue to come up for openings around the country as long as the Broncos continue having tremendous success.

Conference shuffle on overdrive

How would you feel about a 12-team Mountain West Conference without TCU, but with Houston, SMU and UTEP? Jon Wilner explores the realignment game.

Don't forget today's live chat at 1 p.m.

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Oh Boy!

Let the comments begin!

Can we be left out? YES, WE CAN!

Even Bob the Builder's cement mixer knows this.

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Sorry Gophers.......

Coach Pete is ours and you can't have him.

Yeah!!!

Too bad so sad.

futile

Your comment was incredibly futile.

Gophers don't train well so they need reinforcement.

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plenty of football games remaining for all teams

ahead of us and behind us. it would be an absolute travesty for boise state to get left out of the bcs while teams like pitt,, va tech, nebraska, oklahoma and ohio state get in but that is part of the political aspect of the bcs. if we maintain our focus and win out, good things will happen. the kraft macaroni & cheese bowl against cal would be a bloodbath.

I remember 2 years ago when

I remember 2 years ago when Utah beat Alabama BSU got snubbed by a 2-loss OHST. At this point I would not even be a little surprised if BSU was left out, not even if a 6-6 ND was selected over BSU. The system is crap and every year is losing a little ground and a playoff or +1 system is gaining.

2 years ago

was a completely different situation, on a lot of levels.

You are probably being dramatic...

... but there are rules against a 6-6 anybody getting selected. BCS rules require that the only teams eligible for a BCS at large selection must be ranked in the top 14 of the final BCS standings, and have at least 9 wins.

The BCS will not

risk the scrutiny that will most definitely fall on them should they pass on BSU for a 1 or 2 loss Big 10/12 team. There is too much money at stake for them to chance losing the BCS system.

$$

The BCS (obviously) doesn't give two craps about BSU or their feelings. Bottom line, more money if another team is there instead of BSU.

Wrong COT

The BCS bowl money is chump change to the BCS conferences. Losing the BCS system would cost them billions. If taking BSU is a way to keep congress out of it, BSU is in.

BINGO

I'm with you! Follow the money trail. Placing a pacifier in the mouth of BSU, large in part mitigates to frivilous status, potential for an anti-trust lawsuit. That said the team of lawyers who have spent time looking into this issue believe the best way to take the BCS down is the way the Feds took down Capone. Tax Law!

Fountainhead

I have heard this stuff about the team of laywers advocating taking down the BCS through the application of Federal Tax Law, but have been unable, to date, to find any credible and verifiable sources and/or cites, to substantiate that premise.

Would you be so kind as to provide one of them for us, please.

With great appreciation, in advance,

VNDL

Not that hard to find.

Well there is this, from today. There is also a group of lawyers from Idaho who are doing the same thing. (Will find out specifics, but saw a press conference where they were together discussing) Regardless of opinions about Boise State's ability to compete with other teams on the field, the fact that a group of businessmen (BCS) have very openly conspired to limit the growth and opportunity of smaller businesses (Non-AQs)is pretty obviously illegal and unfair. The football is merely the product they are trying (very successfully so far)to control the profits of.

The "Legal" problems with your Arguements are

the contracts and precedents.
Every BCS Team, AQ or Non AQ, signed and agreed to the Contract befor participation/acceptance. So, they agreed. They performed, they got paid. The precedents set are..there is a path for BCS opportunities for non AQ Teams, by the terms to which they agreed. It's been proven, over and over, to work. IMO, tough to sue and win.

Laws never stopped goverments, why stop in the capitol?

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Fountainhead - a Donko lawyer wrote this

A Donko lawyer prepared an interesting and informative piece he published on the BroncoCountry.com blog. It is a little lenggthy, but very informative. Remember, this was written by a Donko for Donkos. It is very informative:

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"Please cite the relevant parts of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, then give me the cases that interpret it (the citations will do, I have access to Westlaw so I can read them myself), then give me an argument on why the BCS would fall under the act based on those cases. Heck, if you give me something that I like, then maybe I will call up the powers that be and get in on the case.

With that offer on the table, I doubt you are going to find anything (I've already looked). The first thing everyone should know about the law is that there is no such thing as a slam dunk, one never knows how a judge will rule on a legal issue or how a jury of 12 average people will decide an issue based on principles that they know nothing about. Even if you can scrape together a decent cause of action, do you want to know how this one will go? It will look something like this (warning, this is going to be lengthy so ignore it if you don't care to know about the procedural processes that a case like this would go through):

1. Plaintiffs find an interpretation of the anti-trust act in the dicta, dissent, or concurring opinion of a case and files a complaint based on that language
2. Defendant files a motion to dismiss on the grounds of 12(b)(6) (the plaintiffs have not stated a legitimate cause of action to which relief may be given) and also asserts the defense of sovereign immunity
3.The trial court judge will probably grant that motion on one of those grounds (most likely the former), Plaintiffs now have 3 choices: 1)drop the lawsuit; 2) amend their complaint; 3) appeal. If they keep going with 2, then the plaintiff's lawyers run the risk of getting sanctioned under Rule 11 for filing frivelous lawsuits, if they go with 3, then the decision goes to an appellate court. Let's assume they go with 3
4. No matter what happens here one side is not going to be satisfied with the outcome and will file a writ of certiorari for the case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court would probably hear it because it is dealing with something that is very visible throughout the country and it could have long-term ramifications to competition law.
5. The Supreme Court can either affirm the motion to dismiss or reverse the motion and remand the case back to trial court. If they chose the former, then the plaintiffs have to come up with a new complaint and then you everything starts back at step 1, if they reverse and remand, then the complaint is filed and discovery begins
6. The lawyers of both sides are going to screw around with discovery and the parties will probably file multiple motions for continuance to extend the date of trial. FWIW there is no way in heck that the Plaintiffs will get a preliminary injunction against the BCS even if they find a legitimate cause of action.
7. The lawyers will meet with the judge at pre-trial and will argue several motions to limit and exclude evidence, some will be granted and some will be denied.
8. Both sides will attempt to file for summary judgment and will probably be denied; however, If summary judgement is granted for either party (if it is granted for anyone it would be for the defendant), then the case will be appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court (see step 5)
9. Now at trial, the lawyers will call their witnesses (several of which will be "experts") and introduce their evidence, the opposing lawyer will object to much of the other side's evidence and will object to several witnesses as well. Both will file motions for directed verdict and the loser will file a motion for JNOV and a conditional motion for a new trial.
10. Regardless of what happens the losing party will not be satisfied and will file an appeal based on the merits or an appeal based on errors of law that the judge made by allowing/excluding evidence or witnesses. This will go all the way up to the Supreme Court (see step 5)
11. At any point during or after the trial, there may be grounds for 1 side to file for a new trial, there is a decent chance of having several trials on the same issue
12. Now assuming that the Plaintiffs survived all of that, got a favorable verdict, AND the AQ conferences decided to go with a playoff instead of the old system, then congratulations are in order and we can finally have a playoff for the 2018 post-season (that's right, 7+ years have passed since step 1). BTW both parties owe their lawyers a couple million dollars because none of them were dumb enough to take this one on a contingency fee.

And that my friends is why most people really do not want to touch this case."
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VNDL

I'm Confused, VNDL, Being a Donko and All..........

I do appreciate the informative post. I had to read it 9 times and then the light hit me...I threw it in the Donko Kritikal Thinker language converter, putting it in laymans "nuts and bolts" terms, and she all made sense. I like to think outside the bunns, so when I get inside the bunns, I know what to do.

Yessir, seems to me there's a way to go here. WE gots some insider advantages you know.

Now...follow me here. Would you agree, in spite of all the inevitible legal begal manuvering here, the key would be The Judge..The Opposing Attorney, Expert Witnesses, and the Jury..Am I right?

So.. we bring the suit here in Boise. Chances are the BCS will downplay the importance of it and scoff at our chances of success. They hire a cheap local legal team, a TV version, and that would certainly wind up bein Vandal Lawyers. Score plus points for us right outta the gate.

Next..we files a change of "menu" motion and get er moved up North. This guarantees a local biased Judge...obviously another Vandal. Now..the 1st thing you'll say is the Opposin attorneys would think they hadder in the bag, drawin a Vandie Judge and all, but the truth is they'd quit (bein quitters and all) (knowing a Homer Decision was forthcoming), hence throwing the Defendants Team in total disarray.

Now we strike the killer blow. We introduce our star witness, The Kid...complete with insider BCS logon and password. Now they know we gots printed versions of them secret emails and memos. Low cost deal as all we have to do is put up an unemployed vagrant in the Hillcrest with some Buffet coupons for a few..

While they're arguein to dismiss that discovery, we get the jury selected. 12 Vandulls. Just regular, slow folk. Not a problem as there's thousands to select from. They're gonna do what the judge does. He rolls his eyes, they roll theirs. He scratches his azz, they scratch theirs. He far-ts, they far-t, all in unison.

Now, the BCS will wanna settle and settle fast. We'll throw it all at em hard. Ram it, you might say.

But we trick em..We suddenly git to the bottom line of our demands..we only want 2 things.
1) They build a new 35k outdoor stadium up in the Paloose.. (chump change to the BCS money)
2) They insert BSU's name next to that singular conference known as Notre Dame in the Selection Process by laws...

We're in the "drivers seat" as we gots insiders Gene and Benson and Thompson inside politikin and urgin things along...

Well, the BCS quickly agrees and all's we gotta do is sign one of them hold harmless deals and secretive no disclosure of settlement thingy's and the case is closed/dropped...

Everyone's happy.

History is written as the largest ever cooperative effort, tween Donks and Vandulls, serves to attain mutual benefit for all of Idaho!

Statewide Kegger (Akey as host) featurin Manly Vandal Brew for Donks and Dulls alike!

Wiz - I like it !!

The only problem/speed bump I can envision, though; is Gene is the WAC Representative to the BCS, along with Karl.

That means, they will both, be Prime Meat, to be called as some of the 'experts' for the Defendant (BCS Committee). Also, because they are members of the current BCS Committee, they could very well be 'named defendants' with Bronco Bob having to engage the survices of the BSU General Counsel, to prepare an Amicus Curia (Friends of the Court) brief, in suppport of the BCS Committee's defense argument.

See how Gene's representation of the WAC on the BCS Committee for the 2010 and 2011 seasons, when BSU isn't even a WAC member for the 2011 season, ultimately becomes a Conflict of Interest?

I really like your thoughts, though. Might work if Bronco Bob was to sit down with a gaggle of Vandal Lawyers in President Nellis's Conference Room in Moscow, and ask for their help, to get the BCS Committee and BSU's butt outta the fire. They just might do it, if he was to say the Magic Word - 'PLEASE'. Might be impossible for him to do that, though.

VNDL

Now You Raised More Questions Than...

the suit ever could....

1) Would simple catch phrases like "I'm Sorry"..or..."I Didn't Mean It"...or "I Was Outta Line" (you get the drift) stand in the way of mutual benefit progress?

2) Would the Sincerity Meter be electronicly applied if said "catch" phrases were applied?

3) Could Moscow supply enuff "security" if such a voyage North were to occur?

4) Press present?

5) Can I be the note taker?

I suppose I could go on and on....

Feelings? LOL.. Feelings??

Sorry man...thats really funny. Feelings... BCS cares about money, power, formulas, pairings, tv and football games...Feelings? Wow...

That's one song that rarely gets sung on karaoke night.

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How would they lose the BCS system?

Yes, there would be national uproar amongst media outlets and some fans. But the BCS is going to be around for at least 4 more years, and by then the snub will be forgotten. You said it yourself, after the national championship game, the rest of the BCS games are all about money. Murphy's scenario is completely plausible. Like it or not, tOSU, Oklahoma and Auburn have bigger fan bases and would likely bring in more money. It's completely unfair, and let it be known that I feel BSU does deserve to play in a BCS game, but there's a very good chance of it happening.

cah, guess again

The main anti-trust case against the BCS system is it's exclusion of certain programs. There is absolutely no chance that the BCS will risk giving congress more fodder to shut it down by something as minor as excluding BSU in a BCS bowl. You are right, it's all about money, you're just looking at the wrong pile of money.

You're also assuming

You're also assuming congress is going to do anything about it. The BCS could just as well point to the fact that BSU, TCU and Utah have all been in BCS bowls to prove they aren't in violation. Furthermore, who (outside the state of Idaho) is really going to say anything. Orrin Hatch won't care now that Utah is jumping to the Pac-12. Congressman could get just as much public outcry for focusing on college football while the economy is in the crapper and 10% of the country is unemployed.

Hmmm

not sure where you've been, but the BCS is easily one of the hottest topics nationally there is. As for congress, if they smell votes, they will get involved.

You must have a different

You must have a different perspective of what "nationally" means than I do. Because up until I read about the Utah AG on ESPN, I hadn't heard a thing. ESPN hadn't covered it at all, along with Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal or NY Times. Might be a big thing in potato/mormon country, but here in Chicagoland, all the talk is about who is #1 and who's going to win the Big 10.

"ESPN hadn't covered it at all"

You lose all credibility right there. Also the NY Times has run a couple of articles on the subject just in the last couple of months. Don't read the trib, but a quick search shows that on 10/13 a trib writer actual wrote a article on the subject and put a picture of BSU in it. I stopped getting the WSJ but I know for a fact Forbes has written 3 or 4 articles on the subject. Forde, Herbie, even that dunce Cowbell do not go a week discussing the subject.

Sorry dude, but you need to get out more.

ESPN

The BCS and SEC are ESPN's bread and butter....you think they are gonna advertise a potential demise of ESPN's biggest revenue streams

LOL

I love it! You are on the mark. You have to look at the long term viabililty of the BCS. That is the real money pile! LOL

Yes - tfunk is right on

tfunk is absolutely correct.

The BCS Committe is not going to risk increased public scrutiny into its inner workings and rational for its deliberations, for fear of losing the BCS forever.

Their backs are against a wall right now. It is in their best interests to let TCU and BSU into BCS bowls after this regular season plays out - to avoid increased public dissatisfactin and an increasing number of prying eyes, who can see what the BCS Committee realy is, and risk losing the entire BCS, in the process.

Provided BSU and TCU finish undefeated, that is.

I am sure the BCS Committee members are burning incense and offering prayers to the Green God Of Money, for the remaining undefeated nonAQs to lose a game before the end of the regular season, so the pressure to include them in the BCS bowls, goes away.

VNDL

PS - Did you know that the BSU AD, Gene Bleymaier, is one of two WAC Representatives to the current 35 member BCS Committee, with Karl Benson, being the other?

How did Boise State get to the Fiesta Bowl before?

That's right, the BCS was punished for making overly biased picks.

The BCS was designed from the get-go to be a shameless, corrupt system designed specifically to keep the traditional powers on top... but every time Boise State goes undefeated and isn't let in, especially when they're a top 10 team but some bottom-ranked ACC or Big East team does, the NCAA is forced to loosen the rules. Every time they loosen the rules, another "non-AQ" team gets in that nobody thinks should be there, and even the old traditional powers start demanding playoffs.

Their greatest prayer is that Boise State loses. Their worst nightmare is that AP splits the championship and declares Boise State #1. Anything in between, and it's going to further corrode the BCS until there's nothing left. 4 year plan or no 4 year plan, if the powers that be (remember, they're doing this all with government money) want the BCS to change, they'll have to change. That's what they don't want to happen.

Bonwell

Well put.

VNDL

BINGO

again!

Just not in a Garden City strip mall...

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JUST in case you thought I was exaggerating...

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5763731

Warrior Watch!!

All questions will be answered this weekend when Hawaii either upsets or plays the Broncos tough..Then BCS officials can drop them down more...Six in a row! They are fired up..Watch out!

Please

Thank you murph for an entertaining read. It made me warm and fuzzy inside to think about both of these scenario's happening this year. No BCS bowl and losing a coach. I'll be good for the rest of the year and see if I get my wish for Christmas.

Careful what you wish for

If bsu doesn't get a bcs bowl, that means no life support money for your precious vandal football program. Don't be surprised if akey splits too. Who knows, maybe akey could become the next minnesotta head coach

Hey look its Cotvandal

Havent seen you since you thought the Mt West was disbanding. Interesting that you show up on these threads. If you get excited over "what if" scenarios, I'd hate to see how your insides feel about the Broncos being ranked 2nd in the country right now.

Coach Pete isnt going to Minnesota no matter what. It aint ever happening. I'd be more worried about that job opening up 7 miles from your campus cot. If Akey goes, thats big trouble.

Minnesota Coach

You have to either want money or be crazy to take the Minnesota coaching job. When was the last time they were noteworthy? The Lou Holtz era? They were terrible the entire time I lived there.

People said the same thing

People said the same thing about BSU before hawkins. That's why Hawkins left. He was up for a new challenge.

Uh, no.

The Broncos went 10-3 and 10-2 the two seasons prior to Hawkins.

Up Up and Away in my beautiful skybox, yo.

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How bout the Las Vegas Bowl vs 11-1 Utah?

Due to USC's Bowl ban, the Pac 10 is going to have 5 bowl eligible teams with 6 bowl slots to fill; one of those being the Vegas Bowl. This will be our "pat on the back" bowl game just like the Poinsettia Bowl was in 2008.

Brian, can you dig a little deeper to see if this could be an option?

http://www.obnug.com/2010/11/2/1790257/utah-vs-boise-state-in-vegas-bowl

Looks like Las Vegas picks ...

... before Kraft. So Vegas should be OK on the Pac-10 side, but even if it's not, I can't imagine the Kraft Bowl giving up an undefeated Boise State team. Why would the Kraft Bowl do that?

-- murph

The Kraft Bowl wouln't want to...

It would work the same way the the Poinsettia Bowl did in 2008. If I'm not mistaking, the Poinsettia Bowl didn't have any rights to any WAC schools. They made the match up happen because it was 2 top 10 opponents.

There will only be 1 PAC 10 school

Between the Vegas and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. There aren't enough Bowl Eligible Pac 10 schools to fill both bowls with USC's probation. So either the Vegas or the Kraft Bowl is going to have to pick from the at-large field. Boise State has gotten the WAC to release them from their bowl ties before to play in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Vegas Bowl pays more money and would LOVE to have a top 10 match up. This is the only scenario that I could stand if Boise State is left out of the BCS.