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Boise State: Mythical Championship Myth?

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Unrestrained, thrilled shrieking as the nation professed to emit in the closing seconds of Boise State's dramatic overtime upset of Oklahoma last week, the curmudgeonly writers remained unmoved: the season's final Associated Press poll sticks the nation's lone unbeaten team fifth, behind not only overwhelming mythical champion pick Florida but also Ohio State, LSU and Southern Cal (that order interests SMQ: LSU over the Trojans, eh? And Wisconsin in front of Michigan?). Moderate FOX lobbying aside, Boise didn't catch a whiff of a split.

Unforgivable diss or appropriate display of the collective brain's triumph over the heart? Carefully putting together his all-important final Blog Poll ballot of the season, SMQ vowed to give the Broncos' resume every opportunity to convince him of the mythical title worth the AP cynics and their even less-impressed coaching brethren found woefully lacking.

As a sort of blind taste-test, SMQ matched up the Broncos' generic averages sans any consideration of any specific performances against the same measures for their only real competition, the "official" mythical champion Gators. Since the numbers in the categories are fairly dead give-aways to the teams' identities, the pretense of actually making the comparison "blind" was scrapped, but the assessment isn't affected:

Florida Boise State
13-1 Record 13-0
16.21 Average MOV 22.07
.639 Opponents' Win % .506
2-1 Record vs. Top 10 -
10 Average MOV vs. Top 10 -
5-1 Record vs. Top 25 2-0
8.0 Average MOV vs. Top 25 14.5
10-1 Record vs. BCS 2-0
8.7 Average MOV vs. BCS 14.5
10-1 Record vs. Bowl-Eligible 7-0
10.6 Average MOV vs. Bowl-Elgible 15.7

""MOV," of course, is "margin of victory;" "Top 10" and "Top 25," for the sake of simplicity, are defined by the AP poll. The dilemma here is whether to consider raw record or winning percentage; SMQ chose the former, assigning in the fashion of the Pastime a "half-game" for each win or loss. This put Boise at a disadvantage in determining the "winner" per category, but even in the generic sense, judging its winning percentage in two games was unfair to the obvious gauntlet Florida ran. As it is, Boise is slightly behind on quantity but nevertheless stacks up just fine here on the basis of impressive performances against bowl-bound teams and consistently better margins of victory, which demonstrates in all likelihood it certainly could have competed as well against a much tougher road.

But it didn't compete against a much tougher road; SMQ gives credit only for games played, never for victories or losses presumed, imagined or hypothetically certain. And when it gets specific on that level, even with a loss, even with Boise's undeniable conquests of Oregon State and Oklahoma, Florida's murderous slate simply dwarfs any possible effort the Broncos could have mounted from the confines of the WAC:

Score FLORIDA BOISE STATE Score
41-14 Ohio State (12-0) 20
23-10 LSU (11-1) 19
18 Oregon State (10-3) 42-14
38-28 Arkansas (10-3) Oklahoma (11-2) 43-42
21-14 Georgia (9-3) 16
21-20 Tennessee (9-3) 15
26-7 Kentucky (8-4) 14
28-13 Alabama (6-6) Utah (8-4) 36-3
21-14 Florida State (7-5) Hawaii (11-2) 41-34
34-7 Southern Miss (9-4) Nevada (8-4) 38-7
17-16 South Carolina (8-4) 10
9 Wyoming (6-5) 17-10
42-0 Central Florida (4-7) Fresno State (4-7) 45-21
25-19 Vanderbilt (4-7) San Jose State (9-3) 23-20
6 Louisiana Tech (3-9) 55-14
5 Idaho (4-7) 42-26
4 New Mexico State (4-7) 40-28
3 Utah State (1-10) 49-10
62-0 Western Carolina (-) Sacramento State (-) 45-0
Losses
17-27 Auburn (10-2) - 5 -
89 45

Records in parentheses for each opponent are for all games aside from Florida or Boise State. The numbers in the middle columns are an attempt to assign a "value" to results that aren't cancelled out by a roughly equivalent game on the other side. As such, the "value" of each win and relative comparisons on a game-by-game basis are infinitely debatable and not intended as an "objective" measure; they are only SMQ's rather arbitrary opinion and could conceivably be ordered into at least a dozen reasonable arrangements. But as a guide, the game-by-game comparison is overwhelming in its support for Florida. The numbers "89" and "45" aren't remotely as important as the gaping margin between them, which no Boise backer could possibly bridge without resorting to abstract conjecture of what would happen if... Perhaps Boise is "good enough" to win given the same circumstances as their BCS conference competitiors, but the hu-mann pollsters come off looking better by SMQ's watch after this assessment than he had supposed before. BSU's schedule prevented it from those circumstances and, therefore, from any serious consideration.


Hey, Boise, baby, you know SMQ loves ya, but there are more important things than the mythical championship, right?

With that, Florida is essentially pronounced the 2006 Sunday Morning Quarterback National Champion, but the official coronation will wait for the entire poll.