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TCU Will Gladly Play Second Fiddle To Boise State ... For Now

All the talk is about the almost win Butler provided in an exciting NCAA championship game (take a clue BCS) has leaked over to Boise State and college football.  The talk is how eventually Goliath can not always win them all and Boise State had finally made itself a house hold name -- which is half the battle -- after four undefeated regular seasons and two Fiesta Bowl victories.  What does it take for Boise State -- Utah or TCU -- to be considered the Gonzaga of college basketball where they are a major team in a non-major conference:

The delicious irony: Only in college football does the resident David's championship fate rest in the strength of its brand. By definition, the little guy isn't even supposed to have a brand; it's one of the charms that makes him the little guy. (Respect among basketball aficionados notwithstanding, Butler had no national profile to speak of a week ago.) In Boise's case, though, its hard-earned, carefully cultivated brand as the puckish, trickster giant-killer from the middle of nowhere means everything, because it will be the only thing voters will have in December to separate an undefeated regular season in 2010 from undefeated seasons in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009.

By all definitions Utah, Boise State and TCU should be a brand the Broncos credentials are noted above, Utah -- along side Boise -- is one of two teams to have an undefeated BCS run as well the Utes have won nine straight bowl games and four times been ranked in the top 25 during that span.  While TCU has six double digit seasons this decade, with three top ten finishes, and four other years of being ranked in the top 25. Not sure what else non-AQ schools can do to get credit.  Well, besides the WWL putting out a memo in regards to the 2010 Boise State.

The comparisons between Boise State and Butler are everywhere ranging from the national columnists who say it can not always be Goliath year in and year out:

Goliath can't go on winning forever. What Hayward and the Bulldogs started, quarterback Kellen Moore and the Boise State football team can finish on Jan. 10, 2011. ... History and the odds suggest that if Boise State goes undefeated this season, the Broncos will take the field in the same stadium where, five years and nine days earlier, they ran the Statue of Liberty and shocked the college football world.

Then there is the breakdown of this by SB Nation's OBNUG who is trying to make sense of the way too early hype regarding Boise as the a legit title contender.  Then there are the SEC obsessed folks who are sure that if Boise keeps rattling off undefeated they will get there chance.  

A high ranking is the key, but if the 2008 Utah did not get a sniff of title talk until after they smoked Alabama with a much tougher schedule then what Boise has in front of them in 2010 what chance does a non-AQ team have.  That Utah team had victories over nearly-Pac-10 champion Oregon State, along with beating Michigan and two other top-20 teams.  The key difference is the various top five pre-pre season rankings that Boise has acquired which are the key for any team to get to the national title.

The schedule for Boise is a step up from last year where their only tough matchup was Pac-10 champion Oregon who they took apart, but this year they play a quasi-neutral game against Virginia Tech and then they get Oregon State who should be a bowl team and mid to upper tier in the Pac-10.  That schedule is still less then Utah's 2008 schedule, but the key difference is Boise's projected high pre season ranking.

Lurking in the woods is TCU, who will gladly fly under the radar to Boise in 2010 as they did for most of the 2009 season waiting to jump Boise. Prior to last year's Fiesta Bowl myself and OBNUG exchanged a question and answer session based on the idea that the winner would be in a prime position for a BCS run in the upcoming season:

A Boise win going into next year will have them much higher then the 16th ranking they had going into the 2009 season. Going into 2010 Boise State has a realistic chance of being in the top five with a win. Depending on NFL defections Boise would be in the mix for a top five spot with Alabama, Oregon, Miami, Ohio State, Florida, Texas, LSU, and Virginia Tech.

By starting in the top five Boise will not have to climb as much to get to the number two spot and will have to rely less on teams ahead losing just so they will move up. Also, the Bronco's schedule is tougher then last year with three bowl teams on the non-conference schedule with Wyoming, Oregon State, and Virginia Tech and seven overall within WAC play.   

So, we were ahead of the curve with this and the topic would be the same if TCU had they won the Fiesta Bowl. Instead TCU will most likely be around 10-15 in the pre-season rankings and with quality opponents such as Oregon State, BYU, and Utah -- who will most likely be in the top 25 -- plus consider that the Mountain West is stronger then the WAC, and TCU has a chance to catch Boise State.   

In this scenario TCU will most likely not be able to jump Boise State -- unless the lose -- for a shot at the BCS title game, but if Boise slips up then TCU will have the spot light for the non-AQ schools with a legitimate shot at the title. This is not too far fetched since TCU returns every offensive skill player, but the two big loses are on the defense with Jerry Hughes and Darryl Washington.  While the loses are huge Gary Patterson always finds a way to shore up the defense. The replacements for those spots will be between redshirt freshman Stansly Maponga, D.J. Yendrey, and Braylon Broughton.

Expect TCU to enjoy the back seat to Boise State even if TCU is in the top 10 while Boise is hovering around near the coveted two spot, and if Boise slips up TCU will be right there.  This upcoming season will be very interesting if either team can make a run at the BCS title, and if the coaches poll will allow these outsiders to get to the number two spot.  They maybe forced to move these teams up due to attrition from above -- even though that should not always be the case. 

If a non-AQ school gets to the title game there will be uproar from a one loss major conference champion who feels they are more worthy due to their conference status.  Who knows perhaps a non-AQ team in the title game will finally push for at least a plus-one model by the other major conferences which would then require these smaller schools to beat a good BCS team more then once, and prove that they are not a fluke.