Earlier today the latest edition of the AP Top 25 poll was released. The week two edition reflected Alabama’s decisive win over Michigan, as the Tide leapfrogged USC. Surprising? Not really. The Wolverines fell like a rock from eight to 19. That wasn’t surprising either. What did surprise was the movement made by the Mountain West.
Gone with the wind.
Understandably, it would be difficult to keep the same spot in the rankings with a loss. Boise State failing to defeat Michigan State on the road was enough to let the Broncos fall from 24 to the “others receiving votes” category.
As the lone Mountain West representative in the AP Top 25, and hardly one at that, the Broncos were living on the edge. Add in the fact that the BSU MSU game was broadcast before a national audience on a Friday night. Everyone witnessed the loss.
But that is where my confusion begins.
Why does a team who is expected to lose a game to a superior opponent get docked for losing close? The Spartans had to come from behind to win. Yes the Boise is replacing a lot on both sides of the ball. Yes BSU is breaking in new quarterback Joe Southwick, and yes MSU had four turnovers.
That is my point.
Considering all that the Broncos must overcome in 2012, they performed admirably in the loss. The game came down to the smash-mouth running game led by dynamic back Le’Veon Bell. It took everything the Spartans had to beat the Broncos. That is why I moved Boise up in my own poll.
If the Broncos stumble in their conference schedule than I am OK with a falling out of the top 25. However, a road loss against arguably the best team in the Big Ten, or at least one of, is much more impressive than say a near loss at home to San Jose State (Stanford that one was you).
Chris Petersen and the Boise State program have earned the benefit of the doubt in my opinion. We give that benefit to programs in other conferences that hardly deserve the recognition at times. If the Broncos offense struggles against lesser opponents than I will be the first to question their recognition.
That hasn’t happened yet.
If what I witnessed this past Friday night is any indication, the Broncos will still be a tough out for the best of Mountain West programs.
Complaining about a team’s ranking, or lack thereof in week two, is silly. I understand that. This is the beginning of a marathon. This column is not my complaint, it is my observation. Mid-major programs are the last in, and the first out. Usually, I would agree with that sentiment because of the strength of schedule argument. Not this time.
I believed that Boise State had moved beyond the “mid-major Cinderella” label, to consistent top 25 program. Please forgive my ignorance.
James Gomez is a Pac-12 and Mountain West columnist for Rant Sports and member of the Football Writers Association of America
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