John Feinstein likes his version of reality very much, thank you.

In writing an utterly predictable piece about how Boise State’s win last night is another sign of the impending BCS apocalypse, John Feinstein can’t leave well enough alone.  It’s not enough to applaud the Boise State team for its resiliency in obtaining a come-from-behind road win over a top-10 ranked opponent.  Nah, he’s got to invent an alternate-reality version of Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech is a very good football team. It is well coached…

Not last night it wasn’t.  Unless this is how you define “well coached”:

… But there were plenty of other plays that had just as much impact on the game: Tyrod Taylor fumbling away the snap on the game’s second play (led to a Boise State field goal); the Hokies getting a punt blocked (led to a touchdown); D.J. Coles going nuts and getting flagged for two penalties, totalling 20 yards, on a Boise State punt (led to a touchdown). And those were just Boise State’s first three drives, all in the first quarter. Boise State’s next drive after those three started at its 40-yard line after Justin Myer kicked off out of bounds. (The fumbled-snap drive began at Tech’s 31, the blocked-punt drive at Tech’s 12.)

Oh, and on top of all those special teams errors, on almost every unit (punt protection, punt block, kickoff), new kicker Chris Hazley missed his first field goal attempt, from 34 yards. That adds up to 17 points for Boise State and three that Tech left unclaimed—all on special teams miscues.

We shouldn’t forget that Boise State started its final drive on its 44 after Tech gave up a 25-yard punt return. The Broncos also were fortunate on that return, because the officials originally called a penalty for blocking in the back, but they picked up the flag.

Other than that…

… they’re perfect, John.  Maybe you should stick to writing about golf.  I don’t know if you’re any better with that, but at least I wouldn’t care.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Media Punditry/Foibles

43 responses to “John Feinstein likes his version of reality very much, thank you.

  1. Jace Walden

    Doomsday Hypothetical for the Assembled Masses:


    (1) Ohio State Finishes Undefeated as Big-10 Champions and…

    (2) Georgia Finishes Undefeated as SEC Champions and…

    (3) Boise State Finishes Undefeated as WAC Champions…

    Who plays for the National Championship?

    Does Georgia get in? Or is it Ohio State vs. Boise?j

    And if it is Ohio State vs. Boise, and Ohio State wins, does Coach Mark Richt become a mythical national champion a la Tommy Tubberville.

    The pessimist in me says that if this scenario played out, Georgia would get screwed as per normal.

    • Jace, if Mississippi State finished as the undefeated SEC champs, they’d be playing in the BCS title game.

      I can’t imagine a scenario where an undefeated SEC team isn’t playing for the national title. Keep in mind one built-in advantage over a mid-major like BSU: the SECCG winner gets a bounce from beating what is likely another top-10 squad.

      • Jace Walden

        I can’t imagine a scenario where an undefeated SEC team isn’t playing for the national title

        Auburn: 2003

        Granted, the two teams that did get in were from AQ conferences, and if I may say, “high profile” programs. But there has been a scenario.

        My worry is that after beating every BSC opponent its faced on the biggest stages, that too many people think that Boise will be “high profile” enough.

        But, if what you say is true then…

        Good. Then all we have to do is go undefeated. Easy enough.

        • Jace Walden


          Auburn: 2004

          My bad. Please continue.

        • And how many SEC teams with losses have played in the title game since 2004?

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Senator, Jace is right. Right now both Boise State and Ohio state are ranked higher than UGA. If all three were to win out the highest UGA could be would be 3rd absent some unusual circumstances (ala LSU jumping UGA in 2007). That is exactly what happened to Auburn and it certainly could happen to UGA or any other SEC Champion team except for Bama or FLA (although FLA looks likely to drop in the polls based on last weeks bad performance).

          • Russ

            Lots of work to be done before we need to worry about that scenario. And I’m an optimist.

          • Mayor – go take a look at BSU’s schedule. After Oregon State in two weeks, it’s nothing but WAC teams plus Toledo. The computers are going to kill the Broncos as the season wears on. (Strength of schedule is what killed Auburn, if you’ll remember.)

            BSU has to hope there’s a lot of carnage in the BCS conferences to have a real chance of making the title game. And that Va. Tech gets its act together by the time ACC play rolls around.

            • rbubp

              “The computers are going to kill the Broncos as the season wears on. ”


              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                I hope you guys are right and you probably are. Also, this was only a hypothetical exercise. I am NOT getting ahead of myself. I just hope we have something like this to worry about.

          • mdr

            We would jump Boise in every poll after beating UF, Auburn, Teck, and the west champion.

            No way an undefeated SEC team gets left out again. The SEC is much higher in the pecking order than it was in 2004.

            Not to mention that we now have ESPN firmly in our corner with the new tv package.

            • Sorry bout that But I was attempting to agree with the Mayor. If the Dawgs go undefeated, & they will not, they will not play for the MNC. The same is true for every other SEC team except ALA. & UF. That is fact not fiction.

              • Jonathan

                Dawg 39,
                first, you cannot state something as fact that is pure conjecture at this point. Second, even now the ESPN voices are saying that Boise has to hope everyone else has one loss and even then it will still be a debate. Making unilateral declarations of “fact” may seem like a good way to argue, but it only works with those not paying attention to what you say (write). So calm down and lets worry about taking care of business this Saturday.

                • OK. I am properly reprimanded & I have calmed down. Thank You.
                  However, I still think that ESPN & the voters would prefer to have two non SEC teams in the MNCG this year,

                  • Jonathan

                    Now that I can agree with and I would even add that; I believe that ESPN would love for it to be the Buckeyes and Boise (Just to get the traditional and under dawg mixed)

  2. Puffdawg

    This raises an interesting point that I’ve been thinking about that nobody has considered… that is, subconsciously, people view Virginia Tech as a much better team than it really is because they are the only road block for Boise to be undefeated. The ensuing hype around the game (promoted by ESPN) creates such a frenzy that VT becomes ranked as a top ten team by virtue of the fact that they are Boise’s only roadblock, which in turn gets Boise credit when the beat said “top ten team.”

    I am dizzy after typing that but I truly believe it. VT is not a top ten team, and after last night I could name you 25 teams that were better this weekend.

    • Kevin

      Well if that’s true it will show by season’s end with VPIs record. And, in the day of computer rankings, that record will go into account when discussing BSUs SOS. The more Va Tech loses and the more WAC teams BSU plays throughout the season, the more their BCS stock begins to drop

      • Puffdawg

        Yes, but the human perception (2/3 of BCS) of VT has been established, as evidenced by their #13 ranking. They should not be ranked, not based on being 0-1, but based on the fact that in the only game they’ve played, they flat out stunk (see excerpt in SB post).

      • Puffdawg

        …and so now, despite that embarassment of a performance, they are still ranked #13 because, after all, they lost to Boise State, who has beaten a top ten team…

      • Prosticutor

        And Tennessee got 1 vote from somebody?

        • The Realist

          Temple got a vote for narrowly escaping 1-AA Villanova. I suppose there are some Bill Cosby fans among the coaching ranks.

    • Biggus Rickus

      VPI hasn’t been a legitimate top 10 team since 2000, in my opinion. They’re a perrenial three-loss team in the ACC, and the last time they won a huge OOC game was, what, LSU in 2002 (when LSU was 8-5 overall)?

    • The Realist

      I agree with you. There are some pieces on the offense like Ryan Williams that intrigue me, but otherwise, I don’t see anything that warrants being a top ten team preseason. They had to replace seven starters on defense, and they don’t have any gamebreakers at wide receiver. They play in the tough coastal division with Miami, North Carolina (preseason remember), and defending champion Georgia Tech… who they play three consecutive weeks in November… with Miami and UNC on the road.

      It’s easy in hindsight to say Virginia Tech was waaaay overrated to begin with, but what was on display Monday night does not exactly engender confidence in the #13 ranking. They may be the 4th best team in their own division.

      Unfortunately, they play virtual cupcakes until November. So, they’ll end up 7-1 and probably ranked at least in the top ten if not the top five again going into their only real tough stretch of games. Its a dirty cycle that reinforces the point that preseason polls are completely meaningless, yet still have an enormous impact on the outcome of the season.

      • hayduke

        Agreed. Well stated.

        The way I see it is that VPI “earned” +10 positions in the polls to raise interest in this opening matchup. Suddenly, we’ve got a battle of top ten teams. Pre-season poll inflation only serves to give wankers like Musburger crap to prattle on about.

        See also UNC v. LSU (geauxtigerswerefreakingawful).

  3. Jace Walden

    I can’t decide which poll is more of a joke, the coaches poll or the AP. You can’t rank teams you’ve never seen, a month before a single snap is played and expect to be called credible.

    • rbubp

      Yet, they do. Every single year since the dawn of man. Or at least since the dawn of man looking at football teams.

  4. Go Dawgs!

    The thing that’s insane is that 7 writers in the AP poll switched their #1 votes to Boise State after that game last night. Folks, I don’t know who the best team in the country is, but I can say with certainty that they weren’t playing at FedEx Field last night.

    The fact is, the writers are in love with the BSU story line and they want to topple the BCS system. But facts are facts… even with their soft-as-a-baby’s-bottom schedule, VA Tech looks set to finish as the third or fourth best team in the ACC this year. Beating them isn’t a major accomplishment. Blowing a 17-point lead and then beating them at the last minute *certainly* isn’t a major accomplishment. At the end of the year, if Boise has run through undefeated with wins over Virginia Tech (they’ve got the same name and logo as some teams who were great back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s!!!!) and Oregon State (yawn), then have they really proven their case?

    It’s a flawed system, and I would love to see teams like Boise get their shot, but still, it’s the system. All the Potato Pickers want to talk about fairness, well, how fair is it for a school that plays two games a year to have a better shot at the title than a team that plays nine, ten, eleven games a year?

    And, I’ll just say it again, Virginia Tech isn’t a great football team. They’ve got some great athletes, but they’re not a great football team. The schedule’s a joke, but there are four losses in there at least. Heck, ECU may beat them. In fact, let’s not forget that East Carolina beat the Hokies in the opener in 2008… where was the ECU National Championship buzz after that one?

    • Schlagdawg

      “Folks, I don’t know who the best team in the country is, but I can say with certainty that they weren’t playing at FedEx Field last night. ”

      Amen to that.

  5. Doug

    The part of me that would giggle at seeing BSU dropped into the national title game is getting drowned out by the part of me that senses last night’s victory isn’t quite as inspirational as the Narrative(TM)-makers would have us believe.

    Three of BSU’s first four scores came on drives of 4, 12, and 30 yards, all of them set in motion by VT shooting itself in the foot in uncharacteristic ways. That was 13 all-but-freebie points the Broncos were spotted in the first half, yet they still couldn’t put VT away until the final 90 seconds.

    Was that performance dominating enough to be the mark of a national title contender? If VT goes 11-1 and grabs an ACC title, then yeah, I guess so. If Tech just chugs to 9-3 and a Peach Bowl bid, though, then it’s not, and I hope the poll voters remember that. Though I’m not confident all of them will.

    • Puffdawg

      Judging by the fact that on Sportscenter immediately following the game, ESPN did not show the “block in the back oh nevermind it was not a block in the back but instead a block in the side” (which is the first time in the history of football a ruling such as that has been made, to my knowledge) on the last punt, which was probably the most critical element of that game last night, media and voters have already forgotten how it happened rather than the fact that it happened.

      I should be sitting on a couch with all the psychoanalysis I’m doing today!

    • The Realist

      Well… If VaTech spotted Alabama 17 gimmie points in the first quarter last year… the Hokies would have lost by four touchdowns.

  6. JohnW

    Given the way VT played in that game(no real running game between the tackles, costly penalties, botched specials play in all phases) they won’t be the shining start that helps the Bronco’s strength of schedule for very long.

    • rbubp

      And yet, playing against Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, Maryland, Clemson, UNC, Nerds, et. al. somehow always seems to cure the Hokies’ woes. Not sure how they make it through that murderers’ row that is the ACC, but they do and then somehow they get ranked pretty high for that accomplishment.

      Not saying VT is overrated, of course. I would NEVER say anything like that.

  7. Will Trane

    ESPN will simply cry like a spoiled child if the BCS title game is not OSU and Boise State. It is a long season, just ask the Ole Miss staff and roster.

    Like I said early Sunday am and what Buck Belue said today. The O line had better get it together Saturday or it could get ugly. Did not see a lot of push and too much penetration. No TEs on past Saturday. RBs 1 & 2 absence may have led to tackles in the backfield. Will the FB hammer inside and the TB get to the edges? How much was the running game kept under wraps? I think alot. Hopefully the running game is not in an early season hibernation like last year. No doubt USC will want to show case their RB.

    Does the VA-Tech staff ever learn anything. Watching them was like watching UGA’s staff at OSU last year. If you think Boise is a top 3 team…well they need to have a true conference schedule. That is why the co-conferecne of ESPN and Big 10 want a match between OSU and the Broncos. OSU will not get there…not with two L’s

    • Biggus Rickus

      The same could be said of USCe’s O-Line. If anything it looked worse than ours against a similarly bad defense. If the game does get ugly it won’t be in favor of the Fighting Chickens. Unless you mean “ugly” in the sense of so many UGA-USCe games that turn into low scoring slogs.

    • BMan

      It’s hard for the Va Tech staff to learn while they’re playing in the remedial class that is the ACC. I agree with an earlier comment that stated they’ve become the LSU of the ACC. I’d even say they’re moving toward becoming the FSU of the new era. They throw the talent out there and hope to overwhelm teams with it. Since joining the ACC, they’ve had a pretty easy go of it. Again, it’s like being in a remedial class and then when they have to take the departmental final (see LSU, Alabama, etc.) they don’t do so well.

  8. ESPN & the big ten, you got it right. Only OSU & Boise are bust!!!.

  9. We are not living in the 2004 world any longer. In 2004, people still thought the Pac 10, Big 12, and Big 10 were equal or better than the SEC.

    After the SEC won the last 4 national titles in a row, there is NO WAY any team from any other conference gets the nod over a same record SEC champ.

    And its unlikely anyone gets the nod over the SEC champ regardless of record. Winning 4 titles in a row is just too huge.