I don’t know if you remember the last line from a post I referenced last week – “At this stage it doesn’t appear (with the possible exception of Boise State) that winning is viewed as anywhere near as important as money.” – but Brian Fremeau spells out what that means in the context of Boise State’s scheduling:
Schedule strength plays into the national championship conversation in several other ways beyond conference affiliation. On one end of the spectrum, there are teams that won’t play any top teams at all. According to our FEI projections, the Boise State Broncos will not face a top-40 opponent this fall and have an overall projected strength of schedule ranked No. 108. The Broncos are the third-most likely team to go undefeated this year according to the FEI projections, but their opportunity to be a BCS title contender is effectively nullified by the lack of a single strong opponent on the schedule.
Fremeau points out that there are other teams with high national profiles playing weak schedules, such as Louisville and Ohio State. However, because those schools play in AQ conferences, there is a more likely possibility of them playing in the BCS title game, although their margin of error is slight.
BSU has left itself in something of a tight spot. Granted, nobody’s expecting mid-major refugees like TCU and Utah to sport win totals approaching the Broncos’, but, then again, they’ll be cashing conference TV checks that BSU will envy. And even a four-team playoff by itself won’t boost Boise State’s chances of playing for a national title.
That leaves BSU scrambling to add marquee games against those higher profile schools to boost its schedule strength, something which, to its credit, it’s trying to do. The problem is that it’s got a lot of other seasons to fill up… or hope that one of its scheduled non-conference opponents gets better in a hurry. And it’s made the job of scheduling for itself tougher by looking for home-and-home deals. I suspect BSU is trying hard to keep itself on ESPN’s Rolodex for another neutral site season opener. Unfortunately for the Broncos, so are many other schools.