The cost of being a big fish in a small pond

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.


Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

7 responses to “The cost of being a big fish in a small pond

  1. Macallanlover

    I am always in a minority with giving Boise their due but they deserve respect for not only trying to get big, tough games on their schedule and getting turned, but for performing well when given the opportunity. They are being penalized for their competitiveness and ADs simply ran from them when they openly challenged more top programs to play them. I am not saying their schedule this year is worthy of any consideration, but it is a product of major schools slinking into the woods to hide when BSU was attempting to play tougher competition.

    Boise realizes their conference schedule doesn’t deserve respect because of weak conference competition and wants to earn a shot by playing better OOC games. Why doesn’t the Big Whatever realize they are viewed the same way by many? How many years does the Michigan/OSU game represent the only chance they have to lose? This year’s game is the only game tosu will be favored by less than 7 points. If anyone needs to play better OOC games as much as Boise, it is them.


    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      You raise a legitimate point Mac but I’d go even further. Why is membership in the Big 10 considered an easier path to the BCSNCG? If tOSU had played Kentucky’s schedule last season how many games would they have won? Michigan and Wisconsin-same question. Year after year the Big 10 puts an inferior product on the field yet tOSU and Michigan always get treated by the media as if they were the best of the best. As far as I can tell the rest of the Big 10 is nothing more than another MAC but with bigger stadiums and a better TV deal.


    • Joe Schmoe

      I think the reason ADs aren’t excited about playing Boise is that the risk of losing out ways the reward of winning. If u lose, you get ragged for it like UGA did without getting a lot of credit for playing a tough opponent. If u win, then Boise gets labeled as just not being that good.


    • Cojones

      You’re on the right lane in this BCS/Big10 Bowling alley, Mac. Their talent has deteriorated in the places you say, but I have to remember and respect Mich St for their effort against us. In fact, I think we should embrace their OOC ratings that are downplayed by ESPN. That’s going to come in handy when we play Appalachian St. Don’t they still rate in the Top20 to the Delany Conference?


  2. Macallanlover

    I am not saying there are no decent teams in their conference, just they don’t have to be. The OOC is almost always a gimme and their conference usually has just two or three talented teams, 3 or 4 mediocre teams, and the rest slugs. I view them like Boise, since you cannot impress by being your confetence champ, you need to beef up your schefule with better OOC teams if you want a top 5 ranking. They have been getting a pass for 30 years.

    In the SEC your creds are there as an SEC Champ, doesnt need anything else. Now I want a better OOC schedule as a fan, but you don’t get an SEC title withiut being damned good. Before the 8 game conference schedule and the title game you might could have gotten by on yhe cheap.

    Joe, I think at that point in the season Boise was the better team. They had an experienced offens and a decent defense that season. It looked to be pretty close until Ogletree went out. Then we had no answer.