The Wiz Of Odds: Visions of BCS danced in their heads

Jay Christensen covered college football, among other sports, for the Los Angeles Times and produces the popular college football blog TheWizofOdds.com.

The world nearly came to a standstill in July when it was revealed that Florida’s Tim Tebow was not a unanimous selection in coaches’ voting for the preseason All-Southeastern Conference team.

South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier eventually ’fessed up, saying he was the only coach who didn’t vote for Tebow, but the message was clear: The 2009 season belongs to Tebow and anyone questioning this shall be condemned to eternal damnation. Just ask Spurrier, who had to face the wrath of the Gator Nation.

But when Tebow announced in late July that he was a 22-year-old virgin saving himself for marriage, a spiritual tone cloaked the season. Good things happen to those who believe and a scrappy bunch of kids on the Brigham Young team are ready to follow Tebow to the promised land in Pasadena and a spot opposite the Gators in the Bowl Championship Series title game.

Don’t bet against it.

Brigham Young plays six of its last 10 games at home, including the three toughest ones: Saturday against Florida State, Oct. 24 against Texas Christian and Nov. 28 against rival Utah. The rest of the Cougars’ schedule consists of the Wyomings and San Diego States of the world.

The first BCS standings won’t be released until next month, but an undefeated BYU will likely fall somewhere between Nos. 5-10. This essentially will allow the Cougars to be drafting for much of the season while the big boys crash into each other. As the theory goes, teams ahead of BYU will lose and the Cougars will inch their way up, eventually snaring one of the top two spots needed for a berth to the BCS title game.

Don’t think for a second that BYU hasn’t considered the possibilities. That’s why Saturday’s game against Florida State, one of the highest-profile opponents to ever play in LaVell Edwards Stadium, is so huge. The Cougars are 7-point favorites.

It’s pressure, but BYU’s roster is full of mature players who can handle it. Thirty-six Cougar players are married, and many of these men have completed Mormon missionaries abroad.

Critics say BYU has an advantage with so many players leaving for two-year missionaries that don’t count against their eligibility. When they return, the players are often more physically developed and mentally stronger. This allows the Cougars to field a team full of players who are 22, 23, 24 and sometimes 25 years old against opponents with a roster of 19-22 year olds.

Unfair? Perhaps, but if you’re wagering on the Cougars, it’s an edge to consider, especially Saturday.

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Chris Petersen has been nothing short of remarkable at Boise State. He has a 37-4 record since taking over for Dan Hawkins after the 2005 season. Of his four losses, only one — a 39-27 setback in 2007 at Hawaii — has come in Western Athletic Conference play.

On Friday night, the Broncos are on the road to play league rival Fresno State. Boise State is a 7-point favorite.

Much like BYU, the Broncos have only a handful of hurdles to clear if they hope to complete an undefeated regular season for a possible berth to a BCS game. After Friday, there’s an Oct. 14 trip to Tulsa that will be dangerous, and a Nov. 6 game at Louisiana Tech could be troublesome. Otherwise, it should be clear sailing.

Fresno State’s Pat Hill, whose team is coming off a heartbreaking two-overtime loss at Wisconsin, lives for games like this. The Bulldogs are imploring fans to wear white to help wipe out Boise State.

“We’re looking forward to coming down that ramp to a sea of white taking over Bulldog Stadium,” Hill said. “It will be a great atmosphere for college football.”

Hill has had no success beating Petersen. He’s 0-3, with the Broncos outscoring the Bulldogs 140-52.

He’s likely to strike out again on Friday. Boise State, in a tough environment, should pull away late and cover the number.

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Posted by Shorty14
5 years ago

jss_ga- I have to ask, do you think Bama would have lost to Utah if they did not lose the SEC championship? Don't worry I've asked myself the same question many times. Listen... I'm not advocating letting even one of these teams (BYU, Boise St. or Utah) play for the BCS in the current system. I agree that it wouldn't sell tickets and ratings would be significantly lower. But, this is why we need something like this to happen SO IT NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN. Next year, we won't have to read/listen/watch about when one (or two) of these teams go undefeated in a weak conference playing for a NC. Frankly, I think it would be sad to watch Florida or Texas totally spank one of these teams in the championship game.
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Posted by MauiWarrior
5 years ago

I will answer my own question: Florida played Charleston Southern...and followed up with Troy. Should this really be the #1 team going into week #3?!!! Sure, Tebow has his virginity and his unique 20/20 record.... This whole BCS legend is merely smoke and mirrors... Pitting Utah against BYU in the NC game is just as bogus as pitting...say...LSU vs FLA...or USC vs Cal... The BCS has become a boring interconference scrimmage. Known teams playing other known teams. It's become an 'our gang' vanilla slap-fest. What the hell are 'you people' afraid of?
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Posted by jss_ga
5 years ago

Interesting that Utah beat ALA down much more handily than FLA did in similar type game (SEC CHPSHP) - all or nothing. I would have loved to see UT vs FL in a BCS CHP game given how each played in their games. Was FLA that much better than UT at the end of the year? I believe the BCS should include all conferences in the chase for the mythical crown.
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Posted by dagrad
5 years ago

I won't disagree with you about both games in which OSU were in....SUCKED! However, the 2005 USC/Texas was a gem as well as last years Florida/Oklahoma. But it is also risky putting Florida against...say BYU....and the final score ends up being 109 - 17. But I am sure you can argue that for any game. Nonetheless....to put BYU against Boise St....in a NC game.....I seriously don't see that game selling many tickets. Its cool to have one cinderella but to have two? Who would be the real cinderella?
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Posted by MauiWarrior
5 years ago

The NC in the BCS era has been nothing but disappointments. The only exciting BCS championship Game was in 2005 when Texas edged out USC. Otherwise, it has been nothing but boring blowouts. USC had to share the title with LSU one year even though they didn't get voted into the NC game. The BCS title game is not all it's cracked up to be. Some of the highest rated games (attendance and TV veiwers) for bowl games have been BCS games with nonBCS teams in it. The arguement about BCS busters not drawing a crowd is invalid. Every BCS conference has bottomfeeders. Most top ten teams will play bottomfeeders from other conferences or FCS teams. Florida played Troy. USC played SJSU. Who was it that played Charleston Southern last week? It is not true that top ten teams only play top tier talent. Let the little guys play for a NC.
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Posted by dagrad
5 years ago

Shorty14....your dream scenario wouldn't see many tickets. I like it though. but it would be impossible cause every major school has to lose a game....and Florida seems too deep and good for that.
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Posted by Shorty14
5 years ago

Actually, let one of these teams play in the BCS title game.... After the SEC champ or Big 12 Champ totally dominates them, we'll never have to worry about non-BCS teams getting mentioned in the same conversation. I like the system, but it needs to be tweaked so we can avoid this from now on. Think about it. BYU vs Boise St. for the National Championship.
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Posted by dagrad
5 years ago

the way the current system works......title game? NEVER! no non-BCS team can play in the title game. Only 1 of these teams will end up playing for BCS bowl game...even if 2 teams run the table. Sad? yeah...but that's college football. Many people want a playoff system like the pros.....but that's not going to happen. I actually like the system the way it is....just like the college FB overtime rules. its nice to see little schools get to play center stage with publicity.
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Posted by TheWiesguy
5 years ago

Can TCU reach the title game if they are undefeated (having beaten BYU obviously)
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Top Response

Posted by jss_ga
5 years ago

"Interesting that Utah beat ALA down much more handily than FLA did in similar type game (SEC CHPSHP) - all or nothing. I would have loved to see UT vs FL in a BCS CHP game given how each played in their games. Was FLA that much better than UT at th..."