Opinion - Boise State-Va. Tech will have BCS implications
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on September 2, 2010 1:46 PM
College football season-openers for big-time programs are typically about developing continuity and confidence -- and -- beating the stuffing out of a hapless opponent with a name similar to Southwest Texas Clown College and Court Reporting School.
When Virginia Tech and Boise State meet Monday evening in Landover, Md., the stakes are somewhat higher between the two programs. Undefeated seasons, national title hopes and Heisman Trophy chances are on the line.
The third-ranked Broncos have a legitimate Heisman contender with quarterback Kellen Moore. Boise State has a realistic chance of going undefeated and its place among who belongs in the national title game will be debated all season.
The 10th-ranked Hokies are loaded on offense, have three Heisman candidates and are on the short list of favorites to win the Atlantic Coast Conference and reach the BCS.
Monday's matchup is huge for Boise State. It faces only one other quality non-conference opponent, Oregon State on Sept. 25. If the Broncos are going to be in the national championship discussion at the end of the season beating Virginia Tech and Oregon State is imperative.
Even an undefeated season doesn't guarantee Boise State a spot in Glendale, Ariz., for the national championship game. The Broncos went undefeated in both 2006 and 2009 are were left out of the national championship picture.
It's difficult to imagine an unbeaten Boise State squad getting an invite to the BCS championship game over a one-loss SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10 or ACC team.
The Broncos are in position to potentially play for a national championship this season because they've compiled an impressive resume over the past decade.
Boise State is 4-1 in its last five games against schools from BCS conferences dating back to 2005. That lone loss came in a 48-13 visit to Georgia in 2005. The Broncos are 37-9 in road or neutral-site games since 2003. Their 112 wins since 2000 are more than any other school in the country during that time.
Virginia Tech has garnered little attention nationally prior to the start of the season. The Hokies return seven starters to an offense that put up 31 points a game in 2009.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor and tailbacks Ryan Williams and Darren Evans all have Heisman potential. Taylor threw for more than 2,300 yards last year. Williams and Evans both have 1,000-plus yard seasons on their collegiate resumes.
Virginia Tech replaced eight starters on defense and Hokies' defensive coordinator Bud Foster could have his hands full with Moore and the Boise State offense.
Virginia Tech has won at least 10 games in eight of the past 10 seasons and has played in a bowl game every year since 1993.
The Hokies are likely to be favored in every game they play the remainder of the season. A pivotal three-game stretch in November with games against Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami could go a long way to determining Virginia Tech's fate.
If the Hokies want to return to the national championship game for the first time since losing to Florida State in the 2000 Sugar Bowl, a win on Monday night would be a big step in the right direction.