Even with unblemished record, Broncos jumped in latest poll

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ New Mexico State head coach DeWayne Walker could not help but be impressed. And it wasn’t because of anything his team had done. Instead, it was No. 4 Boise State that left Walker awestruck during a methodical 59-0 beatdown of his Aggies Saturday in Las Cruces, N.M. And Walker said just by looking at the Broncos, he could see this was a superior football team. ‘Just how good their players look,’ Walker said in the Western Athletic Conference coaches’ teleconference Monday when asked what stood out most from the thrashing. ‘I’m kind of into that now, being a head coach now and really learning what it takes to build a program. I was just really impressed on how (Boise State head coach Chris Petersen) built his team. … Boise was just a totally different looking football team.’ Unfortunately for the Broncos, the win did not leave such a resounding mark on the pollsters. In the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, Oregon (5-0) jumped past Boise State (5-0) to claim the No. 3 ranking after beating No. 16 Stanford, 52-31, in Eugene, Ore. Despite the Broncos’ unblemished record that includes two non-conference wins over BCS schools, the team’s WAC affiliation, once again, appears to have cost Boise State in the rankings. The Broncos have defeated the Ducks each of the past two years, but Oregon’s Pac-10 affiliation is more impressive. That is the reality Boise State is faced with each season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Boise State’s Petersen said the one-spot drop does not bother him at this point in the season with so many games left on the schedule. He added that although he does favor the bowl system to a playoff, a combination of both, in his mind, would be best for college football. ‘The system’s not perfect,’ Peterson said. ‘I think people are trying to figure out how to make it better. Once somebody comes up with the correct plan, hopefully, it gets adopted and introduced.’ For the past five years, Boise State has been at the heart of the BCS discussion. The Broncos finished the 2006, 2008 and 2009 regular seasons undefeated. They won the Fiesta Bowl over Oklahoma following the ‘06 season and beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl last year. Yet Boise State only climbed to No. 4 and No. 5 in the final rankings after those undefeated seasons. This year looked like it would be different. The preseason poll slotted the Broncos at No. 3 in the country. A solid non-conference schedule would help Boise maintain its spot near the top, waiting patiently for Alabama or Ohio State to slip up. A virtual road win against then-No. 10 Virginia Tech in Week One kept that dream alive. Three weeks later, a 37-24 home victory over then-No. 24 Oregon State bolstered the Broncos confidence. ‘Boise State, unlike any other team in the country, has won the games that they’re supposed to win,’ WAC commissioner Karl Benson said in the WAC teleconference Monday. ‘They have not been upset in a regular-season game for five years. And you can’t say that about any of the other teams.’ But even though the Broncos keep winning, their early-season opponents have not. Virginia Tech dropped a home game to Football Championship Subdivision opponent James Madison just a week after losing to Boise State. Both the Hokies and Oregon State have slipped from the rankings, hurting what was once a solid non-conference schedule for the Broncos. Benson couldn’t help but express how he felt about all the attention being paid to Boise State’s schedule. He said the focus should be on Boise State’s performance on the field and its 18-game winning streak. ‘I think it is very frustrating to listen to all the ‘what ifs,” Benson said. ‘What if Boise State played in this league or what if Boise State played in that league? The bottom line is that the teams play the schedule that they’re dealt. … Whether there’s injuries or whether there’s this or that or whether it’s 95 degrees and humidity. … Bottom line is good teams win.’ But with what now appears to be a softer strength of schedule than how it originally appeared, Oregon slides ahead of the Broncos, despite Boise State’s dismantling of New Mexico State last weekend. And Walker, the Aggies head coach, would not say whether he believed one team should be ahead of the other. But he did work as UCLA’s defensive coordinator from 2006 to 2008. He said he was impressed with Boise Saturday and added it could play with any team from the Pac-10 — Oregon included. ‘All I know is, coaching in the Pac-10 and having a chance to go against Coach Petersen’s team for two years now,’ Walker said. ‘There’s no doubt they could go in the Pac-10 and be more than competitive in that conference. … You could put them in the Pac-10, and they would definitely hold their own.’ Big men on campus Darron Thomas and LaMichael James No. 3 Oregon (5-0) Last week’s stats: Thomas — 20-for-29, 238 yards, 3 TDs, 15 carries, 117 yards, 1 TD James — 31 carries, 257 yards, 3 TDs Thomas, a sophomore quarterback, and James, a sophomore running back, led Oregon to a combined 612 yards of total offense and accounted for all seven of the team’s touchdowns in the Ducks’ win over No. 16 Stanford. After falling behind 21-3 in the first quarter, Oregon outscored the Cardinal 49-10 for the rest of the game. Thomas threw touchdowns of 29, 41 and 25 yards and knotted the score at 31 in the third quarter with his six-yard touchdown run that set the tone for the rest of the second half. Oregon scored three more touchdowns after Thomas’ scamper, while the Cardinal failed to put any points on the board in the last 30 minutes. James’ career-high 257 yards on the ground was the second-most in school history. He chipped away at the Cardinal defense for most of the day before exploding for a 76-yard score with 1:10 left in the game to close out the scoring. Team of the week No. 17 Michigan State (5-0) Last week’s result: W, 34-24 vs. No. 20 Wisconsin (4-1) Head coach Mark Dantonio missed his second consecutive game due to health issues, but his Spartans once again rose above the distractions to take care of Wisconsin in both schools’ Big Ten opener. Dantonio planned on sitting in the coach’s box for MSU’s clash with the Badgers, but was hospitalized for a blood clot in his leg Thursday. He watched on television as offensive coordinator Don Treadwell took over head coaching duties for the second week in a row and led the Spartans to the 34-24 victory. The Spartan defense snapped Wisconsin running back John Clay’s 10-game streak of at least 100 yards rushing, and Treadwell secured the win with a gutsy call in the final minutes. With MSU clinging to a 27-24 lead, the Spartans decided to go for a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line with just less than three minutes left in the game. Quarterback Kirk Cousins found B.J. Cunningham in the end zone for his third touchdown pass of the day to put the game out of reach. The win boosted Michigan State’s record to 5-0 for the first time since 1999. zjbrown@syr.educenter_img Published on October 5, 2010 at 12:00 pmlast_img

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