Once upon a time the little guy David went out and beat the big guy Goliath. Even though this epic battle was long, long ago there remains one burning question: Could David slay Goliath if he had to do battle with him every weekend?
Over the past few years Boise State (David in this case) has beaten Oklahoma, Oregon twice (both schools being Goliath), and mid-sized Goliath TCU.
BSU has a four year record of 49-4, including two Fiesta Bowl wins and have appeared in bowl games all four years of Chris Petersen's tenure as the Bronco's head coach.
In Petersen's four years as a head coach he has won the Paul "Bear" Bryant award as the coach of the year two times.
The Boise State critics love to suggest that BSU would never have gone to bowl games if they played in a major BCS conference, so I thought it would be interesting to look at just how BSU might fair if they were members of the SEC, Big 12, Pac-10, or the Big Ten.
Before I go any further, let me qualify myself. I'm a life long University of Washington fan. I don't have a dog in this hunt.
For the sake of fairness I have made a couple of assumptions which I think should be pointed out prior to breaking down the Broncos chances in each of the big four BCS conferences.
One, because we are placing them into each of these BCS conferences we must assume that BSU would be at a much higher level when it comes to recruiting.
Instead of Boise State's present five year recruiting average of 2.3 stars per recruit, they would be at somewhere in the area of 2.8 (Iowa) to 3.0 (Oregon) stars per recruit.
Second, BSU would enjoy the new standard non conference schedule that most of the "elite" BCS programs have adopted. Or, in other words, at least two or three cream puffs teams for those "guaranteed wins."
Third, I will assume that each team in these conferences would have the same coaching staff and play to a level constant with the past three years performances.
Last, the travel would be on "par" with the other members of these conferences.
Let's tackle the big elephant in the room first—the SEC. (Note: I call the SEC the big elephant in the room because clearly their fans are the most vocal about BSU's lack of aschedule).
I will boldly suggest that if BSU played each Florida and Alabama three years in a row they would win one of three.
The other members of the SEC wouldn't do as well against BSU. Georgia, Auburn and Tennessee and LSU would be 1-2 against Boise State. The rest of the conference would be 0-3.
If you do the math that would place the Broncos as the third best team in the SEC. Depending on which years they would beat Florida and/or Alabama, BSU could have a record that would put them into the SEC championship game at least every third year.
Boise State would clearly be bowl eligible every year as a member of the SEC regardless of which conference division they would be a member of.
The Big 12 presents another interesting scenario.
If Boise State were in the Big 12 North, then would clearly fair better than if in the South division.
BSU would win one in three games against Texas and Oklahoma and win two of three matches against Oklahoma State and Nebraska.
The rest of the Big 12 would be 0-3 against Boise State.
If BSU were in the North division they would play for the Big 12 championship two of every three years. In the South division they would win the division one in three years.
Again, Boise State would be bowl eligible every year as a member of the Big 12.
Because the Pac-10 presently does not have two divisions I actually think BSU would have an advantage to win Pac 10 championships.
BSU would be 1-2 over three years against USC.
Against Oregon and Stanford the Broncos would average two wins every three years. IntThe rest of the Pac Ten Boise State would fair even better with three wins and zero losses.
Over a three year average, BSU would be the second best team in the Pac-10 and actually win the conference title once every three years.
Once again, Boise State would be bowl eligible every year as a member of the Pac-10.
As members of the Big Ten, BSU would beat Ohio State and Penn State once if they played them three years in a row.
Against Iowa and Wisconsin, Boise State would be 2-1 in three years time.
The rest of the Big Ten would lose to BSU all three years.
As members of the Big Ten, Boise State would be the second or third best team (depending on the year) each of three years and win the Big Ten one out of three years.
Once again, BSU would be bowl eligible each year as a member of the Big Ten.
Let's understand a couple of things.
First, BSU would not have the same kind of win-loss records as a member of any of these BCS conferences as they enjoy today. That's a given.
However, Boise State would fair much better in these BCS conferences than most of the critics would think. One glaring example would be just how well the Broncos would do at home against these major BCS teams.
Having come from a much more traditional program (Huskies of the University of Washington) I will admit it took me a long time to buy into what Boise State football was all about.
I'm not a fan of the blue turf, first and foremost.
The idea that this school could roll out the success that they've enjoyed in recent years I also didn't buy into for a long time.
Today, I am among a growing number of fans who believe that Boise State deserves to be considered one of this nation’s best football programs.
In fact, I don't consider them to be the "David" of the college football world any longer... they've joined the ranks of the Goliath