Confetti falls, a trophy is hoisted, and the celebration as the best team begins.
Competitive sports seasons start off will all of the promise in the world. From the top-level on down to youth organizations — including adult leagues and those looking to hold onto our glory days — the march starts with a 0-0 record. Perilous obstacles are tossed in, with upsets and bad play tossing upstarts by the wayside, until one team stands tall.
Count the Boise State Broncos among those left behind.
The idea of a participating in the playoff in 2018 is a long-forgotten dream (and a dream it was). Even at this point, the idea of playing in a big bowl game is toiling in a death rattle.
If there’s anything to be learned from college football, though, is to never count a team out in reaching a big bowl game. Just ask the Boise State Broncos of 2014, who turned two-losses into a Fiesta Bowl win.
Just don’t expect a Group of 5 team entering the playoffs under the current system any time soon.
Many of the playoff systems put in place for sports, both professional and college, remain flawed. The NBA plays in a system in which teams with a better record are seeded lower than a division champ with a worse record. Major League Baseball has its own flaws to work out, in which the team that had the second-best record in the National League in 2018 ended up losing a one-game wildcard game.
The FBS playoff of college football is likely the most flawed of them all.
A team like the Boise State Broncos would need a perfect season and a perfect set of opponents to even sniff a shot at the playoffs. It certainly won’t happen in 2018 (one-loss smashed that dream).
Boise State Broncos and 2018
The start of 2018 held some high hopes for such a run for the Boise State Broncos. Athletic Directors plan a schedule years in advance, hoping their non-conference opponents are still relevant, ranked even, giving the Broncos a chance to make the magical run.
Of course, that fell apart with the loss at Oklahoma State, a team who subsequently went on to lose three of their next four games after defeating the Broncos.
One loss might have still had Boise State riding an inside track to playing in a NY6 game if not for the pesky program from UCF. Fake national championship from 2017 aside, the Knights have been doing all they can to buck the system. They are undefeated, ranked 10th, and making a case to hopefully even be considered. The problem is their opponents are a combined 14-24, with their closest game a narrow-win over the 4-3 Memphis Tigers.
A second loss for Boise State, at home to San Diego State, likely sealed the fate of the Boise State Broncos in regards to playing in one of the NY6 games. In fact, three Mountain West teams are receiving votes in the Coaches Poll, none of which are Boise State.
The season is conceivably lost. Lay down the cards, throw in the towels and move onto to 2019. Or maybe not.
Plenty to play for
It seems for many sports –especially in college football — the season’s midpoint mark is a good time to fall into a “sky-is-falling” mentality.
Boise State is no different.
But we’ve been here before. One or two losses and the season is a complete bust.
In ways, when the the giant picture is a national championship (even as out of reach as it might seem) is the dream, the season can be considered a bust. But, at some point during the season, 128 teams will have also given up on this dream.
A Mountain West title, however, is still very much in play. Truth be told, Boise State isn’t going to dominate every, single conference game like back in the “old days”. This is a team playing with a heavily entrenched mark on their backs and we’ve seen that in conference play for years now.
Losing on the blue is tough to swallow. Winning at Nevada, where it’s been tough since the Kellen Moore days, should be appreciated, no matter the score. The victory is what counts, even if the score is closer than what it should have been.
A little bit of struggle is good for a team. For the most part, Boise State comes out better for it. Are the Broncos are the same sort of trajectory? We’ll see, starting with Colorado State on Friday.
Enjoy the journey and what these young men do. As nerve-wracking as the world of sports can be, there’s still a joy to be had in it. The Broncos might not be holding the gem encrusted football come season’s end, but there’s still one hill to climb.
After all, confetti still falls after a Mountain West title.