Can Mountain West Bust BCS Finale?
By Joe Jenkins
The 2013 college football season marks the final stand in the inequitable reign of terror known as the BCS.
While you could probably fit all of the people who are saddened by the death of this antiquated system in the trunk of a Daewoo, it is still important for us to look back and reflect on one of the few good things that came out of it.
Some of the greatest moments of the BCS involved teams that weren’t even supposed to be there — and nobody crashed the BCS party more than the Mountain West. Eight teams have earned the title of “BCS Busters” since 1998, and four of them were from the MWC.
So the question remains: In the final year of the BCS, can a MWC team be the one to break through and ruin somebody’s day one last time?
Three teams have a strong case.
The Case for Boise State
Let’s get the obvious pick out of the way first. The Broncos are no longer “up and coming” and they’re not “a Cinderella story” anymore. They’ve arrived.
The boys in blue were supposed to be in a “rebuilding year” in 2012 and they finished the season 11-2 and ranked 18 in the final AP Poll.
Head coach Chris Petersen began to open up the playbook at the end of last season when QB Joe Southwick’s interception rate began to drop. The senior should have earned enough of his coach’s trust that the reins will be completely taken off.
When you couple Southwick’s maturation with sophomore RB Jay Ajayi’s explosive running style, the Broncos offense might be done “rebuilding” and might just be “built.”
On the defensive side, if the Broncos come anywhere near the absurd rate of 2.8 turnovers per game they had in 2012, a third trip to a BCS bowl is very likely.
The Case for Fresno State
It’s no secret that good quarterback play is vital to a team’s success. When your starting quarterback is the reigning MWC offensive player of the year, it’s safe to say you have a good one.
Derek Carr is coming off a season of more than 4,000 yards, 37 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions, so he scores a lot and doesn’t give the opposition many freebies.
It gets even better for the Bulldogs because Carr’s favorite target, Davante Adams, will be back as well. All Adams did in his freshman year was catch 102 passes for 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns. He could wind up as one of the 10 best wideouts in the country if he progresses as a sophomore.
The Bulldogs' non-conference games are all very winnable, so it should become a question of navigating the MWC. Their hardest test will come early when they play BSU on Sept. 20, but the game is at Bulldog Stadium.
The Case for San Jose State
Just because the Spartans are new to the MWC doesn’t mean they won’t compete.
SJSU finished 11-2 in 2012, and they have a pretty decent signal-caller of their own. David Fales is coming off a junior season with 4,193 yards, 33 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions. Just like Carr, Fales is getting back his favorite target from last year, senior WR Noel Grigsby.
The schedule doesn’t favor the Spartans, as they play Stanford in Palo Alto, but remember: The Cardinal needed a fourth-quarter field goal to beat SJSU in last year’s season opener, 20-17. This is a lot more than just a “paycheck game” for new head coach Ron Caragher and his team, but even if they lose, it’s early enough in the season that the Spartans can recover.