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What about Boise?
Stewart Mandel
January 15, 2007
Though they ran the table and beat Oklahoma in dazzling fashion, the Broncos rank No. 5 in the eyes of one voter
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January 15, 2007

What About Boise?

Though they ran the table and beat Oklahoma in dazzling fashion, the Broncos rank No. 5 in the eyes of one voter

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FOR CLARITY'S SAKE, it's probably a good thing that a week elapsed between Boise State's astounding Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma and the deadline for voters to submit their final AP Top 25 ballot. Otherwise normally levelheaded sportswriters and broadcasters, caught up in the excitement of a game-tying hook and ladder, a game-winning Statue of Liberty play and an on-field marriage proposal, might have ranked the Broncos, the nation's only undefeated team, right behind national champion Florida.

Taking emotion out of the equation, however, one is left to assess WAC champion Boise State (13--0) based also on a relatively weak regular-season schedule, which included a seven-point win over Wyoming (6--6) and a three-point victory over San Jose State (9--4). Before the 43--42 overtime victory against the Big 12 champion Sooners, the highlight of the Broncos' season was a 42--14 rout of 10--4 Oregon State on Sept. 7. Those were admirable accomplishments, but in addition to the 13--1 Gators at least three other teams had better seasons than Boise, even if they didn't win every game.

Ohio State (12--1) whipped Texas in Austin and, in a battle of unbeatens, knocked off Michigan for the Big Ten championship. SEC power LSU (11--2) played with Florida in the nation's toughest conference and won its last seven games, capped by a demolition of Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. USC (11--2) had more regular-season victories over teams that ranked in the top 20 in the final AP poll (Cal, Arkansas and Notre Dame) than any other team and ended its year with a rousing blowout of then No. 3 Michigan in the Rose Bowl. I ranked those teams Nos. 2 through 4, respectively.

I placed the Broncos fifth on my final ballot, up four places from their No. 9 ranking in the previous poll and just ahead of Louisville (12--1), whose Orange Bowl victory over Wake Forest did not carry the same cachet as Boise's postseason win, and Wisconsin (12--1), which didn't have to play Ohio State because of the Big Ten schedule rotation and gained only 201 yards in its Capital One Bowl win over Arkansas. Fans of those schools would undoubtedly argue that I put the Broncos too high. Oklahoma fans, on the other hand, might say I had them too low.

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