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Friday, September 29, 2006

BCS Buster Busted

This is the time of the year when an intriguing, if not all that significant question, arises. Which team, if any, from a non-BCS conference will be our BCS buster? Who is this year's Utah?

The preseason favorite was TCU. And with wins over Texas Tech and Baylor giving them four straight over Big 12 opponents, they looked like a liable candidate. But last night saw this team go from Buster to Busted. A disappointing 31-17 loss to Brigham Young put their BCS hopes on a life line.

I have to say, even being a masters grad at Baylor, I figured TCU would win that game. I understand some of the hype surrounding Baylor. But I had a feeling with Shawn Bell still under center and a new offense being installed that they were overrated. Texas Tech, however, was favored by some to win the Big 12 South. It's what those people like to call their sexy pick. So TCU had earned some street cred.

So what happened Thursday night? Well, BYU is a scrappy, if not so much, elite opponent. And they have tested the Horned Frogs for a few years now.

For whatever reason, the Frogs just got mildly outplayed Thursday night and it was enough for BYU. Lost the time of possession battle. Had a pair of turnovers. That was it.

I'm sure it doesn't help that that their two senior running backs, Robert Merrill and Lonta Hobbs, are banged up: Merrill on the shelf and Hobbs seeing his first action of the year. Or that senior wide receiver Michael DePriest also just played his first game. Whatever the reason, the BCS is a longshot now for TCU.

And that begs the question: Who's next? There's really two candidates. Houston sits at 4-0 with a date with Miami(Fla.). Now the 'Canes are struggling in a Joe Namath sort of way. But I think, even if the Hurricanes have dwindled into Tropical Storm levels, they can beat Conference USA's best. And Houston has stayed unbeaten partially because they looked long and hard to find cream puffs for the cream puffs to beat. But they also beat Big 12'er Okie State so maybe Larry Coker should be afraid.

Then there's Boise State. This a team that makes you wish for a playoff inclusive of non-BCS teams even if you can predict the result. Besides, that blue turf deserves national network air time. They average 40 points a game and have defeated Pac-10's Oregon State but take on Hawaii at home this Saturday. If they get past 3-1 Utah, then it is relatively smooth sailing in the WAC the rest of the year.

And I'm throwing a third team into the mix: Rutgers. I know they are Big East. But how big is the East anymore. Sure they just snuck past South Florida on Friday but this team is ranked for the first time in 30 years which deserves major props and, in my mind, qualifies this team as a BCS Buster.

So will the above be Busters or Busted? We'll see come December.


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