Time to Eat Crow
For many years I have expounded upon the greatness of South Eastern Conference college football. Many an accolade has proceeded forth from my mouth in the direction of the Alabama Crimson Tide, LSU tigers, Auburn Tigers, Florida Gators, Tennessee Volunteers, Georgia Bulldogs, and even the Arkansas Razorbacks from time to time. I have long harped upon the apparent gap between the SEC football programs and those of the other major college football conferences such as the Big Ten, Pac 10, ACC, etc. Recent history has indeed solidified my stance concerning SEC dominance in football given that the SEC has won the BCS national championship 5 years in a row and 7 out of 13 times since the BCS national championship’s inception. As far as I was concerned, they may as well crown the SEC champion as national champions and let the other “lesser” conferences compete for a consolation prize.
Recently, there has been much talk about a certain school from a tiny conference that I sneered at disdainfully for quite some time. This tiny school has consistently been ranked among the echelon of the “big boys” in recent polls due to their phenomenal record but I stubbornly refused to acknowledge them as legitimate. My immediate response would be to take a quick glance at their schedule and proclaim: Boise State, go play an SEC schedule and then I will respect you!
At first glance it would appear that my negative assessment of Boise State and the Western Athletic Conference (Mountain West Conference 2011) is well founded. Why of course you can amass an impressive record each and every year playing the likes of Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, etc. I could go and assemble a team of high school players and beat the Girl Scouts in a series of football games too but would that make me a champion? I think not!
In my opinion, “Noisy State” as I had come to call them, compiled a 108–45 record against “inferior” competition. Who cares that they are dominating that forgettable conference? I was not impressed. Is this not the same team that had gone 0-4 against the mighty SEC including a 41-14 blowout at Arkansas in 2002, a 48-13 pummeling in Athens Georgia in 2005 and a 32-13 thrashing in Columbia South Carolina in 2001? Please!
“Noisy State’s” fortunes seemed to take a dramatic turn for the better upon the hiring of Coach Chris Petersen in 2006. Since that time they have amassed an impressive record of 61-5 albeit not a single victory against the SEC. I was still unimpressed. Sure I tipped my hat to them for defeating the Oregon State Beavers in 2006 and 2010. When they were victorious against the Oregon Ducks in 2008 and 2009 I gave them a quick glance as well. Even when they squeaked out a 43-42 victory against the Oklahoma Sooners of the Big 12 conference in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl I noticed but immediately dismissed it as an anomaly. Those aren’t SEC teams I proclaimed with conviction.
On Saturday September 3, 2011, the rubber finally met the road when “Noisy State” invaded the Georgia Dome to take on one of the traditional powers of the mighty SEC: the Georgia Bulldogs. Finally “Noisy State” would be exposed for the pretenders that they are. Once and for all I told myself, they will be put in their place never to be heard from again. No more complaining about being ignored in terms of national championship consideration. No more whining about not having a shot at a BCS bowl game. No more noise from “Noisy State” I told myself with glee.
Much to my surprise, it was the Georgia Bulldogs that were put in their place in front of an overwhelmingly partisan crowd at the Georgia Dome. Clad in bizarre new red uniforms that resembled the attire worn by the Power Rangers more than that of a football team, the Georgia Bulldogs were manhandled from one end of the football field to the other for 4 quarters. This was not a case of luck, chance or happenstance. This was a simple case of a better coached, better conditioned and better disciplined team making the Georgia Bulldogs look quite ordinary. Even when Georgia tried to muster a rally from a 28–7 deficit with 1:19 left on the clock in the 3rd quarter to reduce Boise State’s lead to 14 points, it was all in vain. Boise State quickly answered with a touchdown of their own to expand their lead to an insurmountable 35–14. From this point on Georgia’s fate was sealed and mercifully the clock expired with Georgia succumbing to Boise State by a final score of 35-21.
Have I learned my lesson? Do I now respect Boise State University? Do I now feel that they deserve all of the accolades that have been showered upon them? Do I now believe that they could compete in any conference in the country? Well allow me to put it this way. Somebody please pass me the salt because I have a lot of crow to eat. While you are at it, bring that screwdriver over here so that I can pry my foot out of my big mouth. I believe!
Dean Nazaru McCray
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