Can the Broncos Finish off a Big Weekend for the Big 4?

Can the Broncos Finish off a Big Weekend for the Big 4?


I think most of you will agree – the 4 best non-AQ teams in the county the past 5 years have been Boise State, Utah, TCU and BYU. They’ve had to fight for respect and in some cases are starting to earn it. Utah was invited to the Pac 10. Boise State is starting #3 in the AP poll. TCU is ranked #6 pre-season and got to play their opening game at Jerry World.

Three of the four have come out of the gates swinging against BCS teams. BYU, at home, held off what should be an improved Washington team. Utah, also at home, had to go to overtime but greatly outplayed #15 Pitt. And as previously mentioned, TCU beat #24 Oregon State by 9 in what was mostly a home game for them. The win was so-so but what was more impressive was the fact that the game was played in Cowboys stadium. I know the stadium was not full. You need to remember though that TCU is, count em, the 5th or 6th most popular college football team in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. (1) Texas, (2) Oklahoma, (3) Texas A&M, (4) Texas Tech- yes the school is clear out in Lubbock but a lot the graduates live in Dallas, (5/6) SMU/TCU. Both are private schools with small enrollments but lots of rich old-money guys make up the alumni base. Probably more rich old guys in Dallas than there are in Ft. Worth so let’s call the Horned Frogs #6. TCU is a total non-factor in their own city, let alone in the country. That’s what makes their success so impressive. We’ll see how the season pans out for them. The TCU/Utah game should be a classic this year.

So on to game #4 of the weekend which will be tonight…. #3 Boise State vs. #10 Virginia Tech

While on a plane a year ago this time from Salt Lake to Boise, the day of the BSU/Oregon contest, I overheard something from a Bronco fan that cracked me up –

First though, you remember this game. The one that brought us the infamous LeGarrette Blount sucker punch that unfortunately overshadowed what was a total manhandling of the eventual PAC 10 champion.  Remember, Oregon did not have a first down in that game till the second half.

Anyways, back to my story……. I overheard the following conversation taking place on the plane – Bronco fan talking to the guy next to him – “This is a $13 million game for us.” The guy was absolutely right. We all knew if Boise State was able to knock off Oregon in their opener they would likely run the table and end up in a BCS game with a big pay-out. That’s exactly what happened.

Should Boise State win tonight, they have more than $13 million coming their way. They are pretty much going to the BCS title game. BSU plays Oregon State later this month to hopefully bolster their strength of schedule. They would then have to run the table in the WAC again and hope that Nevada and Fresno State or whomever have a decent ranking. If all this pans out, BSU will remain #3 and just wait for Alabama and Ohio State to eventually lose and they will be one of the top 2 teams at the end of the year. With this game right out of the chute, it’s like Boise State is going all in on the very first hand at the World Series of Poker. Not sure how the game came about but good for Boise State for making it happen. It will essentially be a home game for Virginia Tech since it will be played at Fed Ex field, the home of the Washington Redskins. However, I’ve got to think outside the state of Virginia everyone in the country will be pulling for the Broncos tonight.

Not only would Boise’s win be one of the stories, if not the story of the year, it will also cap off a solid opening weekend for the Big 4 against quality BCS opponents.

The opening weekend success will only add to the credibility of these 4 programs and help in future pre-season rankings. It will also leave us to wonder what could have been. Can you imagine what the Mountain West Conference would have looked like in 2011 with the Big 4 all battling it out. Regardless of the bottom of the conference it would have become the 3rd or 4th best conference in America behind the SEC, Big 12, and close to being on par with the Pac 10.

Matt Nielson has been writing about the college sports landscape in Utah and the Intermountain West since 2010. When he’s not pretending to be a professional blogger, he works full time as a residential real estate agent and house flipper. Matt graduated from Brigham Young University in 2000. He and his family reside in Salt Lake City, UT.


  1. Adrian Dayton
    Adrian Dayton09-07-2010

    Congrats on the new blog! I especially love the golfing green in the background.

  2. Andrew

    BSU is off to a good start. Let's see if it sticks second half. Great stuff so far, Matt. Don't be afraid to mix UNLV/UNR into the discussion as well. I realize they aren't on the same level football-wise, but they factor into things come Basketball season.

  3. Kristina

    awesome matt, i'm stoked to read/follow along!

Leave a Reply