Boise State Lets Performance Do Their Talking

Boise State has enjoyed a phenomenal run of football success since being accepted as a major college team in 1996. They have finished in the Top 15 in five of their 13 seasons thus far, a 38.5% rate. That percentage ranks 12th among the 120 FBS teams.

With a team on the verge of starting in the top 15 in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches Polls for the first time in its 14th season playing at the "major" college level, Boise State already has achieved an impressive record in finishing in the final top 15 in those two polls.  The Broncos have placed in the final top 15 in at least one of those polls five times in the last seven years.  Boise State was a top 15 finisher in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 and again last year.  In other words, the Broncos finish in the top 15 at a .385 clip (five times in 13 seasons).  

But how do the Broncos compare historically with all the "Automatic Qualifier" Conference teams (so designated by the Bowl Championship Series system), as well as other noted non-AQ Conference teams, BYU, Utah, Texas Christian, Fresno State, Marshall, and Southern Mississippi?  For the "major" college division (currently the Football Bowl Subdivision teams), the polling by the AP service began in 1936, and the coaches started polling in 1950.  Thus, the polls go back 73 full seasons.  

In counting the number of seasons played at the "major college" level since that 1936 season and tallying the top 15 finishes in either poll for a season, it is possible to calibrate the Bronco record of success as a Top 15 team. Boise State ranks 12th among the 120 FBS teams in Top 15 success.

 

The Rankings:

            Team                         Top 15          Total Seasons               Percentage

                                                                      as "major"  

1)         Ohio State                    48                    73                                .658

2)         Michigan                      46                    73                                .630

3)         Oklahoma                    44                    73                                .603

3)         Notre Dame                 44                    73                                .603

5)         Alabama                       41                    73                                .562

6)         USC                            39                    73                                 .534

7)         Texas                           38                    73                                 .521

7)         Nebraska                     38                    73                                 .521

9)         Tennessee                    37                    73                                .507

10)       Florida State                 25                    54                                 .463

11)       Penn State                    30                    73                                 .411

12)       Boise State                 5                      13                                .385

13)       Miami                           24                    63                                .381

14)       Auburn                         27                    73                                .370

14)       Louisiana State            27                    73                                .370

14)       UCLA                          27                    73                                .370

17)       Georgia                        26                    73                                .356

18)       Florida                         25                    73                                .343

19)       Arkansas                      22                    73                                .301

20)       Texas A & M               19                    73                                .260

21)       Washington                  18                    73                                .247

22)       Arizona State                12                    51                                .236

23)       Mississippi                    17                    73                                .233

23)       Georgia Tech                17                    73                                .233

25)       Wisconsin                     15                    73                                .206

25)       Iowa                            15                    73                                .206

 

Other Notable Teams

 

            California                     11                    73                                .151

            Colorado                     11                    73                                .151

            BYU                            9                      71                                .127

            TCU                            8                      73                                .110

            Stanford                       8                      73                                .110

            West Virginia                7                      70                                .100

            Kansas                         7                      73                                .096

            Kansas State                7                      73                                .096

            Boston College             6                      70                                .086

            Oregon                         6                      73                                .082

            Oregon State                6                      73                                .082

            Washington State          6                      73                                .082

            Texas Tech                   6                      73                                .082

           

 

Teams with 5 or Fewer Top 15 Finishes

 

            Oklahoma State            5                      70                                .071

            Kentucky                     5                      73                                .069

            Louisville                      3                      48                                .063

            Arizona                        4                      68                                .059

            North Carolina State     4                      69                                .058

            Virginia                         4                      69                                .058

            South Carolina              4                      70                                .057

            Utah                             4                      71                                .056

            Miss State                    4                      73                                .055

            Marshall                       1                      32                                .031

            Indiana                         2                      73                                .027

            Southern Miss              1                      47                                .021

            Vanderbilt                    1                      73                                .014

            South Florida                0                      8                                  .000

            Connecticut                  0                      9                                  .000

            Cincinnati                     0                      53                                .000

            Wake Forest                0                      70                                .000

            Iowa State                    0                      73                                .000

            Fresno State                 0                      73                                .000

 

This record does not mean that Boise State has bettered the great traditions of a Louisiana State or Georgia.  Those schools have the multiple major bowl wins, the national titles and the storied accomplishments that secure their genuine accomplishment built on decades of excellence at the highest level.  And Boise State hasn't matched the national championships of TCU and BYU, and is behind the Utes in BCS Bowl hardware.  

However, the record of accomplishment in such a short span of time is to suggest that the Broncos may be following a trajectory enjoyed by a Miami or Florida State—or it may be that the Broncos are enjoying a golden age such as Arizona State under Frank Kush or BYU under Lavelle Edwards. 


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