Boise State Stacks Up Well Vs. Elite Teams

One of the knocks that some people have against Boise State is that they don't play anyone. So we compared the 35 teams that have finished in the top 15 at the end of the year. As the study shows, the argument against Boise State rings hollow.

Notwithstanding Boise State 's remarkable success against all odds in the last four years, there exist a few gloomy Gus's.

They say that Boise State doesn't play a tough schedule being in the Western Athletic Conference.  Of course, that will all change when the Broncos enter their third conference since beginning major college football in 1996.  Next fall, Boise State will play in the Mountain West Conference.  

Nevertheless, to go along with the argument, Boise State could not beat the great teams on a regular basis.  

There are many ways to measure the "power" in a powerhouse college football team.  One of the best is to consider how they did against other powers.  In this study, we will evaluate the 35 college football teams that have finished in the Top 15 in the USA Today rankings in at least once in the last four years.  We will examine their schedules with a fine-toothed comb and see how each of the 35 performed against other Top 15 teams.  We will call those games "power games".  Let us notice unerringly how Boise State has done in power games, compare the number of power games that the Broncos have played vs. those that other Top 15 teams have played, and notice how the teams do out of conference.  

Coach Chris Petersen's team wins when they play elite competition.  The Broncos are 4-1, the second-best mark in the nation over four years.  USC's sparkling 7-1 record tops everyone, while West Virginia is 3-5, Texas 6-4 and Florida 8-6.  

Boise State ranks ninth in the nation in wins over teams that finished in the Top 15 in the last four years (Power Schedule). These rankings bestow credit to those powers that tackle a tough schedule year-in and year-out and break ties by the number of power games over the four-year period.  

Florida (8-6) has done the best out of teams that have played at least 10 Top 15 teams in the period while USC is 7-1, LSU is 6-9, Alabama is 6-8, Texas (6-4) is fourth in this category.  

LSU 5-9) and Ohio State (5-5) are the other teams that have more wins against elite teams than Boise State .  So even when ranking the teams this way, the Broncos are in the top 10.  

Playing power teams within your own conference is one thing.  Those are games that essentially are "scheduled for you".  Despite the Automatic Qualifying Conferences saying Boise State could not win week in and week out in a conference like theirs, observe that not one of these conferences has invited supposed weakling Boise State into their conference so they could beat up on them!   Quite contrary, they don't want anything to do with them.

So since the other power teams have neither beaten Boise State nor joined them, they essentially have shut the Broncos out of their system while at the same time decrying their success achieved against anyone who will play them.   

Since Boise State has not been invited to any of the AQ conferences during the "Great Expansion of 2010", they have endeavored to schedule games against the power teams out-of-conference. Many have declined, as has been well chronicled in the media.  To their great credit, a few have accepted, while a few others have been forced to play the Broncos in a bowl game.  

So a third way to evaluate the power teams is to consider how they do not against a preordained schedule, but the strength of schedule that each school's Athletic Director sets up—their out-of-conference (OOC) schedule .  

Using this ranking and again rewarding teams that have the most challenging OOC schedule, we notice that in the games that a team has a preference in playing; Boise State ranks second in the nation to USC.  The Trojans are unbeaten against four power teams outside the Pac-10 Conference in the past four years while Boise State is 4-1. 

Florida is third with a 3-0 mark, Alabama and LSU both are 2-1, followed by Ohio State (2-4), Texas (2-2), Oklahoma and Oregon with 1-4 records, and Georgia Tech, TCU and Virginia Tech, all with 1-3 marks.  

Although all of the teams listed in the rankings have finished one or multiple years in the final Coaches' Poll Top 15, it is noteworthy that several have less than sterling records against other power teams.  

Boston College , California , Kansas , Mississippi and West Virginia all have a grand total of one win over an elite team outside of their own conference.  Nebraska is 0-5 outside the cozy confines of the Big 12, while Arkansas and Cincinnati are 0-4 outside the SEC and Big East, respectively and Arizona State , Penn State and Texas Tech are 0-1 outside the Pac-10, Big 10 and Big 12, respectively.   

Auburn , BYU, Louisville , Missouri , Pittsburgh and Rutgers have not ventured outside their own conferences for a game against a power team in the last four years.   

It is also worth noting that Boise State stacks up well against the other 34 teams when you examine the actual number of power games that each team has played in the period.  Florida, LSU and Arkansas each faced 14 power teams while Nebraska and Tennessee played 13 and Oklahoma and Mississippi played 12 power teams each.

 To be sure, Boise State has not been afforded any opportunity to play power teams in the WAC but the Broncos have compensated for that by playing five OOC games against power teams.  USC, certainly a highly-ranked team over the last four years, has played seven power teams, not even one per year more than Boise State.  TCU, Utah and Virginia Tech have also played a total of seven, and Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Iowa , and Penn Stateeight.

Meanwhile, Big East Conference power West Virginia (four games) has actually played less power games than the Broncos.  This despite the fact that they are in an AQ conference while Boise State is not.  Louisville, Pittsburgh and Rutgers have played five, the same as the Broncos.

In conclusion, Boise State matches up well against the other power teams no matter what formula you care to investigate.  They are second in the nation in two of the three rankings and ninth even when ranked not by winning percentage but by number of Top 15 teams played over the four-year period.  

Here is how the power teams of the last four years stack up.  

 

                                                                         

Best Four-Year Record:

1.  USC 7-1

2.  Boise State 4-1

3.  West Virginia 3-1

4.  Texas 6-4

5.  Florida 8-6

6.  Ohio State 5-5

7.  Boston College 2-1

8.  Georgia 4-5

9.   Alabama 6-8

10.  Oklahoma 5-7

11.  LSU 6-9

12.  Iowa 3-5

13.  California 2-4

14.  Virginia Tech 2-5

15.  Auburn 3-7

15.  Texas Tech 3-7

17.  Utah 2-5

18.  Georgia Tech 2-6

18.  Oregon 2-6

18.  TCU 2-6

21.  Cincinnati 2-7

22.  Louisville 1-4

22.  Pittsburgh 1-4

22.  Rutgers 1-4

25.  Michigan 2-9

26.  Mississippi 2-10

27.  Tennessee 2-11

28.  Kansas 1-6

29.  Arkansas 2-13

30.  Missouri 1-7

30.  Penn State 1-7

30.  Wisconsin 1-7

33.  BYU 0-3

34.  Arizona State 0-8

35.  Nebraska 0-13

 

 

Power Schedule:

1.  Florida 7-5

2.  USC 7-1

3.  LSU 6-9

4.  Alabama 6-8

5.  Texas 6-4

6.  Oklahoma 5-7

7.  Ohio State 5-5

8.  Georgia 4-5

9.  Boise State 4-1

10.  Auburn 3-7

10.  Texas Tech 3-7

12.  Iowa 3-5

13.  West Virginia 3-1

14.  Arkansas 2-13

15.  Tennessee 2-11

16.  Mississippi 2-10

17.  Michigan 2-9

18.  Cincinnati 2-7

19.  Georgia Tech 2-6

19.  Oregon 2-6

21.  TCU 2-5

21.  Utah 2-5

21.  Virginia Tech 2-5

24.  California 2-4

25.  Boston College 2-1

26.  Missouri 1-7

26.  Penn State 1-7

26.  Wisconsin 1-7

27.  Kansas 1-6

30.  Louisville 1-4

30.  Pittsburgh 1-4

30.  Rutgers 1-4

33.  Nebraska 0-13

34.  Arizona State 0-8

35.  BYU 0-3

 

 

OOC Power Record:

  1. USC 4-0
  2. Boise State 4-1
  3. Florida 3-0
  4. Alabama 2-1

4.    LSU 2-1

  1. Ohio State 2-4
  2. Texas 2-2
  3. Oklahoma 1-4

9.   Oregon 1-3

  1. Georgia Tech 1-3

9. Virginia Tech 1-3

  1. Michigan 1-2
  2. TCU 1-2

12. Utah 1-2

  1. Iowa 1-1

15. Tennessee 1-1

15. Wisconsin 1-1

18. California 1-0

18.  Georgia 1-0

  1. Kansas 1-0

18. Mississippi 1-0

18. West Virginia 1-0

  1. Nebraska 0-5
  2. Arkansas 0-4

24. Cincinnati 0-4

26. Arizona State 0-1

26. Penn State 0-1

26. Texas Tech 0-1

29. Auburn 0-0

29.  Boston College 0-0

29. BYU 0-0

29. Louisville 0-0

29. Missouri 0-0

29. Pittsburgh 0-0

29. Rutgers 0-0

 

 

Who They Played:

1.  USC 6-1 (2006:  Beat #14 California 23-9, Beat # 8 Michigan 32-18; 2007:  None; 2008: Beat #9 Ohio State 35-3, Beat #10 Oregon 44-10, Beat #8 Penn State 38-24; 2009: Beat #5 Ohio State 18-15, Lost to #11 Oregon 47-27  

2.  Boise State 4-1 (2006:  Beat #10 Oklahoma 43-42; 2007:  none; 2008: Beat #10 Oregon 37-32, lost to #7 TCU 17-16; 2009:  Beat #11 Oregon 19-8, Beat #6 TCU 17-10  

3.  West Virginia 3-1 (2006:  Lost to #6 Louisville 44-34, Beat #11 Rutgers 41-39; 2007:  Beat #8 Oklahoma 48-28; 2008:  None; 2009:  Lost to #8 Cincinnati 24-21, Beat #15 Pittsburgh 19-16 

4.  Texas 6-4 (2006:  Lost to #2 Ohio State 24-7, Beat #11 Oklahoma 28-10; 2007:  Lost to #8 Oklahoma 28-21, Beat #15 Arizona State 52-34; 2008:  Beat #5 Oklahoma 45-35, Lost to #12 Texas Tech 39-33, Beat #9 Ohio State 24-21; 2009:  Beat #14 Nebraska 13-12, Lost to #1 Alabama 37-21  

5.  Florida 8-6 (2006:  Beat #3 LSU 23-10, Lost to #9 Auburn 27-17, Beat #14 Arkansas 38-28, Beat #2 Ohio State 41-14; 2007:  Beat #11 Tennessee 59-20, Lost to #15 Auburn 20-17, Lost to #1 LSU 28-24, Lost to #2 Georgia 42-30; 2008:  Lost to #14 Mississippi 31-30, Beat #13 Georgia 49-10, Beat #6 Alabama 31-20, Beat #5 Oklahoma 24-14; 2009:  Lost to #1 Alabama 32-13, Beat #8 Cincinnati 51-24  

6.  Georgia 4-5 (2006:  Lost to #1 Florida 21-14, Beat #8 Auburn 37-15; 2007:  Lost to #11 Tennessee 35-14, Beat #12 Florida 42-30, Beat #15 Auburn 45-20; 2008:  Lost to #6 Alabama 41-30, Lost to #1 Florida 49-10; 2009:  Lost to #3 Florida 41-17, Beat #13 Georgia Tech 30-24  

6.  Ohio State 5-5 (2006:  Beat #12 Texas 24-7, Beat #8 Michigan 42-39, Lost to #1 Florida 41-4; 2007:  Lost to #1 LSU 38-24; 2008:  Lost to #3 USC 35-3, Lost to #8 Penn State 13-6, Lost to Texas 24-21; 2009:  Beat #9 Penn State 24-7, Beat #7 Iowa 27-24, Beat #11 Oregon 26-17)  

8.  Boston College 2-2 (2006:  Beat #15 BYU 30-23; 2007:  Beat #9 Virginia Tech 14-10, Lost to #9 Virginia Tech 30-16; 2008:  None; 2009:  Lost to #15 Virginia Tech 30-12)  

9. Alabama 6-8 (2006:  Lost to #1 Florida 28-13, Lost to #3 LSU 28-14, Lost to #9 Auburn 22-15; 2007:  Lost to #2 Georgia 26-23, Beat #12 Tennessee 41-17, Lost to #1 LSU 41-34, Lost to #15 Auburn 17-10; 2008:   Beat #13 Georgia 41-30, Beat #14 Mississippi 24-20, Lost to #1 Florida 31-20, Lost to #2 Utah 31-17; 2009:  Beat #10 Virginia Tech 34-24, Beat #3 Florida 32-13, Beat #2 Texas 37-21

10.  Oklahoma 5-7 (2006:  Lost to #13 Texas 28-10, Lost to #5 Boise State 43-42; 2007:  Beat #10 Texas 28-21, Beat #4 Missouri 41-31, Beat #4 Missouri 38-17, Lost to #6 West Virginia 48-28; 2008:  Beat #7 TCU 35-10, Lost to #4 Texas 45-35, Beat #12 Texas Tech 45-21; 2009:  Lost to #12 BYU 14-13, Lost to #2 Texas 16-13, Lost to #14 Nebraska 10-3

11.  LSU 6-9 (2006:  Lost to #9 Auburn 7-3, Lost to #1 Florida 23-10, Beat #15 Arkansas 31-26; 2007:  Beat #9 Virginia Tech 48-7, Beat #13 Florida 28-24, Beat #15 Auburn 30-24, Beat #12 Tennessee 21-14, Beat #5 Ohio State 38-24; 2008:  Lost to #1 Florida 51-21, Lost to #13 Georgia 52-38, Lost to #6 Alabama 26-21, Lost to #14 Mississippi 31-13; 2009:  Lost to #3 Florida 13-3, Lost to #1 Alabama 24-15, Lost to #9 Penn State 19-17

12.  Iowa 3-5 (2006:  Lost to #2 Ohio State 38-17, Lost to #8 Michigan 20-6, Lost to #7 Wisconsin 24-21, Lost to #13 Texas 26-24; 2007:  None; 2008:  Beat #8 Penn State 24-23; 2009:  Beat #9 Penn State 21-10, Lost to #5 Ohio State 27-24, Beat #13 Georgia Tech 24-14

13.  California 2-4 (2006:  Lost to #4 USC 23-9; 2007:  Beat #12 Tennessee 45-31, Lost to #3 USC 24-17; 2008:  Beat #10 Oregon 24-16, Lost to #3 USC 17-3; 2009:  Lost to #11 Oregon 42-3

14.  Virginia Tech 2-5 (2006:  None; 2007:  Lost to #1 LSU 48-7, Lost to #11 Boston College 14-10, Beat #11 Boston College 30-16, Lost to #7 Kansas 24-21; 2008:  None; 2009:  Lost to #1 Alabama 34-24, Beat #14 Nebraska 16-15, Lost to #13 Georgia Tech 28-23

15.  Auburn 3-7 (2006:  Beat #3 LSU 7-3, Lost to #15 Arkansas 27-10, Beat #1 Florida 27-17; 2007:  Beat #13 Florida 20-17, Lost to #1 LSU 30-24, Lost to #2 Georgia 45-20; 2008:  Lost to #14 Mississippi 14-7, Lost to #13 Georgia 17-13, Lost to #6 Alabama 36-0; 2009:  Lost to #1 Alabama 26-21

15.  Texas Tech 3-7 (2006:  Lost to #13 Texas 35-31, lost to #11 Oklahoma 34-24; 2007:  Lost to #4 Missouri 41-10, Lost to #10 Texas 59-43, Beat #8 Oklahoma 34-27; 2008:  Beat #4 Texas 39-33, Lost to #5 Oklahoma 65-21, Lost to #14 Mississippi 47-34; 2009:  Lost to #2 Texas 34-24, Beat #14 Nebraska 31-10

17.  Utah 2-5 (2006:  Lost to #5 Boise State 36-3; 2007:  Lost to #14 BYU 17-10; 2008:  Beat #7 TCU 13-10, Beat #6 Alabama 31-17; 2009:  Lost to 11 Oregon 31-24, Lost to #6 TCU 55-28, Lost to #12 BYU 26-23

18.  Georgia Tech 2-6 (2006:  Lost to #10 West Virginia 38-35; 2007:  Lost to #11 Boston College 24-10, Lost to #9 Virginia Tech 27-3, Lost to #2 Georgia 31-17; 2008:  Lost to #15 Virginia Tech 20-17, Beat #13 Georgia 45-42; 2009:  Beat #10 Virginia Tech 28-23, Lost to #7 Iowa 24-14

18.  Oregon 2-6 (2006:  Beat #11 Oklahoma 34-33, Lost to #14 California 45-24, Lost to #4 USC 35-13; 2007:  Beat #3 USC 24-17; 2008:  Lost to #11 Boise State 37-32, Lost to #3 USC 44-10;  2009:  Lost to #4 Boise State 19-8, Lost to #5 Ohio State 26-17)

18.  TCU 2-6 (2006:  None; 2007:  Lost to #10 Texas 34-13, Lost to #14 BYU 27-22; 2008:  Lost to #5 Oklahoma 35-10, Lost to #2 Utah 13-10, Beat #11 Boise State 17-16; 2009:  Beat #12 BYU 38-7, Lost to #4 Boise State 17-10

21.  Cincinnati 2-7 (2006:  Lost to #2 Ohio State 37-7, Lost to #6 Louisville 23-17, Lost to #10 West Virginia 42-24, Beat #12 Rutgers 30-11; 2007:  Lost to #10 West Virginia 28-23; 2008:  Lost to #5 Oklahoma 52-26, Lost to #15 Virginia Tech 20-7; 2009:  Beat #15 Pittsburgh 45-44, Lost to #3 Florida 51-24

22.  Louisville 1-4 (2006:  Beat #10 West Virginia 44-34, Lost to #12 Rutgers 28-25; 2007:  Lost to #6 West Virginia 38-31; 2008:  None; 2009:  Lost to #15 Pittsburgh 35-10, Lost to #8 Cincinnati 41-10

22.  Pittsburgh 1-4 (2006:  Lost to #12 Rutgers 20-10, Lost to 10 West Virginia 45-27, Lost to #6 Louisville 48-24; 2007:  Beat #6 West Virginia 13-9; 2008:  None; 2009:  Lost to #8 Cincinnati 45-44

22.  Rutgers 1-4 (2006:  Beat #6 Louisville 28-25, Lost to #10 West Virginia 41-39; 2007:  Lost to #6 West Virginia 31-3; 2008:  None; 2009:  Lost to #8 Cincinnati 47-15, Lost to #15 Pittsburgh 24-17 

25.  Michigan 2-9 (2006:  Beat #7 Wisconsin 27-13, Lost to #2 Ohio State 42-39, Lost to #4 USC 32-18; 2007:  Lost to #5 Ohio State 14-3, Beat #13 Florida 41-35; 2008:  Lost to #2 Utah 25-23, Lost to #8 Penn State 46-17, Lost to #9 Ohio State 42-7; 2009:  Lost to #7 Iowa 30-28, Lost to #9 Penn State 35-10, Lost to #5 Ohio State 21-10 

26.  Mississippi 2-10 (2006:  Lost to #15 Arkansas 38-3, Lost to #9 Auburn 23-17, Lost to #3 LSU 23-20; 2007:  Lost to #4 Missouri 38-25, Lost to #13 Florida 30-24, Lost to #2 Georgia 45-17, Lost to #15 Auburn 17-3, Lost to #1 LSU 41-24; 2008:  Beat #1 Florida 31-30, Lost to #6 Alabama 24-20, Beat #12 Texas Tech 47-34; 2009:  Lost to #1 Alabama 22-3

27.  Tennessee 2-11 (2006:  Beat #14 California 35-18, Lost to #1 Florida 21-20, Lost to #3 LSU 28-24, Lost to #15 Arkansas 31-14; 2007:  Lost to #13 Florida 59-20, Beat #2 Georgia 35-14, Lost to #1 LSU 21-14; 2008:  Lost to #1 Florida 30-6, Lost to #13 Georgia 26-14, Lost to #6 Alabama 29-9; 2009:  Lost to #3 Florida 23-13, Lost to #1 Alabama 12-10, Lost to #10 Virginia Tech 37-14

28.  Arkansas 2-12 (Lost to #4 USC 50-14, Beat #9 Auburn 27-10, Lost to #3 LSU 31-26, Lost to #1 Florida 38-28, Lost to #7 Wisconsin 17-14; 2007:   Lost to #15 Auburn 9-7, Lost to #12 Tennessee 34-13, Beat #1 LSU 50-48, Lost to #4 Missouri 38-7; 2008:  Lost to #6 Alabama 49-14, Lost to #4 Texas 52-10, Lost to #1 Florida 38-7, Lost to #14 Mississippi 23-21

29.  Kansas 1-6 (2006:  None;  2007:  Lost to 34 Missouri 36-28, Beat #9 Virginia Tech 24-21; 2008:  Lost to #5 Oklahoma 45-31, Lost to #12 Texas Tech 63-21, Lost to #4 Texas 35-7; 2009:  Lost to #14 Nebraska 31-17, Lost to #2 Texas 51-20

30.  Missouri 1-7 (2006:  Lost to #11 Oklahoma 26-10; 2007:  Lost to #8 Oklahoma 41-31, Beat #7 Kansas 36-28, Lost to #8 Oklahoma 38-17; 2008:  Lost to #4 Texas 56-31, Lost to #5 Oklahoma 62-21; 2009:  Lost to #14 Nebraska 27-12, Lost to #2 Texas 41-7

30.  Penn State 1-7 (2006:  Lost to #2 Ohio State 28-6, Lost to #8 Michigan 17-10, Lost to #7 Wisconsin 13-3; 2007:  Lost to #5 Ohio State 37-17; 2008:  Beat #9 Ohio State 13-6, Lost to #3 USC 38-24; 2009:  Lost to #7 Iowa 21-10, Lost to #5 Ohio State 24-7 

30. Wisconsin 1-7 (2006:  Lost to #8 Michigan 27-13, Beat #15 Arkansas 17-14; 2007:  Lost to #5 Ohio State 38-17, Lost to #12 Tennessee 21-17; 2008:   Lost to #9 Ohio State 20-17, Lost to #8 Penn State 48-7; 2009:  Lost to #5 Ohio State 31-13, Lost to #7 Iowa 20-10

33.  BYU 0-3 (2006:  None; 2007:  None; 2008:  Lost to #7 TCU 32-7, Lost to #2 Utah 48-24; 2009:  Lost to #6 TCU 38-7

34.  Arizona State 0-8 (2006:  Lost to #14 California 49-21, Lost to #4 USC 28-21; 2007:  Lost to #3 USC 44-24, Lost to #10 Texas 52-34; 2008:  Lost to #13 Georgia 27-10, Lost to #3 USC 28-0, Lost to #10 Oregon 54-20; 2009:  Lost to #11 Oregon 44-21 

35.  Nebraska 0-13 (2006:  Lost to #4 USC 28-10, Lost to #13 Texas 22-20, Lost to #11 Oklahoma 21-7, Lost to #9 Auburn 17-14; 2007:  Lost to #3 USC 49-31, Lost to #4 Missouri 41-6, Lost to #10 Texas 28-25, Lost to #7 Kansas 76-39; 2008:  Lost to #15 Virginia Tech 35-30, Lost to #12 Texas Tech 37-31, Lost to #5 Oklahoma 62-28; 2009:  Lost to #10 Virginia Tech 16-15, Lost to #2 Texas 13-12)


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