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CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Boise State needs another Oklahoma 'miracle'

The undefeated Broncos could be shut out of BCS bowl game if the Sooners can't beat Oklahoma State.

November 26, 2009|Chris Dufresne
  • Boise State running back Ian Johnson proposed to his girlfriend, cheerleader Chrissy Popadics, after a so-called miracle win over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl. The Broncos might need another miracle involving Oklahoma to make it to a major bowl this season.
Boise State running back Ian Johnson proposed to his girlfriend, cheerleader… (Ted S. Warren / Associated…)

Football and fate become fickle and fantastic when you can suggest Boise State needs to offer Oklahoma trick plays this week to help the Sooners defeat Oklahoma State.

How about the "Statue of Stillwater," a variation of a play Boise State once used to win a Fiesta Bowl?

Maybe Ian Johnson could fly to Norman this week and make another proposal.

There has to be something left in Boise's bag of miracles that might help Oklahoma.

Sometimes, in college football, your interests change.

Three years after Boise State shocked -- some would say embarrassed -- the Sooners in a 2007 Fiesta Bowl for the ages, Boise now needs Norman's help.

It needs Oklahoma to beat Oklahoma State.

An Oklahoma victory in Norman almost assures Boise State will not get left out of a major bowl game if it finishes 13-0.

An Oklahoma State victory, though, would make the Cowboys Bowl Championship Series eligible at 10-2 and probably knock Boise State out.

And that would only stoke criticism of a controversial BCS system that is already being chased by any angry mob -- and the United States Congress.

As it stands: Texas Christian is one victory against New Mexico (1-10) from finishing undefeated and securing the BCS berth for conferences whose champions do not receive automatic bids.

The guarantee, though, is only for the highest ranked "non-AQ" team, meaning an undefeated Boise State could get left out of a BCS game for the second straight year and third time since 2004.

Not good.

If the top teams win out, three of the four BCS at-large bids appear to be set. The loser of Florida-Alabama will go to the Sugar Bowl, TCU will be a "must take" out of the Mountain West with a third bid going to Penn State or Iowa.

If Oklahoma State wins, the Fiesta Bowl will feel obligated to take the 10-2 school from the Big 12, its partner conference.

If Oklahoma State loses, Boise State is almost a lock to play in the Fiesta, Sugar or Orange bowls.

Here is where it gets political.

Last Friday night, as Boise was dismantling Utah State in Logan, Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Karl Benson, not exactly a friend of the BCS, said TCU and Boise State both making major bowls this year would prove the system is fair.

If Boise State gets squeezed out again, though, the political fur is really going to fly.

The BCS vs. Playoff battle heated up this week when the BCS retained the firm of former George W. Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer to handle public relations for college football's organizational arm. The BCS is pushing back against a recent pro-playoff publicity campaign.

This is rivalry week all right: USC-UCLA, Auburn-Alabama, Florida State-Florida and the BCS vs. Boise.

Boise State can't break out the kazoos and toot for Oklahoma unless it takes care of Nevada on Friday, no easy task.

Nevada has won eight straight since opening the season 0-3. The Wolf Pack leads the nation in rushing, averaging 373 yards a game. Nevada's scoring average of 41 points trails only Houston, Texas and national leader Boise State.

Boise State Coach Chris Petersen this week called Nevada, "the hottest team in the country," and he is probably right. ". . . Once they got it going, no one's really been able to slow them down. It will be our biggest challenge, for sure, that we've had in a long, long time around here."

But at least it's at home, on the blue turf.

Why should Boise be comforted?

Oklahoma has lost two home games since Bob Stoops took over the program in 1999. Oklahoma leads the all-time series against Oklahoma State, 79-17-7. The Cowboys have defeated the Sooners only six times since 1966.

Why should Boise be nervous?

One of Oklahoma's two home losses since 1999 was to Oklahoma State. The rivalry is known as "Bedlam" and this year's Oklahoma team is only 6-5, coming off a 41-13 loss last week at Texas Tech.

If Oklahoma State wins, bedlam continues -- for the BCS.

Blitz package

* USC is on the list of 20 schools still being considered for 10 available spots in five BCS games. How is that? USC can't win the Pac-10's automatic bid to the Rose Bowl, which will go to the Oregon-Oregon State winner on Dec. 3, but the Trojans could still finish 9-3 and be ranked in the top 14. That would make USC eligible to be considered for a BCS at-large berth. It would require USC moving up six spots from its No. 20 BCS spot and a string of improbable upsets.

* In this week's Associated Press media poll, the No. 24 Trojans are ranked ahead of a team they lost to, No. 26 Stanford, but behind three teams they beat -- No. 9 Ohio State, No. 16 Oregon State and No. 21 California.

* Charlie Weis, who is probably coaching his last game at Notre Dame on Saturday, is 2-0 as Irish coach at Stanford Stadium. Notre Dame's season-ending win in Palo Alto in 2005 earned the Irish a BCS bid to the Fiesta Bowl. Two years ago, Notre Dame salvaged a 3-9 season after winning its last game at Stanford. Notre Dame has won seven straight in the series but few are expecting the Irish to make it eight.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

twitter.com/DufresneLATimes

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