Boise State had the college football-watching audience all to themselves last night, as they took the field to trounce laughable Lousiana Tech 49-20. The victory, hampered as it was by some first quarter mistakes, pretty much re-opened the floodgates from fans and columnists on how poor the Broncos' schedule is, and that they'd never survive the SEC, and how horribly unfair it would be for them to waltz into the national championship game with a 26-game winning streak.
I'm always kind of amazed when the poor schedule argument is applied to mid-major teams. It's as if people think that every year Boise State gets a menu of 119 teams to play, and keeps opting for the empty calories of unknown teams. That's not how this works. BSU is stuck with the eight teams from the WAC; considering that in their fifteen years in D1-A they've had their first conference drop football altogether and the second lose half its members to Conference USA, I think you can safely say they're playing in the strongest conference that will have them. That's leave them four games to make a championship-caliber schedule to satisfy the old guard fans, and only one tiny little problem. What team in their right mind is willing to schedule Boise State?
I'm sure the Broncos have already abandoned the idea of home-and-homes with any BCS conference schools outside the Pacific Northwest, and are willing to travel anywhere, to play anyone. And yet there aren't a lot of schools lining up for a sure out-of-conference loss with a no-market team. The same thing happened to Hawaii a few years back. The good, BCS conference teams everybody wants Boise State to prove themselves against won't play Boise State. It's high-risk, no reward.
Maybe it's a function of my Twitter feed, but it's SEC fans who seem to complain about Boise State's schedule the most. In part that's because of the primacy in their minds of the SEC conference schedule. No other team in the country could survive the SEC conference schedule; it's is the gauntlet that cannot be traversed, so if an SEC team drops a game along the way, who can blame them? Let them play in the championship game anyway. They've worked so hard, the dears. (Never mind that Boise State would happily join the SEC if asked. Or any conference, for that matter.)
That's why I have the perfect solution to all this tedious bickering about schedules. It merely requires a little bit of forethought and cooperations, and if the SEC is truly as good as they say they are it will neatly eliminate every mid-major team from the championship picture. Here's how it works:
Every couple of years, the 12 teams of the SEC sit down, and identify the four to six mid-major teams likely to break into the polls. And let's be honest, it'll rarely crack four teams once Utah is safely ensconced in the Pac-12. So you take your list of, say, Boise State, BYU, TCU and Nevada and have each SEC team schedule one. If you like coordinate it so they'd play the SEC teams back-to-back or back-to-back-to-back. Schedule them home-and-home, and make the offer as public as possible. Every mid-major contender will have to either play a two or three game SEC slate, or let it be known that when given the opportunity to do so, ducked.
The effect on the typical SEC team schedule would be minimal. Each team would after all only be playing one mid-major, and some years would draw the equivalent of 2010 BYU or post-Colt Brennan Hawaii, and would win a laugher. You may have a team lose a game that had they instead scheduled Lousiana Tech squeaked into a bowl at 6-6, but you'll almost surely knock a team or two out of the BCS altogether, and that freed spot would most likely be nabbed by an SEC team. They're a bowl revenue-sharing conference; everybody's share of the pot gets bigger.
So do it. Institute the SEC Exchange Program, and run the mid-majors right out of the national picture. Send the Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammering RVers to Boise, and the Geaux Tigers folk to Fort Worth. The football games will be better and the whining can stop. What's not to love?