Whether you agree with the hype surrounding the Broncos or not, and whether you agree that they are a top ten team this season or last...one thing is certain - Peterson's squad is right where we want the Dawgs to be nationally.
That move will be possible, like last year's rise to No. 3 in both the Coach's and Associated Press polls, because of another schedule that shrewdly provides another shot at a name-brand heavy in a primetime, nationally televised showcase (last year it was Virginia Tech on Labor Day; this year, BSU opens againstGeorgia in the annual Chick-Fil-A Classic in Atlanta), followed by another round with fellow giant killer TCUin October. It doesn't hurt that the Horned Frogs are certain to hold on to some significant poll respect themselves despite rolling out of the greenest lineups in the country in the fall, or that the rest of the Mountain West voted to move the only Boise State-TCU matchup as conference rivals from Fort Worth to the blue turf in Boise, where the Broncos haven't lost a regular season game in 10 years. They also keep their most consistently respectable rivals from the WAC, future Mountain West defectors Fresno State and Nevada, which should keep the non-conference strength of schedule from bottoming out in the BCS' computer polls.But just as important as any of the details of Boise's case in 2011, specifically, is the simple fact that voters are accustomed to thinking about Boise State among the top outfits in the country, and showed last year that they're increasingly willing to elevate the Broncos into the higher reaches as long as they keep winning. All indications are that that respect will extend into this fall, and that Boise has the lineup and schedule to exploit it again. Whether it extends beyond this fall, after Moore graduates, TCU moves to the Big East and the Mountain West evolves into the Nouveau WAC, we don't know. At this point, though, anyone arguing the Broncos don't have the juice to make a national championship run is either suspiciously confident that another undefeated season is off the table, or just hasn't been paying attention.
And while we're on the subject...183 days.