FRIDAY FODDER: Can Pack’s intangibles over come Boise’s talent? | NevadaAppeal.com

FRIDAY FODDER: Can Pack’s intangibles over come Boise’s talent?

Joe Santoro
For the Nevada Appeal

Sports fodder for a Friday morning … There is no question that Boise State will have the best football team at Mackay Stadium tonight. There’s a reason the Broncos are a two-touchdown favorite on the road against the No. 19 team in the nation. They’ve earned it. But the best football team doesn’t always win the game as the Nevada Wolf Pack found at out Hawaii last month. Sometimes it’s about the intangibles. And, like the Cal game in Week 3, all of the intangibles will be on the Pack sideline. Home field advantage. Years of frustration against Boise State to keep them focused. Their last chance to beat Boise in the Western Athletic Conference. The last home game for an incredible group of seniors. For Boise, this is just another game on the way to a BCS bowl game. For the Pack, it is the program’s defining moment. Wolf Pack 49, Boise State 48.

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It is almost impossible to hate the Boise State Broncos. They’ve built their football program the right way, with great coaches and great players who have overcome great odds. They are simply the model college football program. Boise State represents everything that is good about college football. Down deep, in your college football gut, you want them to succeed. You want them to win every game just to see if the biased stuffed shirts of the BCS have the nerve to keep them out of the national championship game. If you truly love college football, Wolf Pack fans, there will be no loser tonight for you. If the Pack wins, it will be the greatest win in the program’s history. No question. But if Boise wins, the Broncos, hopefully, will move on to the national title game and represent the Pack and all of the mid-majors in the nation that don’t get the respect they deserve.

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For Boise, though, there can definitely be a loser. A big loser. This is the year Boise State has been gearing up for over the past decade. The Broncos will likely never be better than they are right now. If they lose on today, it will be a gigantic punch to the gut for their program, for the entire WAC, for the future of the Mountain West Conference, for non-automatic qualifiers everywhere. Boise clearly has more to lose than the Wolf Pack. So, OK, maybe all of the intangibles will not be on the Pack’s side.

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Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee (the E does not stand for enlightened) came out on Wednesday and said Boise State and TCU do not deserve a chance to play for the national championship because they play the Little Sisters of the Poor. That is the kind of stupidity Boise State has had to deal with over the past decade. Gee needs to look at some Big Ten schedules this year. He’d see that his own Buckeyes played Marshall, Ohio and Eastern Michigan. He’d see that Michigan played Bowling Green and Massachusetts. He’d see that Penn State played Youngstown State, Kent State and Temple. He might actually learn a few things about college football.

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Gee says he doesn’t like a true playoff system for big-time college football because that can lead “down the slippery slope of professionalism.” Well, guess what, Mr. Gee. You and the rest of the BCS’s stuffed shirts have already fallen down that slippery slope. You are sitting at the base of that greedy mountain, covered by mounds of television and bowl money that you are so desperately trying to keep for yourself. Ohio State, by the way, has a $120 million athletic budget. That’s as professional as you can get. The Kansas City Royals wish they had a budget that large.

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The powers of college football should be embracing Boise State with open arms and not criticizing them at every opportunity. They should be celebrating a game like Nevada-Boise State. If Boise State was doing this in college basketball, they would be honored by a visit to the White House. If Boise wins out and doesn’t go to the title game, college football should be embarrassed.

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Tonight is going to be the WAC’s last great shining moment. With Boise State leaving after this year and Nevada, Fresno State and probably Hawaii (and Utah State?) walking through the exit door in 2012, the WAC is not going to have a game with this type of meaning and impact for a very long time. Maybe ever. This game is Boise’s and Nevada’s parting gift to the WAC. The WAC helped make Boise and Nevada great and Nevada and Boise helped make the WAC the most underrated football conference in the nation. When that final gun sounds tonight, it might be appropriate for someone to draw a tear or two on the WAC logo.