Can We Put This to Bed?
By Paul Myerberg // Sep 5, 2011
Pop in the tape: rewind, fast forward, stop, play, slow-mo, reverse, three-times speed. No matter how you replay Saturday night’s win over Georgia, you come to the same conclusion. Boise State wasn’t just better-coached than an SEC team, playing in SEC country in front of an SEC crowd; Boise State was just better, pure and simple, and that’s the underlying message stemming from yet another marquee win over yet another marquee non-conference opponent.
Boise is too proud to flaunt its high-profile wins, leaving that to a former WAC and future Mountain West foe, but the list of those who fell short against the Broncos reads like a Who’s Who of college football’s elite: Oklahoma, T.C.U., Oregon, Virginia Tech and Georgia, to name a few.
It’s the latter opponent that really stands out. And it’s not just because it’s Georgia, though the Bulldogs are better than they were made out to be on Saturday night. They’ll make a run towards the SEC East, a quest that begins in earnest next Saturday against South Carolina.
The win matters because of the three letters associated with a win over Georgia: SEC. For all of Boise’s recent success, the Broncos lacked a win against the nation’s premier conference. And that’s why, for all intents and purposes, many believed Georgia would take control while playing Boise in its own backyard — there’s speed, there’s athleticism, there’s talent, and then there’s all of the above in the SEC.
How do you overcome speed, talent and athleticism, when all three are firmly in your opponent’s corner? By being methodical; by being well-coached, well-versed in all that you want and need to do; by not making mistakes; by playing confident; by doing everything you’ve done for five years, and doing it well.
And I hope that, with a 35-21 win over the Bulldogs in Atlanta, we can put to bed the idea that Boise State can’t play with — and beat, I promise you — every team in the country. Those that doubted to this point, especially those in the SEC, should no longer have a leg to stand on when belittling Boise’s standing among the upper slice of the country.
The Broncos dominated the time of possession. Made plays on special teams, both in terms of its own kicking and return game and in terms of bottling up Georgia’s own explosiveness in returns. The Broncos stayed consistent and balanced offensively, maintaining a ground game despite the tough sledding afforded the backfield by Georgia’s stout front seven.
The Broncos picked apart the Georgia secondary. Absolutely picked the entire defense apart, actually. Boise took Georgia’s best shot early — the 80-yard touchdown run, the crowd, the noise — and swung back with uppercut after uppercut, not knocking the Bulldogs out but beating and bloodying its quicker, faster, more talented opponent.
Any and all questions were answered. The doubters should be silenced, though they’ll now use Georgia itself as reason to diminish Boise’s key win. Here’s the new line: Georgia’s not that good, they’ll say. Take on a real SEC opponent, they’ll say.
That’s ridiculous. Let the year play out before using that argument — and do the same with T.C.U., as while the Horned Frogs are 0-1 today they’ll be 9-3, if not 10-2, by the time we get to bowl play. Georgia’s bound to do the same: not quite national title material, the Bulldogs are absolutely an SEC East contender, and one of three teams with a valid shot at meeting an Alabama or L.S.U. in the conference title game in December.
Save the negativity. We can put to bed the idea that Boise isn’t fit to share the stage with anyone: the Broncos just went into Atlanta and picked apart Georgia, giving the program perhaps its biggest win to date under Chris Petersen. Next step: Toledo, followed by Tulsa, Nevada, Fresno State, Air Force, T.C.U. and so on. And, if all goes according to plan, another date with an SEC foe in New Orleans on Jan. 9, 2012.
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Tags: Boise State, Chris Petersen, Georgia, SEC
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