and they're right.

But is it really a good thing that James Madison's upset of Virginia Tech in September could determine which teams play for the national championship in January?


While No. 3 Boise State had a week off to bask in the glow of its dramatic victory against Virginia Tech last Monday night in Landover, Md., the Broncos' national title hopes were taking a beating in Blacksburg.

James Madison, a very good FCS team that won a national title in 2004, pulled off the biggest upset of a Saturday filled with marquee games, knocking off the Hokies 21-16 at Lane Stadium.

"It was like a dream come true when the clock hit zero," cornerback Leavander Jones said. "It was like, 'Oh my God, we did it!'"

And back in Idaho, the Boise State Broncos and their fans must have had a similar reaction, just replace the joy with dismay.

While James Madison provided further evidence of increased parity in college football, how the gap between the haves and the have nots is not as wide as it once was, the Dukes were undermining the team that has done more than any other to prove that point in recent seasons.

Yes, the irony is James Madison hurt Boise State's chances to play in the national championship game by taking the luster off what the Broncos figured would be their crowning achievement this season — a victory against a Virginia Tech team expected to be highly ranked.

More than anything else, the Broncos' strength of schedule has held them back as they've piled up victories and Western Athletic Conference championships over the last decade.

Even with a victory against a top-notch Virginia Tech team, by the time this season is over, Boise State's schedule won't be nearly as tough as those played by teams such as Alabama and Ohio State.

Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii just don't stack up to Florida, Auburn and LSU. Or Wisconsin, Penn State and Iowa.

For Boise State to have any chance to reach the BCS championship game for the first time, the Broncos must have a better record than the champions from the Big Ten, Southeastern Conference, Big 12 and Pac-10. That was true even before Virginia Tech lost.

If Boise State is the only undefeated team at the end of the regular season, or one of two without a loss, it has a shot. But even in that scenario, regular-season perfection might not be enough for Boise State — again.

That's where James Madison could impact the Broncos' chances.

There are still many who believe that if a team such as Alabama, Ohio State, Texas or Oregon finishes with one loss, it would deserve a spot in the title game over an unbeaten Boise State.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said as much Saturday on ESPN, when he made the point that teams with more difficult paths to the title game should be rewarded.

Since the Bowl Championship Series is set up to be the ultimate exercise in the art of splitting hairs, giving only two of the 120 teams a chance to play for the national championship, the slightest blemish on the Broncos could lock them out of the title game.

You can already hear the complaints coming from SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 country: 'How can a team play for the national title if it's best victory came against an opponent that lost to a I-AA team?'

Whether it's even a fair point is debatable. Kansas lost to North Dakota State of the FCS to open the season, then beat Georgia Tech on Saturday. Strange things happen. After losing to Appalachian State in 2007, Michigan went on to beat Florida in a bowl game. Virginia Tech might not lose another game.

But with the BCS, there can be no flukes. Every action must have a reaction, no matter how impossible it is to measure. So we're left with the possibility that James Madison could knock Boise State out of the national championship game — and that's just silly.



Saturday was a great day for Michigan quarterbacks past and present.

After Denard Robinson put on one of the greatest shows in the illustrious history of Michigan football, with 502 total yards in a 28-24 victory against Notre Dame, a couple of former Wolverines also put up huge numbers.

Ryan Mallett, who transferred out of Michigan after coach Rich Rodriguez was hired to replace Lloyd Carr, passed for 400 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 12 Arkansas to a 31-7 victory against Louisiana-Monroe.

Steven Threet, who started for Michigan in Rodriguez's first season but didn't really fit the spread offense and transferred out, threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns in Arizona State's 41-20 win against Northern Arizona.



San Diego State is 2-0 for the first time in 16 years.

The Aztecs, under season-year coach Brady Hoke, beat New Mexico State 41-21 on Saturday night behind Ronnie Hillman's 150 yards rushing and four touchdowns. The win snapped a 14-game losing streak in nonconference road games for the Aztecs, who beat Nicholls State, an FCS team in their opener.

The competition hasn't exactly been BCS-worthy and it's gets much tougher this week when the Aztecs visit Missouri. But San Diego State hasn't had a winning season since 1998, so even the slightest glimmer of hope is a big deal.



Not every Saturday can be a monster. The slate next week has no marquee matchup, but plenty of intriguing games nonetheless, including three top-10 teams hitting the road: No. 10 Florida is at Tennessee; No. 9 Iowa travels to No. 24 Arizona; and No. 6 Texas visits Texas Tech.

(This version CORRECTS Corrects Virginia Tech-James Madison score.)