Two College Football Programs That May Shake Up the BCS in 2012
By Nate Sarmir-TRST Senior College Football Analyst
Follow Nate on Twitter @NaterSarms
Times are changing in college football and for some that means the downfall of past powerhouses and the rise of smaller schools, who have dominated the little conferences for years but want a shot at the big time. The Penn State scandal has rocked a football powerhouse to its very foundations and could result in a cancelation of a whole season. While the voices of rising schools that feel they have been has pushed the Bowl Championship Series era to its extinction and have given birth to the era of a playoff for the National Title. With all the changes, the small schools finally get as close to an equal shot at winning a National Title, as they will likely get. That being said, the playoff system doesn’t go into effect until 2013-14 season. So what about 2012-13 season? These two teams will set themselves up for the playoff system by being BCS busters, in the final year of the BCS this year.
The first team that I believe has the talent and drive to prove that they succeed in the big leagues is the NCAA’s poster-child for a play-off era; The Boise State Broncos. The school where the winning-est quarterback in NCAA history, Kellen Moore, built his legacy. The school where head coach Chris Petersen over the last 5 year has put up an impressive record of 73-6 with 4 conference championships, 4-2 bowl record, and leading Boise to its highest ever rankings in 2012, being ranked #2 in Coaches and AP polls, and#3 in the BCS rankings. Boise State does have a chip on their shoulder though, because they have consistently gotten so close to BCS gold and can never quite get there. That and Head Coach Chris Petersen is very hungry after the training of 2 and 3 star recruits, to the point where they have become bigtime playmakers that have kept Boise State a new and constant threat in the BCS era. The naysayers of this program would have you believe that because Boise has lost key players like Kellen Moore, Doug Martin, Nate Potter, and Shea McClellin they won’t stand a chance at even winning the MWC. While they have lost key players take a minute and look at the coaching. Chris Petersen is one of the quickest rising coaching talents in NCAAF and took a program that before 2006 was nothing and made them one of the quickest rising programs in the BCS. Petersen’s recruiting and training methods have produced clean-cut and All-American players like Kellen Moore. Now to the players Boise returns roughly 11 starters and hasplayers who have trained and shadowed under the previous starters and are readyto prove their worth, one of the players is the new quarterback set to fill Kellen Moore’s shoes.Joe Southwick isn’t going to be taking his first NCAA snaps in 2012 by any means. Due to Boise blowing out many teams Southwick has already seen plenty of playing time in most of Boise’s 2011 4th quarters. Southwick was in Moore’s shadow since the day he arrived on campus and has watched and waited for his turn and looked very impressive in the 2012 Spring game and looks like the unanimous No. 1 on the depth chart. D.J. Harper who is a running back that also was in the shadow of a offensive powerhouse (Doug Martin) is ready to prove that he can go toe-to-toe with the best BCS running backs. On defense it looks a bit more mysterious and the season opener against Michigan State is going tobe a proving ground for this new, unknown Bronco’s defense that lost Shea McClellin-DE, Jarrell Root-DE, Billy Winn-DT, Chase Baker-NG, Tyrone Crawford-DE, Byron Hout-MLB, Aaron Tevis-WLB, Cedric Febis-S, Travis Stanaway-S, George Iloka-S, Hunter White-DB, due to graduation.The new starters on defense to watch include Ricky Tjong-DT,Tylor Horn-DE, Tommy Smith-MLB, J.C. Perry-WLB, and Jeremy Ioane-S. Other than Michigan State and their MWC schedule Boise will also play BYU, Southern Miss., and Miami(OH). These games will challenge Boise to continue to prove their worth in NCAAF world that is having trouble accepting them I expect Boise to end the 2012 season either 12-0 or 11-1 and to end up in the Top 15 in the polls at the end of the season.
The second team is a rival to my first team, Boise State, but the programs have become unlikely allies in the fight for equality in college football. The program I speak of is the Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs. The team, which in 2011, gave the Broncos their only loss and did it on the dreaded “Smurf Turf” where Boise had a 65 home game winning streak. In 2011 TCU had a record of 12-2 winning the MWC,the Poinsettia Bowl, and finishing #16 in the AP poll, #15 in the Coaches Poll,and #18 in the BCS poll. In 2012 TCU will make one of the biggest conference changes for the 2012-2013 college football season going from the MWC to the Big 12. This change means playing the likes of teams such as Texas, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State and it doesn’t help that five of TCU’s nine conference games are away, but for now it will be fun to see how TCU fairs against a few of the ‘big dogs’ of college football. After losing talent such as Logan Brock-TE , Kyle Dooley-OG ,and Jeff Olson-OT, the offensive line is probably the most questionable and unknown part of the Horned Frogs 2012 squad right in front of kicking. The Horned Frogs have lost the talented Ross Evans-K and need a new punter and kicker for 2012. The major talent returns in offensive backfield and on the defensive line. On offense Junior Casey Pachall-QB , who was given an enormous job as a sophomore last season and succeeded throwing 25 touchdown to only seven picks, Ed Wesley-RB (726 yards on 6.1 yards/carry), and WR Josh Boyce (61 receptions for 998 yards and 9 touchdowns), will lead anexplosive offense in 2012. The offense will be crucial to whether TCU can reach new heights in 2012. On the Defensive line 4 seniors and 3 juniors (Notables: SLB Kenny Cain and DE Stansly Maponga) will lead a veteran heavy and very talented Defensive-line looking to stop offenses in their tracks in 2012. Coach Gary Patterson over the last two years has lead TCU to a 26 record and two bowl wins (Poinsettia and Rose Bowls) and is, like Coach Petersen, a definite reason for the smaller programs recent success.I expect TCU to end 10-2 and gain a bid for BCS bowl with gained respect after succeeding in their new conference.
With Boise State making the move to the Big East 2013 and TCU making their Big 12 debut in 2012 expect a chip on both teams’ shoulders because both teams have many critics and analysts who say they won’t make it. The BCS is changing forever in 2013-2014 and these teams were the advocates, but it also means they have one season under the current format to really prove that the BCS system is beatable by a smaller program and that smaller programs can become great. I expect within the next 10 years that if not both one of these two programs will have the National Championship in their school’s trophy case.