What’s does it actually mean? No clue.
Whatever its etymology, it has become a common refrain this year in the college football world en route to beatdowns administered by No. 3 Boise State on the order of 51-0 and 49-20. (We can thank chief Boise cheerleader Pat Forde of ESPN.com for this little gem.) Inevitably, it touches off a predictable series of tired back-and-forths from both apologists and haters about the Broncos’ proper place in college football’s pecking order:
“Boise’s defensive line is the best in the history of college football!”
“None of these guys could play in the SEC.”
“Nebraska didn’t beat Idaho as badly as Boise did.”
“Oklahoma would kill these guys.” (Whoops.)
Basically, the arguments all boil down to one simple question: Is Boise on par with the elite teams in college football?
Personally, I’d say yes without any equivocation. Put the Broncos on a neutral field against anyone in the country and I like their chances. They’ve proven themselves against the big boys enough to convince me. Count me in the BSU camp there.
But people are wasting a lot of breath on the wrong question.
Like a well-polished political flack department, the Boise stump squad wants to re-frame every debate around blowout scores, landmark wins and theoretical comparisons between teams (e.g., Is Boise better than LSU?). If you’re not fully behind the Broncos’ cause, you’re a “hater.” Or, you’re a “snob” – that one again according to Forde.
The implication is clear: Boise gets snubbed because of who it is. There may be plenty of elitists out there who believe that. However, all that huffing and puffing just obfuscates the real issue: whether or not the Broncos have done enough to deserve a berth in the national championship game.
Boise definitely could win a major conference such as the SEC or Big Ten. What you could do and what you actually are doing are two entirely different matters, though. On that account, Boise falls short.
Lately, Boise has managed to schedule its way to some strong marquee wins in the regular season. With the season winding down, a win in a de facto home game at Virginia Tech has to rank as one of the best trophies on any team’s mantel.
Yet, the vast majority of the Broncos’ schedule consists of the filler that teams in the major conferences use to pad their records – San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, etc. The fact that the Broncos consistently run over these patsies affirms that they’re as good as any team in the country. Bringing it every week – the Broncos are 8-2 against the spread this season while routinely facing lines in the range of 30 points or more – is impressive.
But what level of achievement does it really represent? It’s like beating up a blind man, week after week.
At this point, all that “bus” bragging just serves as an obnoxious reminder that the Broncos’ competition doesn’t rate.