Yes, the Bowl Championship Series still exists. The new four-team playoff doesnt begin until after the 2014 regular season, so we have two more years of lovely BCS debates.
The initial BCS Standings will be released Sunday (6:30 p.m., ESPN).
The standings are comprised of the USA Today Coaches Poll, the Harris Poll and six computer rankings. Each makes up one-third of the standings.
THE BRONCOS LOST ALREADY. WHY SHOULD FANS CARE?
Yes, the season-opening loss to Michigan State hurt the Broncos chances of reaching the BCS. Yes, the Broncos wont be a primary topic of conversation each Sunday when the BCS Standings come out. But Boise State still has a chance of playing in one of the five lucrative games.
1. WIN THE MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP
Any chance of getting to the BCS hinges on being a conference champion.
2. NO MORE LOSSES
It would be tough, but not impossible, to win the Mountain West with a conference loss. It will be impossible, however, to get to the BCS with another loss.
OK, thats the easy-to-understand part and the only part that the Broncos control.
3. GET TO NO. 16 (OR HIGHER) IN THE BCS STANDINGS
The Broncos need a bit of help since they are unlikely to climb all the way to No. 12 in the BCS Standings (where, as a conference champ, theyd be assured of a spot). Instead, the Broncos currently ranked No. 24 in The Associated Press poll need to be in the top 16 and ranked higher than a conference champ from one of the six AQ conferences (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12).
4. ROOT AGAINST EVERYONE IN THE BIG TEN (NOT NAMED OHIO STATE)
The Big Ten does not have a team ranked in the USA Today or Harris polls. Unbeaten Ohio State is ineligible for the postseason and, thus, cannot be ranked by the coaches, Harris or the BCS. So Boise State fans should be rooting hard for the rest of the league to beat up on each other and Ohio State to beat up on everyone else. Michigan (3-2) stands the best chance of getting ranked higher than 16th.
Its also possible the Big East champion could be ranked outside of the top 16, but with three undefeated teams (No. 18 Louisville, No. 20 Rutgers and No. 21 Cincinnati) it is a long shot.
5. ROOT AGAINST LOUISIANA TECH AND OHIO
Only the top-ranked conference champion from a non-AQ conference is assured of a spot in the BCS. So No. 24 Boise State needs the last two unbeaten non-AQ schools to lose.
No. 23 Louisiana Tech (5-0) plays No. 22 Texas A&M on Saturday. If the Bulldogs of the WAC can pull off the victory, it would give them three wins over BCS-conference teams (Virginia, Illinois and Texas A&M) and make it difficult for Boise State to catch them in the polls. The best hope for knocking off the Bulldogs after this Utah State on Nov. 17.
Ohio (6-0) has not yet cracked the polls in part because the Bobcats have been less than impressive in wins against Marshall (27-24), Massachusetts (37-34) and Buffalo (38-31). If they can remain undefeated, it will be interesting to see how the voters and computers treat the Bobcats, whose best win is against Penn State. Its possible an 11-1 Boise State would be ahead of a 13-0 Ohio (the Bobcats have to play in the MAC Championship Game), but an Ohio loss would make the path cleaner for Boise State.
LAS VEGAS BOUND?
If the Broncos win out, but fail to reach a BCS game, then Boise State is almost certainly headed to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas for the third consecutive year. With the Broncos leaving for the Big East, it is the last chance for Las Vegas to grab Boise State and its traveling fan base.
If the Broncos lose somewhere along the line, then Boise States bowl status is much more fluid. Nevada, as Mountain West champs, would be tough for the MAACO Bowl to pass up. As would Fresno State, if the Bulldogs win the conference championship.
The Mountain West also has bowl tie-ins with New Mexico, Poinsettia (unlikely since BYU is the opponent), Hawaii and Armed Forces bowls.
BCS SELECTION ORDER
Miami will host the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 7. No. 1 and No. 2 will meet there and the bowls that lose No. 1 and No. 2 will choose first.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 champions are scheduled to play in the Rose Bowl. The Big 12 champ is slated to play in the Fiesta Bowl, the SEC champ goes to the Sugar Bowl and the ACC champ is slotted for the Orange Bowl.
After all the tie-ins are taken care of, the Fiesta Bowl has first pick, the Sugar Bowl has the second pick and the Orange Bowl has the final choice.
Jerry Palm, writing for CBSSports.com, has been projecting the Broncos to play in the Orange Bowl for most of the season. The Orange Bowl gets the final pick and is left with Boise State, which automatically qualifies, even with one loss, Palm wrote this week.
HISTORY IS NOT ON THE BRONCOS SIDE
No one-loss team from a non-AQ conference has ever qualified for the BCS.
BCS BOWL SCHEDULE
Jan. 1: Rose Bowl
Jan. 1: Orange Bowl
Jan. 2: Sugar Bowl
Jan. 3: Fiesta Bowl
Jan. 7: BCS National Championship Game
SHOW ME THE MONEY?
Boise State will forfeit about $2.3 million in Mountain West revenue for 2012-13 because its leaving for the Big East. However, the school would not lose its Bowl Championship Series-qualification money if the football team reaches a BCS bowl game, Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said in July. The Mountain West pays BCS participants $4 million. The schools expenses come out of that money.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444,Twitter: @MurphsTurph