Boise State Receives Eight First-Place Votes in College Football AP Poll

More AP Top 25 voters are buying
into Boise State as the No. 1 team in the country.

Boise State gained seven
first-place votes and closed in on No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Ohio State as
the top three teams in the first regular season Associated Press
football poll held their spots from the preseason.

The Broncos remained third after a
thrilling 33-30 victory against Virginia Tech on Monday night,
receiving eight first-place votes and 1,399 points from the media panel,
13 points behind the Buckeyes.

Ohio State received four
first-place votes and 1,412 points.

Alabama had 47 first-place votes,
down seven from the preseason poll, and 1,484 points in the rankings
released Tuesday.

TCU from the Mountain West
Conference moved up two spots to No. 4, marking the first time since the
Bowl Championship Series was implemented in 1998 that two teams from
conferences without automatic BCS bids have been in the top five. Boise
State is the defending Western Athletic Conference champion.

Texas remained No. 5 and received
one first-place vote.

No. 8 Florida dropped four spots
after a sloppy 34-12 victory against Miami (Ohio) and No. 10 Oklahoma
fell three places after beating Utah State 31-24.

The rest of the top 10 is
Nebraska at No. 6, followed by Oregon, which moved up four spots after
beating New Mexico 72-0. Iowa is No. 9.

No. 13 Virginia Tech dropped
three spots after Boise State scored a touchdown with 1:09 left to beat
the Hokies at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Falling out of the rankings
after close opening losses were Oregon State, Pittsburgh and North
Carolina. Moving in were No. 20 Utah, No. 23 South Carolina and No. 24
Stanford.

But the big story is Boise State
and the Broncos very well could be the talk of college football all
season.

They entered Monday with their
best preseason ranking and a legitimate chance to be national
championship contenders – if they could beat the Hokies and then
flawlessly navigate a schedule with no games more difficult than the
first.

Boise State jumped to a 17-0
first-quarter lead, watched that lead evaporate, then needed a
two-minute drill capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass from Kellen Moore to
Austin Pettis to win its 15th straight game.

"This was no fluke," said voter
Brett McMurphy of AOL Fanhouse, who had Boise State No. 1 this week.
"[The Broncos] outgained Virginia Tech and hung 33 on the Hokies. The
last two teams to score more than 30 against [defensive coordinator] Bud
Foster
's defense – Alabama in 2009 and LSU in 2007 – went on to win the
national title.

"Will Boise? Who knows, but the
Broncos deserve the top ranking for this week anyway."

The Broncos have finished the
last two regular seasons with perfect records, but neither time was it
enough to earn them a spot in the national championship game. They were
beaten out by teams from the so-called power conferences with BCS
automatic bids, teams like Alabama from the Southeastern Conference and
Ohio State from the Big Ten.

This season could be different.
Boise State doesn't have to climb over scores of teams to get into
position to contend for a spot in the BCS title game, spots determined
in large part by the coaches' poll and the Harris poll.

Boise State was third in the
coaches' poll this week, moving up two spots. The coaches also had
Alabama first and Ohio State second. The Harris poll is not released
until October.

"We've just got a long tough
hard season, and the bull's-eye will continue to grow, and it's just
going to be one game at a time," coach Chris Petersen said.

Not hard enough to satisfy some
people.

Boise State plays at Wyoming in
two weeks and gets a visit from Oregon State, which opened its season by
losing 30-21 to TCU, the week after. The Beavers from the Pac-10 look
like the best team left on Boise State's schedule, but the Broncos have
lost one regular-season game on their blue turf home field since 2001.
Toledo also visits Boise State.

As for the Broncos' WAC
competition, well, it's been almost no competition for the Broncos the
past decade. Boise State has won seven WAC titles and is 73-4 against
conference opponents from 2000-09, a .948 winning percentage that is by
far the best of any major college team.

Texas is second-best with an
.841 percentage (69-13) in the Big 12 over that time.

Feeling it has outgrown the WAC,
Boise State will be leaving the league after this season and joining
the Mountain West.

The best teams the WAC can throw
at Boise State this season are probably Nevada and Fresno State, though
Hawaii and Utah State flashed potent offenses while losing their
openers to ranked foes.

Fresno State comes to Boise on
Nov. 19. The next week the Broncos have a road game at high-scoring
Nevada that on paper seems to be their toughest remaining test.

They finish with Utah State at
home on Dec. 4, the same day the SEC and Big 12 play its conference
championship games.

If Boise State runs the table do
they deserve a spot in the BCS championship game? Ahead of an unbeaten
Big 12 or Big 10 champion? How about a one-loss SEC team?

Unless the Broncos take an
unexpected stumble, the debate will rage all season.

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