Saturday, August 07, 2010

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Boise ranked too low in poll

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by The Coaches Poll: Slappin' around the little guy already.

Q: You've got an issue with the poll that was released Friday?

A: Sure do. Not with No. 1 -- defending champ Alabama deserves that billing, and got it -- but with the fact that Boise State is only ranked fifth.

Q: So?

A: So look at the Broncos. They've won 26 of their past 27 games. They went 14-0 last year, won the Fiesta Bowl and finished fourth in the final Associated Press rankings last season. And they DROP?

Q: Well, turnover factors into the voting, right?

A: That's my point: It should. And in the Broncos' case, there virtually was no turnover. They return 22 of 24 starters. Meanwhile, two teams ahead of them -- No. 3 Florida and No. 4 Texas -- lost Heisman Trophy finalists at quarterback as well as other key players. If ever there were a year to give a non-BCS program a preseason ranking in the top 3, this would be the year, and Boise would be the team.

Q: What difference does it make, anyway?

A: Don't forget that polls comprise two-thirds of the BCS formula. So it makes a big difference to Boise, which not only will have to go undefeated but now might need some help to make the title game. And it could make a difference to Virginia Tech, which has to face Boise in the Sept. 6 opener. Essentially, the Broncos have just been informed that, contrary to popular belief, they're still that little ol' program that plays on wacky blue turf. They'll be eager to prove otherwise.

Q: What'd you think of Tech checking in at No. 6?

A: Surprised. I figured they'd be around 10th considering the questions on defense. Further evidence of the respect the Hokies program has achieved nationally.

Q: Any other surprises?

A: Well, you had to figure four ACC Coastal Division teams would be ranked, but I didn't think they'd all be in the top 18, with Miami (13th), Georgia Tech (17th) and North Carolina (18th). Mark it down: Florida State (20th) will finish higher in the final poll than three of those Coastal clubs. In all, ACC commissioner John Swofford has to be thrilled.

Q: What's the biggest thing you took out of UVa media day this week?

A: That new coach Mike London has already put his imprint all over this program. Sometimes you wonder how long it will take for players and staff members to get on the same page, but the Cavaliers are ahead of schedule on that front. The players and staff are speaking the same language. The broad-ranging mission -- both on and off the field -- is clear. London almost looked weary, and that's a good thing. He's been quite busy this summer accomplishing the most important steps in 2010: recruiting and building relationships.

Q: Flagging ticket sales are forcing NASCAR tracks to offer discounts and complementary events. Is the sport dying?

A: Not on life support yet, but getting one whale of a comeuppance. NASCAR's power brokers turned their backs on the core fan base about a decade ago when times were good, reaching for cash at the expense of tradition. Now the "new fans" are gone, off to download the latest iPhone application, and NASCAR is left to grovel at the feet of the people who built the sport -- and hope they'll embrace it again.

Q: Isiah Thomas was rehired by the Knicks, this time as a consultant. Thoughts?

A: Great move. I mean, just think about all the success he had as their coach ... oh, wait. Well, at least as a president he was ... nah, no good there either. Color me puzzled. Isiah has become Marion Barry with a jump shot.

Q: A Marion Barry reference? Hey, 1996 called. They want their pop culture jokes back.

A: Only if they promise to send me a Weezer CD and a football signed by Al Bundy.

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