While the nation’s been keyed in on Boise State chasing history as the first non-AQ team to play for a BCS national championship, Division I-AA/FCS teams expanded the landscape of purity with 4 wins over BCS programs.  I ended last week’s column on Boise State’s epic win over Virginia Tech with this small scheduling announcement: This weekend, the Broncos rest.  In two weeks, Boise State goes on the road against Wyoming and this weekend Virginia Tech hosts— James Madison.”

The last sentence wasn’t meant as an ominous warning but in retrospect it feels like it.  It feels like I inadvertently left a sawed off horse’s head and placed it under Frank Beamer’s sheets.  I actually intended for it to be a flippant remark aimed at critics of Boise State’s strength of schedule.  I didn’t expect James Madison to actually make an impact in the big picture.  Perhaps, I hypocritically underestimated Virginia Tech’s non-conference schedule the way, stubborn fans have underestimated Utah, Boise State and TCU.

The moment, I saw the final score of James Madison’s upset of Virginia Tech, I realized the fears from the deepest regions of my cerebellum had come true.   Boise State’s win had been instantly discredited.  James Madison’s win over Virginia Tech was the second victory for an FCS team over a ranked program in college football history.  The first was Appalachian State’s win over #4 Michigan on Opening Weekend 2007.  That win propelled Lloyd Carr to “retirement” so he could “spend more time  with his family”.  Unlike Carr, however, Frank Beamer is THE architect of the Hokies program but he’s since lost his luster.  It may be time for Frank Beamer to head in Carr’s direction.

Boise State’s last minute heroics against Virginia Tech, would be lessened by the Hokies letdown.  ESPN’s Robert Smith and OTL’s Bob Ley went so far as to state Virginia Tech’s loss guarantees Boise State has no shot at a national title as a result.  However, in defense of Virginia Tech and by proxy, Boise State, they were forced to regroup from a devastating Monday night loss in time for a noon time, Saturday kickoff.  That’s only 4 and a half days.

In this reactionary 24/7 updated news culture we jump to early conclusions.  Last week, insiders questioned the job security of Turner Gill after his first game ended in a 6-3 loss to North Dakota State.  Saturday, he led Kansas to a victory over 15th ranked Georgia Tech.  As a result, Turner Gill is safe from pitchfork carry mobs and calm has been restored to the Jayhawk campus.

Dr. Lou Holtz prefaced the announcement of his Top 5 after last night’s action, by proclaiming “anyone of those top 5 could win the national championship against Boise State.”  Virginia Tech’s loss didn’t eliminate Boise State,  it just reset the argument.  It also completely eviscerates the argument that each week is a playoff for college football.  Boise State has a remaining home game against an Oregon State team which came within four points in the final regular season game of 2009 from stealing a Pac-10 title from Oregon. Unfortunately, they lost to TCU, therefore they’ve lost all credibility as well.

Boise State has somehow been de facto eliminated from the discussion without playing this week.  This is getting old.  If a special non-BCS team defeats a ranked team from a power conference, the BCS team is simply cast aside as a fraud or distracted.   Boise State’s magical 2007 Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma was chalked up to play calling witchcraft.  After Utah, dominated the Alabama Crimson Tide in every facet of the 2009 Sugar Bowl, the expert opinion expressed Alabama’s lingering disappointment at losing the SEC Championship and a national championship berth—a month earlier.  There’s always an excuse.

So will the Hokies get a pass from the cognoscenti and future polls?  Of course not.  As the season progresses, Virginia Tech should inevitably regain the trust of the public with a win over Miami, or UNC or Florida State.  They’ll claim the Hokies didn’t hit their stride or wake up until their September loss to James Madison.  The same argument was made after Oregon went on to win the Pac-10 title last season after losing to the Blue Turf Smurfs.  If Boise State, finishes undefeated and does not play for a BCS National Championship, I simply won’t watch the game—or even acknowledge it.

While Boise State was penalized for Virginia Tech’s blunder, I’d like to pose a forward thinking question to the nation.  What happens if, Boise State loses, Utah defeats TCU, finishes undefeated and there are no other unbeatens left in the nation?  Technically, they’re a Pac-10 team (which makes 2011, very interesting for them).

On Saturday, the Utes defeated UNLV, 38-10 behind a 207 yard effort from their backup quarterback.  Keep in mind, they’ve also got the holy trinity of TCU, Notre Dame and BYU remaining on their schedule.  To deny them would be simply blasphemous.   (in all seriousness, if the BCS is going to put the National Guard in between Boise State and the BCS National Championship, why not also sponsor an official non-BCS National Championship bowl game? I would watch that!)

You’ve gotta love this zone read spread  offense.   The nation’s leaders in rushing attempts are a pair of quarterbacks in Navy’s Ricky Dobbs and Michigan’s Denard Robinson, who also leads the nation in rushing yards.

Josh Nesbitt and Ricky Dobbs were never serious Heisman contender because neither could complete over 50% of their passes or 100 yards per game and Dobbs’ level of competition was subpar.  Can you imagine if Rich Rod had recruited Michael Vick to Michigan?

Well imagination is no longer necessary because Michigan has the facsimile of Mike Vick under center.  They call him shoelace because he does not tie his cleats- but if opposing defenses aren’t careful they’ll be staring at his heels in pursuit all season.  Ironically, his long dreadlocks are very reminiscent of Appalachian State’s quarterback Armanti Edwards who came into the Big House and signaled the end of the Lloyd Carr era three years ago.

However, Denard Robinson needs a sidekick.  Rich Rodriguez has finally found the option quarterback for his system, but lacks the second half of the equation—an explosive sidekick in the backfield.  Through one-sixth of the season as well as a trio of stat padding games ahead, Robinson has rushed for 455 yards, and passed for 430 yards which would project out to roughly 2,500 yards passing and 2,700 rushing for the season.  No quarterback has ever rushed for 2,000 yard.    We could be looking at college football’s first 2,000/2,000 player if he remains healthy.  The single season college football record for rushing quarterback yardage is 1,649 by Georgia Southern’s Jayson Foster in 2007.  Robinson is on pace to eclipse that record in by mid-season.

At West Virginia Pat White was only a small part of the Mountaineers offensive chimera.  Darius Reynaud and Steve Slaton were the others.  Pat White never passed for over 2,000 yards in four seasons at West Virginia and never carried the ball 2000 times in a season.  Robinson is on pace for 342.  My emphasis is on who will emerge as Michigan’s Slaton and subtract half of Denard Robinson’s carries and bruises.

At 193 pounds, he’s no Tim Tebow.  These collisions will add up.   If the Wolverines don’t ease up on Robinson’s carries, Rich Rodriguez better hope he’s got All-State Insurance in true freshman Devin Gardner.  (After one home game, does he even know directions from the locker room to the field yet?)

Unlike Terrelle Pryor, there is no illusion that Denard Robinson is preparing for an NFL audition at quarterback, but Robinson’s got the vision, patience and measure to potentially be a great NFL running back one day.  Pat White was a great dual threat but Robinson is faster and already a more gifted runner.

On the other end of the spectrum, is former Michigan quarterback Ryan Mallett.  I hadn’t seen him play in ten months and I’d forgotten how sublime his deep throws were.  To put his throwing arm in perspective, JaMarcus Russell was the equivalent to Jonathan Broxton and Matthew Stafford along with his draft slot is comparable to Stephen Strasburg but Ryan Mallett snuck under the college football radar [gun] as the quarterback equivalent to Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.  JaMarcus Russell could throw it 50 yards from his knees, and Stafford has the velocity but Mallett throws it on a wire like a young Happy Gilmore teeing off at the Masters in stride to galloping receivers.

Prior, to last season’s week 1 loss to Boise State not many fans knew the name or game of LaMichael James.  Legarrette Blount’s punch to the head of Boise State linebacker Bryan Hout and the ensuing suspension cleared the way for the then unknown to rush for 100 plus yards in 9 of Oregon’s final 10 games for 1,546 yards.  However, an off-season altercation his girlfriend forced Chip Kelly to suspend James for the season’s first game.  Kenjon Barner stepped in and accounted for 207 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns.

After rushing for a pedestrian 52 yards on 13 carries, James took off on one of the best runs, I’ve ever seen.  This run was Legend—ary.  James rejoiced by pumping his fist—in the air.

Terrelle Pryor has been one of the biggest red herrings in college football since 2008.  Someday he’ll be a Pro-Bowler in the NFL, but it will be as a tight end or wide receiver.  A future first rounder doesn’t throw as erratically as Pryor on short and medium range throws. At this point he doesn’t appear to have the acumen to play quarterback on the next level.  His 225 yards passing and 113 rushing yards against Miami last night were impressive but for the fifth game in his college football career his completion percentage was in the mid 40’s or below.  His 44% completion percentage equaled last year’s 11 for 25 effort against in Week 2, except he created more running lanes which he took advantage of.

Pryor has been compared to Vince Young and in all fairness he didn’t have the benefit of a redshirt year like Young.  He’s already topped out as a scrambler but his passing skills are still progressing.  Pryor’s junior year is more comparable to Vince Young’s sophomore campaign.  As a sophomore Vince Young threw for 12 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and completed 59% of his passes.  Fortunately, Pryor has the remainder of his junior year and a likely senior year to refine his mechanics but I get the feeling that in two years we may be having the same NFL Draft debate about Pryor as we had with Tim Tebow this spring.