BOISE, Idaho -- Boise State -- and, likewise, TCU and Houston -- will not play in the BCS National Championship Game this season.
Yes, the Broncos are currently ranked No. 5 in the nation and, yes, much of the college football press has weighed in on the possibility this week.
Given that two of the four teams ahead of them are assured of losing at least once, Boise State would seem a good bet to continue climbing in the coaches' Top 25 poll and, with a break here or there, be positioned to play in the Jan. 7 national title game in Pasadena, Calif.
But it won't happen.
No matter what Boise State does in its final nine games. No matter what happens around the country outside of a full-scale meltdown where undefeated Boise State and Oregon are the only teams with less than three losses.
And even that might not be enough.
Three words: Strength of schedule.
One more: Backlash.
The backlash against Boise State has already begun. ESPN's Mark May trashed the Broncos after the Bowling Green victory, all but vomiting when Lou Holtz claimed Boise State was a top-5 team.
Kirk Herbstreit dismissed the team's chances on the same network and then voted the Broncos No. 10 in his Associated Press poll.
I'm not proposing a vast conspiracy by the network aimed at keeping the Broncos out of the title game. I trust that May, Herbstreit and College GameDay host Chris Fowler, who voted Boise State No. 11, believe the Broncos don't belong in the top 5.
I also know that most voters/coaches watch ESPN to get their college football fix on Saturday nights, especially since most spend the day focused on one or two games at most. The comments on the network carry an echo effect.
So don't be surprised when the Broncos stall at No. 5. Don't be surprised when they start backsliding in the polls, behind a one-loss Virginia Tech and USC and Ohio State or if they have a close game (read: fewer than 21 points) against any opponent.
Not that I would trust the coaches or the so-called "legends" who vote in the Harris Poll to correctly rank dog food and filet mignon in a taste test or judge a 100-meter race between me and Usain Bolt.
The coaches currently have California six spots ahead of Oregon despite the Ducks' 42-3 victory last week. Did you expect more from coaches, who like Boise State's Chris Petersen, spend five minutes filling out their ballots each week? The esteemed Harris Poll voters have Penn State ranked ahead of undefeated Iowa, even though Iowa defeated the Nittany Lions last week at Penn State.
You sure these guys aren't in Congress? Oh, by the way, those two polls constitute 66 percent of the BCS standings.
We're counting on them to figure out the two best teams in college football? The college football world is not ready to accept Boise State as its national champion. How can the Broncos be the best? They play in the WAC.
They play on a blue field. Their stadium seats fewer than 35,000 fans. They don't get five-star recruits.
I don't know if an undefeated Boise State team is one of the two best teams in the country. I'm just not willing to say they aren't four weeks in because their field -- and not their blood -- is blue.
Maybe if the Broncos go undefeated this season, including a BCS bowl victory, then run the tables next season, which means victories against Oregon State and Virginia Tech, they might get invited.
If, of course, they are one of only two undefeated teams in the country.