PHILADELPHIA -- The story line has been set, even if there's still 13 weekends until Selection Sunday.
Unless Boise State loses at home to Oregon State on Sept. 25, the Broncos are going to finish 12-0. Sorry, Fresno State. Or is that Nevada? Doesn't matter. I know college football can be all about upsets, but in this scenario it's not going to happen. So, if you aren't into controversy, pull for the Beavers to win on the blue turf, something no visitor has done in the regular season since Washington State in 2001. Boston College beat the Broncs in the 2005 MPC Computers Bowl, but it was technically the home side. Boise has lost once in its last 28 games, anywhere. That was by one, to Texas Christian in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl.
You don't have to be Beano Cook to see where this is matriculating.
No non-BCS team, of course, has played for a national title in the current system. The last non-BCS team to win one was Brigham Young in 1984. But that was another era. The Cougars only had to beat 6-5 Michigan in the Holiday Bowl to earn their mythical crown.
In the last six seasons, five non-BCS teams have played in BCS bowls. They've won four times (Boise and Utah twice each). The lone blemish was TCU's 17-10 loss to Boise in last January's Fiesta.
Boise already is ranked third in the coaches' poll, which comprises one-third of your BCS formula. The Harris (media) vote, which accounts for another 33 percent, doesn't get tabulated until October. Then there's the computer element to consider.
TCU, which opened with a nine-point win over Oregon State at Cowboys Stadium, is No. 5 (No. 4 in Associated Press). So maybe the Frogs will play Boise in a bowl for the third consecutive postseason. Only this time maybe it'll be the last game. Their biggest hurdles are BYU and Air Force at home, and Utah away.
Feel free to project away.
If two BCS teams end up and-0, unbeaten Boise and/or TCU probably will get left out again. That's just the way this thing works. Because at some point, schedule does count. But what if, say, an Alabama loses once. By, like, a point. At least some would contend that an SEC champion with that resume would be more deserving. Good luck comparing bodies of work.
It remains the sport's most glaring flaw. The playing fields simply aren't level. Would Alabama go unbeaten playing Boise's schedule? Could Boise go 12-1 playing Bama's? It's an unanswerable conundrum.
That won't keep America from trying, throughout the upcoming three months. There's valid cases to be made for either view. That's what makes it worth following. And, at times, equally frustrating.
But until there's a playoff, who would really want it any other way?
Notre Dame coaches are 26-3 in their Irish debuts, dating to 1896. Name the ones who didn't win. See Answer man.
SPOTLIGHT ON: OLD MARQUEE MATCHUPS
A pair of rare rematches from Januarys gone by.
Florida State (1-0), ranked 17th under first-year coach Jimbo Fisher, is at No. 10 Oklahoma (1-0). Those teams met in the 2000 national-title game in the Orange Bowl. The underdog Sooners and second-year coach Bob Stoops beat the defending champions, 13-2. FSU's Chris Weinke had won the Heisman Trophy, and OU's Josh Heupel finished runner-up (Purdue's Drew Brees and TCU's LaDainian Tomlinson were third and fourth).
The programs went in opposite directions after that, which eventually led to Bobby Bowden's departure. The Sooners have been to three more BCS finals, and lost them all.
The teams had played four other times, three in bowls, between 1965 and 1981. The Seminoles' lone win came in the first (Gator Bowl). The only other in-season matchup was at OU in 1976, Bowden's inaugural year in Tallahassee.
Meanwhile ... Miami (1-0), ranked 12th, travels to No. 2 Ohio State (1-0). It's the first time they've faced each other since the 2002 finale, when the Buckeyes and second-year coach Jim Tressel kept the favored Hurricanes from repeating, in double overtime at the Fiesta.
Miami, of course, went real south real fast. But fourth-year coach Randy Shannon went 9-4 last year.
Before it became known as The U, Miami lost in Columbus in 1977, 10-zip. The only other collision occurred 22 years later, when the Hurricanes took the now-defunct Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands, 23-12. They were 12th in the polls that day, too. You've got to love historical perspective.
DID YOU KNOW?
Iowa State, which is at Iowa, hasn't scored a touchdown in the series in 14 quarters, a stretch that spans three coaches. The Cyclones did win in 2007, 15-13, on five field goals. The last two years it's been 52-8.
Those would be Frank E. Hering in 1896 (4-0 to Chicago Physicians and Surgeons), Elmer Layden in 1934 (7-6 to Texas) and Lou Holtz in 1986 (24-23 to Michigan, which tests Notre Dame and Brian Kelly this week).