Boise State will finish, start in top five

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Thursday’s Citi BCS National Championship game is over, there will be two undefeated teams remaining.

Boise State will be one of them and the controversy will begin.

The Broncos defense shut down No. 4 TCU in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Monday to not only plant their flag atop of the non-automatic qualifying ranks, but also finish among the nation’s elite.

But do the Broncos deserve to be No. 1 or split the national title? That won’t likely happen, but coach Chris Petersen said his team did everything it was asked to do.

“It is a dream season because we can only beat the teams on our schedule,” Petersen said. “And so we don’t think about anything other than that. One of our goals is to go to a BCS game and then win the bowl game. So both of those things happened and we couldn’t ask for more.”

Because Boise State was ranked sixth in the AP rankings and Florida, which defeated Cincinnati in its bowl game, was ranked fifth, the Broncos will probably finish third when the final polls come out.

Boise State does have the distinction of becoming just the second team to go 14-0 in FBS history. Either Texas or Alabama will join the Broncos after the title game.

The win also sets up the Broncos nicely for next season, especially with just two senior starters lost from this year’s team. Petersen, who acknowledged that he doesn’t like to talk about preseason rankings, said he expects his team to be highly ranked at the start of the 2010 season heading into the opener against Virginia Tech.

The Broncos also play Oregon State and Wyoming, which won its bowl game this season.

“We’ll have a decent ranking coming into the season,” Petersen said. “Preseason rankings, I’ve said this all along, they just don’t mean much to us. Certainly, with the schedule we’re going to play next year, you know, I think we could be ranked low. If we could beat the teams on our schedule, we would jump dramatically. So, you know, we’ll talk about those a long time from right now.”