No. 3 Boise State has in many ways never played a more important game than it will Monday night, when the Broncos face No. 10 Virginia Tech at FedEx Field.
For all Boise State has accomplished in the last decade — more wins than any major college team and two BCS victories — never before have the Broncos been a serious national championship contender.
That changes if Boise State beats the Hokies at the home of the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md., a far from neutral field, far away from their home blue turf.
With a win, the Broncos take a giant first step toward becoming the first team from a conference without an automatic bid to the Bowl Championship Series to reach the BCS title game.
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But Boise State Coach Chris Petersen wants nothing do with that subject.
"In terms of a national title, so many things have to happen, even when you're in a BCS conference, let alone where we're sitting now," he said. "So we don't even go there. We just worry about the things we control. My mindset never wavers from that."
Michigan QB dazzles
Denard Robinson created a buzz by running for 197 yards and a touchdown and throwing for 186 yards and another score in a season-opening 30-10 win over Connecticut.
Michigan's speedy quarterback is about to take his talents to a bigger stage. The Wolverines will play rival Notre Dame in its iconic stadium on network TV with millions tuning in Saturday to see if he can duplicate his first start.
Fighting Irish Coach Brian Kelly is well aware of what is coming, but says Robinson makes Coach Rich Rodriguez's scheme tough to stop.
"If you look at Rich Rodriguez's quarterback situation, with Pat White obviously, he's had some extraordinarily gifted quarterbacks," Kelly said Sunday. "That's what makes it the most difficult because you are isolating one-on-one a linebacker, a defensive end, on a quarterback who is not just a quarterback, he's a great athlete."
East Carolina 51, Tulsa 49: Dominique Davis heaved a 33-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Justin Jones as time expired to give host East Carolina a wild win Sunday in Coach Ruffin McNeill's debut with the Pirates. Davis was 27-for-46 for 383 yards with five touchdown passes in his first start for East Carolina (1-0, 1-0 Conference USA).
Texas Tech 35, SMU 27: Taylor Potts threw for 359 yards and four touchdowns to lead host Texas Tech and give Tommy Tuberville a victory Sunday in his first game as Red Raiders coach. Tuberville took over after the popular and successful Mike Leach was fired in December amid allegations he mistreated an injured player.
Around the nation
North Carolina: Assistant coach John Blake resigned his position on North Carolina's football staff, effective immediately, school officials said Sunday night. Blake, who was in his fourth season, said in a statement issued by the school that he stepped down because "my presence has become a distraction" to the university. The NCAA has spent much of the summer investigating the football program.
Tennessee: Starting wide receiver Gerald Jones has a broken bone in his left hand and could miss at least two or three games. That would keep out the Volunteers' leading receiver from the past two seasons for games against No. 11 Oregon, No. 4 Florida and UAB.
Notre Dame: The start of the Brian Kelly era attracted a large television audience for Notre Dame. Saturday's preliminary rating was up 77 percent from last year's opener.
Next week: Week 2 is one of the best of the season: Miami at Ohio State; Penn State at Alabama; Michigan at Notre Dame; Oregon at Tennessee; Georgia at South Carolina; Florida State at Oklahoma; and South Florida at Florida.