Bryan Harsin not coaching Boise State in the Mountain West Championship game this December.
Bryan Harsin coaching Boise State’s Week 3 contest at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma next September.
It’s hard to imagine both of those things happening in the same universe.
Boise State is 5-5 in their past ten contests. In the two games prior the Broncos blocked a last-second 44-yard BYU-field goal and escaped a Taysom Hill Hail Mary attempt before allowing Colorado State to score three touchdowns in a span of a minute and twenty-five seconds the following week, turning a 28-3 blowout into a 28-23 squeaker.
You might have one of a million excuses right now for Boise State’s unbelievably-poor play in the past year or so, and those of you with excuses are dwindling in number by the week.
Boise State hasn’t just been an average group of five team over their past ten games. They’re chocking harder than maybe any team in recent sports history.
That’s not hyperbole. If you consider the odds of a Boise State loss given by ESPN’s win probability model at their optimal point in each of Boise State’s past five losses and you consider the odds of each of those five losses happening as a part of one sequence of events you will come up with an unimaginably-small probability.
The odds of Boise State losing to the Baylor Bears and blowing their leads against Wyoming, Air Force, Washington State & Virginia, not individually, but as a string of losses:
Here me out.
On October 29th a spooky turn of events sent Bryan Harsin and the Boise State football program into a tailspin. They were undefeated and ranked 13th in the polls and were about to enter the top ten with a number of teams ranked directly ahead of them losing. With 11:51 remaining in the half they lead an inferior Wyoming Cowboys squad 14-0 and ESPN’s win probability model gave them a 5.5% chance of losing. They lost 30-28 on a last-minute safety.
A month later on the day after Thanksgiving Harsin’s bunch led 7-0 37 seconds into their clash against an Air Force team that had only bragging-rights to play for. ESPN’s win probability model gave the Falcons just a 13.2% chance of winning at that point. They won 27-20 after Boise State couldn’t score on a first and goal from the five on their final possession with under five minutes to play.
The odds of Boise State blowing both of those leads to Wyoming and Air Force? 13.2% of 5.5%?
A month after that, two days after Christmas, Boise State had a golden-opportunity to do something it had never done in it’s programs entire history: Beat Baylor and complete a season that included three wins over Power 5 schools and BYU (or four Power 5 schools, as some major conferences consider BYU a Power 5 school for scheduling purposes). Baylor hadn’t won a game in two and half months entering the contest and hasn’t won a game since the teams met in the Arizona Desert. With 6:16 remaining in the first quarter Boise State possessed the ball in a 0-0 contest and ESPN’s win probability model gave the Bears just a 33.8% chance of winning. Baylor’s only win in the past 343 days prior to today was a 31-12 beatdown of Harsin and the Broncos in the Arizona Desert.
The odds of Boise State blowing both of those leads to Wyoming and Air Force combined with losing to Baylor after playing to a scoreless tie with 6:16 remaining in the opening period? 33.8% of 0.726%.
Two weeks ago Boise State was on the verge of a return to the polls for the first time since their loss to Air Force when they lead the 20th-ranked Washington State Cougars 31-10 with eight minutes remaining in Pullman. The combination of boneheaded play-calling and boneheaded player-mistakes lead to a 47-44 loss to a team that was only given a 0.4% chance of pulling off a stunning come-from-behind victory by ESPN’s win probability model.
The odds of blowing that lead combined with the stunning odds of their three previous losses? 0.4% of 0.245%.
Then last night happened. Harsin and his team hosted a 2-1 Virginia Cavaliers squad that only lead the FCS’s William & Mary 21-10 with 6:50 remaining in the fourth quarter of a home win exactly three weeks ago. An ACC program that got doubled-up at home by the Indiana Hoosiers. An ACC program that beat lowly UCONN by 20 points at home. That program led Bryan Harsin and Boise State 42-14 with 2:08 remaining in last night’s contest before cruising to a 42-23 win. After the Broncos jumped out to a 7-0 lead four minutes and thirty-two seconds into the game they had just a 10.5% chance of losing according to ESPN’s win probability model.
The odds of all five of these losses happening considered as one single event?
Boise State’s last five losses are statistically impossible.
There are no more acceptable excuses for Bryan Harsin.
The storied Bronco Football Program is in serious trouble right now.
That is not hyperbole.
Follow me on Twitter @RobertJPfeifer.