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The Sad And Painful Reality Of Boise State Football

Kellen Moore watches Boise go from National title contender, to just another small school.

I watched a dream die tonight. I watched a season of high expectations, hopes and dreams go up in flames due to what can only be described as $#!! happens.

I watched a program go from the penthouse to the outhouse, from destiny to the dirt roads. I watched a team who had dreams of being one of the greats and becoming a trendsetter for the next generation of college football turn into just another small conference team.

Yep… tonight I witnessed the final night of the movement that was the Boise State Broncos drive for national respect… and the way it ended is so gut-wrenching and cold that it makes me cringe with every tap of my keys.

First and foremost give credit to the Nevada Wolfpack; they won this game Boise State didn’t lose it. Nevada fought off a 24-7 deficit by bringing its vaunted running attack back from the dead with a 239 yard second half. Colin Kaepernick capped off a stellar career by leading his team back from the dead one last time on senior night in Reno and murdering Boise State’s BCS dreams.

Those dreams are the subject of debate that Boise will once again never have the chance of realizing.

Teams like the one that Boise fielded are once in a lifetime for mid-major programs. UNLV had it in 1990 with Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony and Stacy Augmon for the basketball program. Butler’s basketball program just had it with Gordon Haywood, Matt Howard and Ronald Nored, and Boise had it with a roster full of guys that will play on NFL Sundays from Titus Young to Austin Pettis and even D.J. Martin. They had Kellen Moore who if not for the amazing Cam Newton, would be a shoe in for the Heisman. They had Chris Petersen who is one of the top 5 coaches in America who turned this program into somewhat of a power.

Colin Kaepernick and Nevada won the game just as much as Boise lost it.

Yes they played in the WAC conference which is low on star power and good competition. The likes of San Jose State, Idaho and Wyoming don’t strike fear into anyone’s hearts. However, like most good teams they destroy lesser competition without a sweat leaving no room for error.

When they do get their shots at the big boys (which are few and far in between due to fear of losing to the Broncos) they have proven their worth. They swept a home and home versus Oregon, beat Oklahoma, physically dominated Virginia Tech 4 hours away from Blacksburg in a “Neutral Site” game and beating fellow BCS buster TCU in the Fiesta Bowl last year.

They have proven time and time again that they are not a mid-major program; rather they are a growing power akin to Gonzaga or the aforementioned Butler Bulldogs in college basketball. They belong in the conversation of the national title much like Oregon and Auburn and others though many people are still skeptical of their talent level and level of competition.

Then comes nights like tonight. Nights where Boise State is subject to the same kind of happenstance as other teams in other conferences but since they play in the WAC the microscope is so much brighter. Losing to Nevada, no matter the record, no matter the circumstance, no matter how underrated Kaepernick or Vai Tuau are unacceptable is unacceptable for the #4 ranked team in the country from a small conference who people are saying should play for a title. For Gordon Gee, Nick Saban and other detractors a loss like this proves their point, no matter how unfair it is, that Boise doesn’t belong with the big boys.

If #4 Ohio State or USC loses to #19 Michigan State or Arizona then it’s no big deal, it’s big time college football, $#!! Happens. However, in the life of the small budget BCS buster, $#!! happens isn’t a reality. $#!! can’t happen. You have to beat everyone no matter the competition and when you don’t, you’re just another little team from a little conference. That’s Boise State’s reality when they wake up tomorrow morning.

They are no longer darlings of the college football world. We know they can play with the best… but they lost to Nevada… Nevada. Within minutes of Kyle Brotzman becoming the new age Scott Norwood, the Broncos went from the Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl or Fiesta Bowl to the Kraft Hunger Bowl or the Humanitarian Bowl. They were somebody’s, now in an instant they’re that cute little team with that funny blue turf. Life on the D-list.

It was torture the way it happened too. Building a 24-7 lead in the fashion that won them 24 straight games with a quick strike offense and a defense that pushed around Nevada’s o-line. Then they stalled and Nevada came back to tie it up at 24-24. Then with the score 31-31 and overtime eminent, Moore had his Heisman moment; a 50 yard completion to Young who somehow got separation from the secondary and hauled in a prayer. It was over, 25 straight and a win over Utah State away from another BCS game. The Brotzman supplanted Steve Bartman as the biggest goat that sports has seen.

Kyle Brotzman... the new Scott Norwood.

He missed to chip shot field goals in the center of the field, wide left, wide right. Kellen Moore screamed in anguish as the second shot missed and Boise was on the ropes. Then Nevada’s walk-on kick Anthony Martinez did what Brotzman couldn’t, he ended the game by hitting a dead center 35 yarder… and ended the Boise State dream.

I have no ties to Boise, I just wanted the establishment of college football to be shaken, I wanted it to be blown up, and I wanted the little guy to prove that they belong just as much as the big boys and I was sure that this was the team to do it. they had it all, the QB, the coach, the players and the fear of every major conference foe… and in two seconds it was gone. Now Boise State is no better than Hawaii, SMU or… well… Nevada.

Sure TCU is still there, and they will be in a BCS game after they finish 12-0 this Saturday. However, if they play in the BCS title game it won’t feel the same. Boise was a dream team, the chosen team to upset the established order. They started with Oklahoma, progressed to another level by beating Virginia Tech and they were supposed to be the team that reached the mountain top of the BCS. Yet after Friday night in Reno reality sets back in as they get ready for the Aggies on Saturday next week. They’re just another team.

I know they’re better than LSU, Wisconsin, UCONN or any other major conference team that’ll play in a BCS game. They showed what they can do on the national stage. But they lost to Nevada in a cold night in little Reno, Nevada. That’s all that matters. Not that Nevada is 11-1, not that they have the most potent rushing offense in the league, but because they’re Nevada. You don’t lose to Nevada if you beat Virginia Tech and Oregon. That’s the way it is, and that’s why Boise State is once again just another mid-major.

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Full Exposure

The Overrated dont last long at number one coach.

Congratulations Ohio State, thanks to Wisconsin you have been exposed as a fraud. The soft schedule and lack of a true early season road test all came to head this weekend in Madison as the Buckeyes got beaten up by the Badgers 31-18 in their first and only week as the nation’s number one team in the country.

The game was over before it truly began. The Badgers jumped out to a 21-0 lead thanks to a kickoff return by David Gilreath and two John Clay scores. In fact the Badgers running attack is what really did Ohio State in. James White, John Clay and the Badgers offensive line completely controlled the line of scrimmage and pushed back the now overrated defensive line of the Buckeyes  for 184 yards on the ground and Clay become the first runner in 30 games to gain 100 yards on the Buckeyes.

So once again the Buckeyes fail in a game of great importance for their program, OSU should be used to it by now. However Buckeye faithful keep those chins up, because you have plenty of company in the house of frauds this week in both the NCAA and NFL. This weekend was the weekend of the exposed as many teams that we thought we really good were really overrated and their performance showed it.

OHIO STATE

Not to beat a dead horse but Jim Tressel your play calling is quite suspect. Look at the second quarter drive with the Buckeyes inside of the Badgers 10 yard line down 21-0.  Three runs, one up the middle, one QB option and a wildcat formation with Dan Herron at the QB position. Three plays, no points. I guess Tressel forgot about that 6’3 receiver named Devier Posey that he has on the outside and forgot that throwing the ball in that area is a neat option.

However, what really irks me about Ohio State is the lack of fixing the problems that they already knew existed. The special teams was horrible versus Miami and coach said that he would take a big look at it. Guess it wasn’t too good a look after the Gilreath touchdown that put the Buckeyes from behind from the beginning of the contest.

Personnel isn’t the problem it’s the way they play the game and that falls on the coaching staff. The fact that the Buckeyes don’t have a reliable short yardage runner or an intermediate passing game falls on Tressel. You can only live so long with Terrelle Pryor running options and chucking the ball downfield all game.

NEBRASKA

So much for that revenge against Texas.

Well, there goes the Taylor Martinez for Heisman talk and the talk of Nebraska looking to avenge that loss to Texas last year. Texas came in and punched the Huskers in the mouth and sent them off to the Big Ten with a not so lovely parting gift.

As talented as Martinez is the Huskers relied on him a little too much during their first few games and their lack of offensive depth showed as Texas slowed them to a standstill and built up an insurmountable 20-3 advantage.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Gee, thanks Steve Spurrier. After I give you all of those props for closing out the defending national champs at home. You go on the road and can’t hold a 28-17 fourth quarter lead against the SEC’s perennial underachiever in Kentucky.

How does a defense that kept Alabama in check let Kentucky rack up 401 total yards? How does Stephen Garcia go from looking like he turned the corner to throwing two costly picks and the offense struggling with 4 turnovers after running over the Crimson Tide? Take back what I said last week.

NEVADA

I mean I didn’t expect them to get to the Fiesta Bowl, but I did expect them to set up a good undefeated matchup with Boise State in Reno in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately Colin Kaepernick and company couldn’t get that dominant run game going and now we get to not talk about Nevada again for awhile.

THE GREEN BAY PACKERS

I mean it’s not their fault that the entire team seems as though its injured, but to lose a ten point lead in Washington after dominating most of the game and then to come home and lay an egg like they did?

This isn’t the work of a Super Bowl contender. The Packers should have done a better job looking for a backup to Ryan Grant so their running game wouldn’t be abysmal. Also Mike McCarthy’s game management right now is starting to rival Les Miles in Baton Rouge. Maybe they exchanged notes or something.

THE CHICAGO BEARS

I guess that Giants game wasn’t an aberration, that offensive line is poor. Matt Forte is back to being that unproductive running back that teased us with an awesome rookie season. I can’t blame Jay Cutler for being a burden to this team, its every area but the quarterback position this year. He’s probably wishing that he didn’t hurry back from that concussion.

THE ATLANTA FALCONS

Funny story; after watching the Philadelphia Eagles jump to a 21-0 lead with Kevin Kolb slinging the ball all over the Falcons I sent my buddy Scully a text that said that Atlanta was trash, he responded by saying that, you’re only saying that because we’re (the Eagles) are winning. After further review this is not so.

Who do I have to yell at to get us going?

The Falcons can’t defend the pass. Kolb and company turned the game into a track meet and ran all over the field against these guys. They don’t seem like they have the personnel to keep up with speedy playmakers.

Also, this is a horrible road team. Forget the Saints win for a minute, the Falcons in the Matt Ryan era are two games under .500 and routinely come out flat. If they want to win the NFC (which they won’t) then they have to get more focused on the road.

THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS

Ugh. It doesn’t get any uglier than this team. Contract disputes, lack of a running game, an immature and volatile quarterback and a defense that underachieves like no other.  Watching the Chargers on Sunday made me realize how truly dysfunctional this team is. They seem to lack leadership and direction.  They were constantly out of position on defense and the offense couldn’t get a continuous flow going.

With all of that said they still may win the AFC West because the Chiefs may have finally come back down to earth and no one in that division really has any consistent game plan week in and out to make that next step. Still the Chargers are no threat to go anywhere this year, well except Norv Turner. He might be fired in three weeks.

See Buckeyes you weren’t the only contender that laid an egg this week. So cheer up as you and the rest of these teams watch your game film and wonder what went wrong. Also watch as you get passed by every other team in the standings and miss out on another title shot. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being a Buckeye in the last four years it’s that no one gives an underachiever a shot, especially when they get it wrong by overrating you to begin with.