For second straight year, kicker costs Boise State shot at BCS

Boise State Broncos defensive tackle Chase Baker (97) sacks Louisiana Tech Bulldogs quarterback Ross Jenkins (11) on fourth down during the first half at Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho, October 26, 2010. REUTERS/ Brian Losness (UNITED STATES)

That cigar smoke you see floating over your house is coming from BCS headquarters, where they’re lighting them up at a furious pace for the second straight season.

Boise State lost to TCU 36-35 today, and just like in last year’s shocking loss to Nevada, the Broncos missed a very makeable field goal at the end of the game. This time, it was Dan Goodale who missed a 39-yard kick as time expired to give the Horned Frogs the win in stunning fashion.

Like last year, the Boise State defense gave up a late lead, and that’s probably where a lot of the blame lies. But watching Goodale miss that kick certainly had to give Boise fans flashbacks to Kyle Brotzman’s miscue against Nevada. One big difference with this is that unlike Brotzman, Goodale hasn’t built up a ton of goodwill around campus for having been a spectacular kicker throughout his career.

The loss puts an end to any hopes the Broncos had of possibly squeezing into the national title game, and probably douses all hopes of getting into a BCS game at all.

And how’s this for schadenfreude? The game was played in Boise only because the Mountain West was trying to stick it to TCU as it was set to leave for the Big East. That worked out well, didn’t it?

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Wow. Boise State’s BCS dreams go up in smoke at Nevada

Nov 26, 2010; Reno, NV, USA; Nevada Wolf Pack kicker Anthony Martinez (40), right, and punter Brad Langley (48) celebrate after Martinez kicked a 34-yard field goal in overtime against the Boise State Broncos at Mackay Stadium. Nevada defeated Boise State 34-31.  Photo via Newscom

So who saw that coming?

Nevada 34, Boise State 31. All talk of a BCS title game appearance, gone. Hell, all talk of a BCS game, gone.

I fell asleep at halftime of this game, as it was nearly midnight and I was whipped after a lot of traveling over the holiday weekend. You know how sometimes when you fall asleep with the TV on and you’re not 100% asleep so what’s happening on the TV is kind of finding it’s way into your dreams? Yeah, I had a lot of that going on in my head. So when I came to at about 3 a.m., I had a weird feeling. Then I saw a graphic on Sportscenter with one loss next to Boise. I literally thought I was still sleeping.

I wasn’t, obviously. You hate to pin losses on one player, but Kyle Brotzman is going to have a hard time getting to sleep for the next few weeks, at least. Especially if Auburn or Oregon fall next week. He missed two chip shot field goals, from the middle of the field. One would have won the game at the end of regulation after Kellen Moore hit Titus Young on one of those plays that a team of destiny makes. The second would have given his team a 34-31 lead in the first overtime.

A friend of mine tweeted last night (yes, I checked my Twitter at 3 a.m. to get confirmation on what I had seen), “I’m surprised ‘That poor kid,’ isn’t a trending topic right now.” And it was accurate. Nearly every tweet written on the game included the phrase, and after watching the highlights you can see why.

But let’s not forget the fact that Nevada’s defense shut down the Boise State offense in the second half until late in the fourth quarter. The Broncos have been stepping on team’s throats all season long, and with a 24-7 lead at halftime, I assumed that’s what they’d do again — hence the sleeping.

I had a feeling Boise might let down after seeing Auburn come back and ruin their chance to move to No. 2. But I thought that might come early if it did, not in the second half with a 24-7 lead. It’s absolutely mind-boggling.

It’s a huge win for Nevada, but an even bigger win for the power conferences, who have one less undefeated team to worry about.

And it’s a huge loss for the Broncos, who went from brink of the title game, to certainly the Rose Bowl to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl all in one day.

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