No. 4 Boise State lost in overtime at No. 19 Nevada last night 34-31, effectively ending the Broncos’ BCS title dreams. Kicker Kyle Brotzman, the leading scorer in WAC history, barely missed a 26-yard field goal try at the end of regulation and then another from 29 yards in overtime to seal the losing result.
Boise State’s championships hopes were already on life support. Earlier on Friday, No. 2 Auburn came from behind to defeat No. 11 Alabama, and No. 1 Oregon overcame an early deficit to rip No. 21 Arizona.
Some say the loss to Nevada, another ranked WAC team, is good for future title runs. It legitimises Boise State’s opposition, and perhaps voters won’t sneeze at their accomplishments the next time they run the table. But Nevada’s win was unconvincing. They needed good fortune and a raucous home crowd to knock off Boise State. A complete domination might better support the “legitimate competition” argument.
Speaking of legitimate competition, after the game Nevada coach Chris Ault had a message for the pollsters: his team, and his defeated opponent, could line up against any BCS school in the country.
Unfortunately, most voters already know that. They’re aware that Boise State, TCU, and even Nevada are very good teams. Instead, Ault, and other non-AQ coaches, need to convince voters that their conferences have depth.
What separate the SEC from the WAC is the week-to-week grind. In the last six weeks, for example, Auburn has faced three top-12 teams. Had Boise State survived Nevada that would have been an impressive feat; but Auburn has to withstand those challenges on a weekly basis in the second half of the season. There’s something to be said for strength of schedule.
Boise State compensates for their weaker conference, by scheduling games against top non-conference opponents. But as December nears September results feel like ancient history.
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