Three years ago, before the phenomena of athletes kissing their biceps after scoring a touchdown was deemed “Kaepernicking,” Boise State football was on the cusp of completely changing the structure of college football.
Only Nevada, one wacky new pistol offense, and Colin Kaepernick stood in the way of the Broncos.
Had Boise State defeated No. 19 Nevada in overtime that November Friday night in Reno, Nevada, the Broncos would have won the 2011 Rose Bowl, joined the eventual Pac-12 Conference and changed the entire destiny of Boise State football.
In case you didn’t already know, that didn’t happen. Two missed kicks ended a 24-game win streak and dropped the Broncos from their No. 4 out of the BCS bowl conversation.
It was Nevada’s best day in program history, and senior kicker Kyle Brotzman’s worst nightmare after missing a 26-yard field goal to win the game at the end of regulation, and a 29-yarder in overtime.
Brotzman inevitably became public enemy No. 1 in Bronco Nation for his miscues.
Boise State sat one spot behind No. 3 ranked Texas Christian in the BCS standings, and a win over a Top 25 opponent would have added yet another positive bullet point to the Broncos’ regular season resume.
On the other side, TCU defeated New Mexico on the road, one week after they pounded the overrated, No. 5 ranked, Utah Utes. Andy Dalton had a career-passing day in Salt Lake City, Utah and positioned the Horned Frogs directly in front of the Broncos for consideration by the Rose Bowl and BCS National Championship game.
If Brotzman accurately kicked one of his late field goals between the Reno uprights, Boise State would have defeated their third Top 25 regular season opponent and looked far more attractive to bowl selection committees than their equally undefeated counterparts.
To speculate that Boise State wouldn’t have been as successful if they played Utah in Week 11 is also off base, considering the Broncos didn’t allow an offensive touchdown to the Utes in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas in their 26-3 at the end of the season.
One kick. One kick would have placed Boise State in the college football promised land that is the Rose Bowl, and TCU in the Fiesta Bowl. One kick would have given Chris Petersen his third BCS bowl game win in four years. And one kick could have caused the Pac-10 Conference to choose Boise State instead of the sorry excuse for football programs Colorado and Utah for the new super conference.
This season may have been Boise State’s last opportunity to make a bid for one of the four power conferences in college football, and with the new playoff system being implemented, the dreams Bronco Nation once had of a national championship have faded away.
Bronco fans called for a playoff for years as they watched Boise State get snubbed by BCS voters, but the development of a playoff system ironically killed the Broncos’ chances of ever finishing No. 1.
Nevertheless, Joe Southwick’s mustache grows on. So that’s something.