Boise State is playing in a bowl game tonight. It is December 22—a little earlier than the game they had hoped to play in, I'm sure.
But Boise is instead left playing against Utah in a bowl in Las Vegas. Decent, but far from a BCS game.
If they were in a BCS conference, then they would have had a much better shot at playing in a BCS bowl. Just as Wisconsin and Stanford are.
But they're not in a BCS conference. And unlike TCU, they won't be in one in 2012. Boise State must deal with the fact that to even get a shot at a BCS bowl, they must go undefeated.
And even if they do go undefeated, they still probably won't play for a national championship. Look at TCU this year.
Now I'm not saying Boise State is better than, say, Stanford or Wisconsin. Because those are two very good football teams.
But if they were in the Big Ten or Pac-10, then they'd at least have more of a shot to go to bigger bowls. Instead of bowls that are played before Christmas Eve.
Now obviously this dilemma has been beaten to the bone in the past year. The BCS system is its own animal. We all know that.
But the fact that Boise State fell from possible championship-contender to pre-Christmas bowl-playing team is just ridiculous.
In college football, one loss causes this. It's a shame, but as Boise State learned, the way the system is.
Zero losses as a non-BCS team? You have a slight chance to play for the national championship and a solid chance for a BCS bowl game.
One loss? Well, that's simply one loss too many.
And Boise State will be baking in the Las Vegas sun as a result of that.