In the closest game in Bronco Stadium since the 2007 four overtime 69-67 win over Nevada, the Boise State Broncos lost to TCU today 36-35. It was a spectacular game that saw the Broncos go into half time down 20-14.
In the second half, Boise scored a defensive TD off a fumble and with only minutes left led 35-28. But TCU would not be denied. In a gutsy call, Coach Gary Patterson went for two with a minute left to go up 36-35 and managed to hold on for the win.
It will be considered an upset as No. 5 BSU was seemingly cruising toward and undefeated season and a shot at the national championship. But just as last year, when Nevada crushed BSU's hopes, the Broncos will have to settle for a non BCS bowl.
Though many will be surprised at this loss, it was, in fact, predictable. Boise State struggled against the Air Force Academy a few weeks ago and was lucky to win. In their last game, they struggled against conference bottom dweller, UNLV. Clearly, something was wrong in spudville.
In retrospect, even in Week 3, facing a floundering Nevada team, BSU was held to only 30 points, their lowest point total of the season by a Wolf Pack team that had yet to find a QB. Not having faced any real competition since week one against Georgia, BSU has fattened up on un-ranked teams. In what was really only their second test of the season, the mighty Broncos were anything but.
With two consecutive seasons ending with BCS hopes dashed, one has to question whether or not reality is finally catching up with Boise State. The criticism has long been that the Broncos' soft schedule inflated their win-loss record and created a mythical dream team that Boise blue could win it all.
With a win over Oklahoma on two trick plays, BSU earned their first Fiesta Bowl victory and launched themselves into the national spotlight. But as was reported this week in the Idaho Statesman, BSU relies heavily on trick plays.
The hard truth is, reliance on trick plays and a soft schedule will sooner or later set a team up for that big disappointment. For BSU it has now come twice in November with last year's loss to Nevada and today's defeat by TCU.
BSU is a great team and has accomplished much. But, they were never as good as the folks in Boise thought. BSU miscalculated. The strategy appeared to be run the table against mid-pack teams; pick off one ranked team a year in Week 1 and then mobilize a fanatical fan base to demand a shot at the national championship.
That strategy has failed. BSU will now likely finish No. 2 in the Mountain West Conference and at least for now, the darlings of college football, the ultimate BCS busters have gone bust.