Bowl Projections: Boise State Goes from BCS Game to Lower Tier Game

Sean LansingContributor INovember 13, 2011

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 12:  Kellen Moore #11 and Tyrone Crawford #40 of the Boise State Broncos leave after the loss to the TCU Horned Frogs  at Bronco Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

Live by the mid-major, die by the mid-major.

Regardless of how good Boise State is each season, the reality is one slip-up means a bowl game in mid-December instead of January.

For the second year in a row, Boise State’s season was derailed by a last-second missed field goal—this time at home against rival and fellow BCS buster TCU, 36-35.

It was the first time in 66 games that Boise State lost on the Smurf turf.

And while this loss stings right now for the Boise faithful, it’s going to hurt a lot worse when the season is over for the Broncos before the calendar turns to 2012.

Like the Las Vegas Bowl a year ago, wherever Chris Petersen’s squad finishes 2011 is going to be a major disappointment.

It’s not as though the powers that be at Boise State didn't know before the loss to TCU, but it is more important now than ever that the Broncos jump ship to an AQ conference.

Boise State has one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, a great coach, and an amazing record over the last two seasons. And what are they going to have to show for it?

Back-to-back appearances in bowl games that most people haven’t even heard of.

Until there is a playoff in place for the FCS—which is as big an if as it is a when—great teams like Boise will continue to be punished for the conference they call home.

Nobody doubts that the Broncos could compete with 100 percent of FCS teams 99.9 percent of the time, but it doesn't matter.

Playing in a non-AQ conference is an unforgiving stigma that no team, regardless of how good they are, will ever shake.

It might not be fair, but it’s reality. A one or two-loss AQ conference team will always hold more weight in the BCS than a one loss—or even an undefeated—non-AQ team, and that’s just the way it is.

Unfortunately, the real loser in all of this is college football and its fans.

Teams like Boise State, TCU and this year Houston deserve a shot at the big boys.

Let 'em play, and the performance on the field will undoubtedly prove a lot more than the conference patch on each team’s jersey.