Dream on: Boise State not BCS title worthy

It was late in the first quarter, after the opening-drive fumble, after the dropped pass off a fake punt that meant Kyle Brotzman won't be made available for interviews until age 45, after the fluttering throws and interception, that I began searching for Leonardo DiCaprio.

This had to be a dream. Leo had to be invading it and making Boise State's football team look like a home side we pity roughly six times a year at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The only things missing, besides buildings crashing and streets folding over, were players from Auburn and Oregon laughing.

Reality, though, was always going to mean this in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas: Boise State would determine how long the game remained competitive.

The Broncos were always going to dictate what happened Wednesday evening because they were that much better than Utah.

Better than the 16-point spread.

Better at restricting their players from talking.

Better at attempting 2-point conversions off extra points for no apparent reason other than, well, to prove they can.

Better at everything.

But national championship good?

That would have taken a serious inception.

Boise State won 26-3 before the second largest gathering (41,923) in the bowl's history and afterward spoke of the satisfaction such a victory brought.

The Broncos finished 12-1. Their only loss was at UNR in overtime. They again beat most people with the ease of blinking.

But nobody who watched them here with an unbiased eye could have walked away feeling they were BCS Championship game worthy. Not the way they performed. Not by turning the ball over four times and having a field goal blocked and fumbling while going in for scores.

The persistent rains stopped an hour before kickoff and yet both teams played as if competing in a driving storm. Utah didn't have as much to prove as Boise State and performed as such. The Utes were brutal.

The Broncos?

They should have scored 50 and didn't come close.

Texas Christian remains an undefeated non-BCS automatic qualifier as it enters the Rose Bowl, and perhaps the Horned Frogs can impress enough against Wisconsin to offer an argument they should earn championship consideration when the final Associated Press poll is released.

Boise State won't finish in the top five and, after Wednesday, shouldn't.

"It's very difficult to win every week," Broncos coach Chris Petersen said. "You can be the best team in the country and drop a pass or fumble when you shouldn't or miss a field goal when you shouldn't. We felt that if we took care of business in this game, that we could really feel good about the season. Just go out and prove it one more time.

"(The game) probably shouldn't have been that close, but Utah made some plays and we didn't make some plays we normally do."

This is it, UNLV fans. This is the new program you're chasing, even though right now that equates to a Matchbox car against a Ferrari.

Boise State arrives in the Mountain West Conference next season and brings with it a Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback (Kellen Moore) and a running back with the speed of an X-15 (Doug Martin).

The Broncos are very good. At some things, they're great. They're also arrogant, which when you lose about as often as a grocery store in Boise runs short on potatoes, you can be.

You can run that fake on an extra point with a 16-3 lead in the second quarter and fail and it doesn't matter.

But it says something and not the best of something.

You can also keep a kid (Brotzman) who on a night sets an NCAA record for kicking points, drops a pass off a fake punt with his team driving early, kicks two field goals and has another blocked, all while playing his final college game, shielded from the media.

Reason given: "That's how (Petersen) wants it."

"We had a great season," Moore said. "We didn't take care of business in one opportunity and Nevada kind of deserved that victory. They took care of business. This is still a great team and one of the best in the country."

They looked it for much of the season and yet not on this night. The Broncos, surprisingly, ended the year exactly where they deserved.

They return here next season to play UNLV.

I'm guessing if there are any kickers worth talking to, a call to DiCaprio might be in order.

I have to believe Petersen allows himself a few hours of sleep when he's not controlling everything.

Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4618. He can also be heard from 2 to 4 p.m. Monday and Thursday on "Monsters of the Midday," FOX Sports Radio 920 AM.