The National, 9/21/12: When Plans Go Awry.

So close, and yet so far away. Like, two whole yards away.

Before We Get Started: You will go read this, and you will do it now. We'll wait for you to get back.

Was It Calculated or Cowardice: Well, kids, for the second night in a row we got a real stiff of a game courtesy of the Worldwide Leader. Boise State's 7-6 win over Brigham Young was not a thrilling defensive battle so much as an exhibition of offensive ineptitude the likes of which we haven't seen since Baby I'm Burning.1 It was bad, bad football, the sort that needs to be stamped out lest it become epidemic. There was only one good thing about this game, and it was FAT GUY TOUCHDOWN.

Normally, the Football Twitter would have been clamoring for overtime, but there was almost an exhalation of relief when BYU scored with 3:37 left and Bronco Mendenhall called for the two-point conversion, because one way or another the game was going to mercifully end in a few minutes. More analytical types decried the call as "stupid" rather than "altruistic" or "worthy of sainthood", and it's an argument that can go both ways. On the one hand, Boise's kicking game is putrid, and had BYU played for the tie they'd have had a decent chance of winning simply by keeping Boise's offense from doing the very thing they did, in fact, keep Boise's offense from doing for the entire game. On the other hand, Brigham Young's kicking game isn't much better, and Mendenhall had absolutely no expectation that his charges were going to be able to find the end zone again themselves, especially if they couldn't punch it in from the two yard line right here, right now. Was going for two Mendenhall's way of saying, "If we can't score here, we don't deserve to win anyway"? Or was it his way of saying "If we tie the game right here, we're going to lose"? Afterward, he indicated it was the former, sort of; he felt that for the first time all game his offense was functioning and they had the momentum, so it was time to try and win the ballgame. I agreed with the call at the time, and Bronco's statement validates my opinion; meanwhile, I suspect that had the PAT been successful, Twitter would have blown up with "YEAH, GREAT GUTSY CALL" rather than "WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING?" since the latter didn't start crossing the timeline until after the attempt failed...

Nick Kroes at One Bronco Nation Under God has some analysis from Boise's side, while Vanquish the Foe's Brett Hein offers the Cougar post-mortem.

1 - That's Auburn 3, Mississippi State 2 for those who don't get the reference.

The Other Thursday Games: I had said there was supposed to be one game per division last night, but I'm an idiot and had the date wrong for the NAIA game between Tabor and St Mary. The others happened, though! In FCS, Arkansas-Pine Bluff held on for a 24-21 road win over Alabama State in SWACtion. Truman State's miracle start came crashing to a halt as they were manhandled at Central Missouri 38-17 in an MIAA conference game in D-II. In D-III, Wisconsin-Platteville pummeled Wisconsin-Eau Claire 49-19.

Friday Football: The marquee game, of course, is #WarDamnHawk hosting Nick Florence and the Bears. The entire list, all times God's Own Time Zone:

  • FCS: Georgetown (2-1) at Princeton (1-0), 6pm ESPNU
  • D-II: Pace (0-3/0-2 NE10) at American International (0-2/0-1 NE 10), 6pm
  • D-III: Framingham State (2-1/1-0 NEFC) at Bridgewater State (3-0/1-0 NEFC), 6pm
  • D-III: MIT (1-1/0-1 NEFC) at Curry (1-2/1-0 NEFC), 6:30pm
  • Baylor (2-0) at Louisiana-Monroe (1-1), 7pm ESPN
  • D-II: Glenville State (1-2/1-0 WVIAC) at Lindenwood (2-1/2-1 MIAA), 7pm

GAMEDAY: Rather than an unwieldy bullet list, I have now taken pity and provided you with a nifty gridded spreadsheet containing Saturday's TV Schedule at Google Docs. The ABC/ESPN2 reverse mirror of UCLA/Oregon State and Temple/Penn State mostly adheres to Big Ten territory, the northern plains states, Mid-Atlantic, New England, and... uh, Tampa getting Temple/PSU on ABC, with the reverse true everywhere else. If you're in Montana, Temple/PSU will be on ESPN2 while Oregon State/UCLA will only be available on ESPN3... because Northern Arizona at Montana will be on the ABC affiliates in the Treasure State.

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