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Berry Tramel: The $12 million field goal and a college football playoff

by Berry Tramel Modified: January 11, 2011 at 6:16 pm •  Published: January 11, 2011

You remember, I assume how the G-Men eventually nailed Al Capone.

Not for murder and mayhem. Not for breaking legs nor cracking skulls. Not for bootlegging liquor nor prostitution. Not for the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

Nope, the feds got Scarface on tax evasion.

Valuable lesson there for all you college football playoff fanatics. Sometimes you have to go through the back door.

You want an expanded playoff? You want the bowls to go bye-bye? You demand, as does Dan Wetzel's book, “Death to the BCS”?

Here's your ticket. The $12 million field goal.

Keep talking about gridiron justice and huge payouts and fan demand, keep throwing fits and talking like Robespierre in the French Revolution, and no one in the ivory towers of chancellor offices or the NCAA will lift an eyebrow.

But start talking about Kyle Brotzman, and maybe you've got an audience.

The Boise State kicker is the unfortunate soul who shanked two late field goals, both less than 30 yards, on Nov. 26 against Nevada. Boise State's Rose Bowl dreams ended with a 34-31 overtime loss.

It's not certain that Boise State would have made the Rose Bowl, or even the Orange Bowl, if Brotzman had nailed either chip shot. But it's likely. The Broncos would have returned to the BCS, college football's big stage and big payday.

Which means Brotzman's kicks were worth $12 million. That's the BCS payout to a mid-major school like Boise State. The Broncos wouldn't get all that money; it's split up between school ($3 million to Boise State), conference ($5 million to the rest of the WAC) and the other non-automatic qualifying leagues ($4 million).

But that's serious money to a school like Boise State and a league like the Western Athletic Conference. If Jimmy Stevens had pulled a couple of those field goals against Nebraska in the Big 12 title game, it would have cost the Sooners nine months of sleepless nights but not any real money. The Cornhuskers would have gone to the Fiesta Bowl and everyone in the Big 12 would have been paid roughly the same.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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