Considering the way the college football playoffs turned out, it’s hard to complain. Two of the games went to overtime. Monday’s championship game didn’t need to go that far, but Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos missed a 36-yard try at the end of regulation that would have given the Tide the championship. He also missed a 40-yarder in the first quarter.
On the other side of the visibility spectrum, there’s Utah State, which lost in the Arizona Bowl, largely due to four missed field goals by Dominik Eberle, including one in overtime — a 29-yarder.
Eberle had missed only two field goals during the regular season.
With the number of close games that are played each year, a position that is often overlooked is increasing in prominence. Utah has made a living off good punters and kickers such as Louie Sakoda, Andy Phillips, Tom Hackett, Mitch Wishnowsky and Matt Gay.
There was a time when many schools hesitated to offer scholarships to placekickers. They had to earn them. But last month when I asked Kyle Whittingham if there was a date when he consciously got serious with kicker recruiting, he said, “We’re serious about every position. That’s no different than any other position. We’ve just had a good run.”
Former Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz, once a BYU placekicker, told me in 1995 “you want to be as boring as possible” as a kicker.
This year in the postseason, no one could be accused of that.