For this week’s Q&A, we had the privilege of working with TWO Boise State blogs:
One Bronco Nation Under God
Blue Turf Nation
We fielded the same 5 questions to both these blogs and below is a mashup of what we received back —- read on…
1) Boise State has a unique position in college football and in the minds of college football fans after years of repeated success playing the “outsider”. What advantage / disadvantage does being in that unique role afford your program ?
As far as disadvantages, Boise State always has a target on its back wherever it goes. BCS teams are wanting to put BSU in its place, non-BCS teams are wanting to make a statement. So from an on-field competition standpoint, the Broncos are like the defending Super Bowl champions in every single game they play. It’s exhausting.
But as far as I’m concerned, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. I mean, the Broncos are living the good life. They get tons of national attention and respect. They are ranked in preseason polls, on the cover of magazines, up to their eyeballs in illegal air mattress benefits. These guys have it made. Would I trade any of Boise State’s success to go back to a time when the team was an under-the-radar-underdog? Only on days when SEC fans visit my site.
Boise State’s role of underdog or “Cinderella” has helped it build a huge national following. For a school that is perceived as having such little tradition or history as far as most college football fans are concerned, there is quite a large following of fans across the country and even the world, that 10 years ago may have never even heard of Boise State University. This has helped Boise State grow both its athletics and academics at an astounding pace. On the flip side are the fans and media who feel we have not earned our place in college football because of lack of tradition and history. Because of Boise State’s short history in FBS football, there is a lack of credibility with mainstream media and traditional college football fans, to the point where many of our football team’s greatest achievements are dismissed as luck, or success that could not be achieved or sustained in the “big boy” conferences, or “week in and week out”.
2) What impact does the MWC have on Boise’s success in the future ?
Well, it’s kind of like this: “Hey, guys, I just got on MySpace so I can be part of the in crowddddd-OH NO ARGH FACEBOOK!!!” Boise State went from AOL Instant Messenger to MySpace right when everyone was upgrading from MySpace to Facebook. Now Facebook is the new MySpace, MySpace is the new AOL Instant Messenger, and the Broncos are right back where they started.
So future success for Boise State in the Mountain West will probably be pretty similar to its past success in the WAC. A lot of the teams are the same (Hawaii, Nevada, Fresno) or mirror images of WAC teams (New Mexico, UNLV, etc.). The big difference is that Mountain West teams have larger athletic budges, so eventually they might be more competitive than they are now.
I’m quite okay with the situation because Boise State will be the clear-cut favorite among non-BCS teams for the next decade, which would give the Broncos first dibs on that BCS berth. It’s not a bad place to be in, all things considered.
I think the move to the MWC has helped Boise State’s perception in the college football world as it is viewed as a tougher, more credible conference than the WAC, even with the defections of Utah, BYU, and TCU. The Bronco’s should be able to recruit at a higher level, and will have more revenue earning potential with the television contract as well as less expenses due to the decreased travel compared to the WAC.
3) What would define a successful season for Boise ? What would constitutes a failure or missed opportunity for this season ?
I think Boise State has to get back to a BCS bowl for the season to be a success. That seems like a mighty high expectation, but this team is loaded and experienced and it is Kellen Moore’s last hurrah. After missing out last year on the BCS, missing out again would be a major bummer.
The standards for success are very high in Boise. If you ask any Boise fan what the two worst seasons are in this incredible run of the past decade they would tell you 2005, in which we went 9-4, and 2007, when we finished at 10-3. I would say most teams in the country would be more than happy with those seasons, but the reality is both of those years were considered down years for Boise State football. The goals for this program are very high, and at this point I feel anything less than a BCS game would be a missed opportunity. We were one bad half of football away from a BCS game last year, and although we ended on a high note with a win over Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl and finished 12-1, there was a bad taste left in Bronco Nation’s collective mouths. There are many of us that feel we are on the cusp of something great, and that maybe even a National Championship is possible. Boise State has been successful at every level of competition in football since first fielding a team in 1933, including National Championships at the Junior College level (1958) and NCAA 1-AA level (1980). In their entire football playing history, Boise State has gone 564-206-10 (.723). Expectations are very high for the Broncos.
4) With many people interested / nervous with the situation brewing in the Big 12 right now in regards to conference expansion / realignment / etc. and the cascading changes across the entire football landscape, what are your thoughts on the best fit for Boise ? What about a dream scenario ?
I would love to see Boise State get into an AQ conference and to have a legitimate shot to show people they can play week-in and week-out with BCS teams. I don’t think this is a reasonable expectation, but I sure would like it.
My dream scenario would be that the NCAA moves to four super conferences and institutes a 16-team playoff at the end of the year. The really bad teams would be contracted, and some sort of relegation system would be put in place so that FCS schools could move up to FBS. Also, churros for everyone!
A Big 12 sans OU and OSU, but with the rest of the members intact would be the best option for Boise State, as it would bring AQ status and a better conference schedule. Should the Big 12 disintegrate, a MWC that can pick up Big 12 leftovers and gain AQ status is the next best option, and it provides a better fit geographically. A dream scenario would be a Pac-12 invite as this combines the positives of both scenarios: AQ status, upgrade in scheduling, and a perfect geographic fit.
5) What are the keys to Boise’s success in this game against Toledo ?
If Toledo wants to win, they’ll have to do so in a shoot out. I just don’t see the Toledo defense stopping the Boise State offense. So with that in mind, the Broncos need to make sure the Toledo offense doesn’t pull any rabbits out of its hat. Stop the Rockets on 3rd down, win the battle of field position, and create turnovers. The Broncos could do a lot of things wrong and still win, but if they do those three things right, they will win going away.
On offense: If Boise State does exactly what they did at Georgia they will be successful. First they need to establish the running game and get both Doug Martin and D.J. Harper involved. The offensive line, which allowed no sacks against the Bulldogs, needs to build on this effort and continue to improve in their run blocking. If the Broncos can run the ball well, the excellent pass protection will allow Kellen Moore to do his thing. It is also important that the receivers show that what they did last game was no fluke, and that there is no need to worry about replacing two NFL players in Titus Young and Austin Pettis.
On defense: Number one key in my opinion is limiting the big play ability of Eric Page . Our defensive line can help by getting a good push and making the Toledo quarterbacking tandem of Austin Dantin and Terrance Owens get rid of the ball fast. It is also important that the defensive front of the Broncos contain the quarterbacks and don’t let them make big plays with their feet. Our safety play is very important, especially in the coverage of Page. If our cornerbacks get beat in man or release in zone it is up to George Iloka , Travis Stanaway, and Jeremy Ioane to limit the damage Page and the other receivers can inflict. It is important to note here that Stanaway and Ioane were co-backups to Cedric Febis entering the season, but Febis is being held out while his eligibility is reviewed. Definitely cannot forget about Adonis Thomas, as a running and receiving threat. Linebacker play here is very crucial so as not to allow Thomas to do much damage. Look for a big game by Byron Hout.
Special teams were somewhat of a concern by Bronco fans coming into the season, but after the Georgia game it appears we are better than expected. Limiting Page on his kick returns is important, and after dealing with Brandon Boykin against Georgia, the Broncos have their hands full again. The kicking game looked good for Boise State in their first game, however they never had to attempt a field goal, and that is a concern. We are not really sure what we have yet in Dan Goodale and Michael Frisina so the Rockets making stops on third down in the red zone could be important.
Covering Rocket football like we do gives us a chance to work with some talented writers and knowledgeable sports fans and these two camps, OBNUG and BTN, are some of the best you’ll find anywhere. Thanks again to everyone who worked on this Q&A from both blogs.