No... I'm not talking about the 2014 Broncos.. this was the Dan Hawkins led 2001 Boise State team that had Bronco legends Ryan Dinwiddie at QB, Brock Forsey at RB, the 2001 Broncos that would start the season at 2-3.
In 2001, coming off a Conference Championship and after just losing wildly popular Dirk Koetter to the Arizona State Sun Devils, Boise State and their new staff, led by a "Art of War" quoting, Ghandi inspired unknown named Dan Hawkins lost to South Carolina to open the season, and followed that up with a 21 point loss to Washington State in Bronco Stadium. They then would win two games in convincing fashion before losing, on the road, to the option running Rice Owls.
That 2001 team was searching for it's identity behind a new, young staff. They found their stride 2 weeks later, knocking off a Top-10 ranked Fresno State team on a nationally televised ESPN game.
Will this 2014 product find similar results? If we could hop in a hot-tub time machine and travel back to 2001 after that Rice game, I think we'd find a whole lot of Boise State fans who would never believe that they'd beat a ranked Fresno State team on the road right after the Rice debacle.. yet they did.
The 2001 Boise State team that also had a couple of young players named Mike Sanford and Julius Brown on the team, both of whom now are teaching instead of playing the game of Football as part of the new staff.
This same 2001 Bronco team would then go 12-1 in 2002, 13-1 in 2003, and 11-1 in 2004.. then a 9-4 season in 2005 that was viewed as a disappointment that would usher in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl team.
What does this mean for the 2014 Broncos?
Well, honestly.. nothing beyond the sheer coincidence of circumstances. But what it does show is that sometimes a loss is just that.. a loss. It doesn't foretell a crumbling of a dynasty. It doesn't mean Boise State will never win again. It doesn't mean the 2014 season is over. It doesn't mean it's time to abandon ship. It doesn't mean we need a new staff, a new team, a new anything. The pieces to winning Football are in Boise, or on the way. What we need to do is have patience while this team finds it's new identify.
The 2014 Broncos are searching for that identity behind a young, dedicated staff.. led by a 'Attack the Future' quoting hometown hero, and a number of former Broncos who bleed as much blue as the most die-hard fans. They will find the way to right the ship.
Will they find success similar to that 2001 team? Possibly. But they don't need to beat a Top-10 Fresno State team.. or even a Top-15 BYU team (the 2014 equivalent to the 2001 Fresno team) to find their identity. They just need to buy in and believe in what the staff is preaching, like that 2001 squad.
... and finally, a bit of a forewarning for the 2015 Air Force team. In 2002, when Rice returned the visit to play Boise State on the Blue.. Boise State won 49-7. So, enjoy your victory Air Force, you definitely earned it, no question. But you will never face that 2014 Boise State team again.