Bronco Football Team Celebrates Past, Looks Forward
March 18, 2029
On another typically beautiful early spring day in Boise, more than 120,000 faithful Boise State fans turned out at Hawkins Bronco Stadium to acknowledge BSU's latest national championship football team.
"This is becoming a pleasant habit," said Mayor Beiter, now in his 7th term, addressing the packed stadium. "And I hope it continues to be so."
Indeed, in capturing its 17th national football championship in the last 25 years, including seven straight, Boise State has solidified its place in the not only the annuals college football, but in all of college sports. The latest NCAA-record-setting squad graduates arguably as the best assemblage of college football talent in history.
Head Coach Dan Hawkins, entering his 29th year at Boise State, was introduced by Idaho Governor Tom Hanks to a deafening roar and standing ovation that forbade him from speaking for nearly 10 minutes.
"Thank you Boise," Hawkins finally spoke as the cheers slowly subsided. "This year's team is as special as any we've had. To see what this group of young men has accomplished both on and off the field over the last year is a testament to them, and them alone."
"Not only have they been a success on the field, but to have a group of men with a 3.94 combined GPA shows their level of character and dedication. Football is a game, a mere microcosm of life, but these kids have embraced both with equal vigor and enthusiasm."
Festivities during the 1-hour program included presentation of the NCAA National Championship trophy, performances by the Boise State Marching Band, and a special surprise concert by lifelong BSU fan Beyoncé.
Also honored during the program with the NCAA 10th annual Academics & Athletics Leadership Award was the Broncos new Running Backs Coach and former 4-time NFL MVP, Brock Forsey. Coach Forsey, who led the backfield to numerous NCAA rushing records while driving them to a perfect 4.0 GPA in the classroom, waved to the adoring crowd as he accepted his trophy from Coach Hawkins and NCAA President Chris Petersen. Forsey eked out the win over fellow BSU alum and current Quarterbacks Coach Ryan Dinwiddie.
"It's always good to have two Super Bowl MVPs on your coaching staff," said Hawkins. "Brock and Ryan's numerous years with the Green Bay Packers have given them so many great experiences they can share with our team, and even help them aspire to some day perhaps matching their greatness."
"The best way to get your feet wet is to dive right in," beamed long-time Broncos Assistant Coach Pat Hill. "And Brock did that from Day One. He's been a tremendous help and inspiration for our kids, particularly our running backs, so it's no wonder we set so many NCAA rushing and offense records this past season."
Though his instant success with BSU has led to multiple head coaching offers from the University of Nebraska, UCLA and Alabama, Brock has repeatedly stated his desire to remain at BSU for the long term.
"This is home," he explained. "Thomas Wolfe was wrong. It's been a dream to come back and be part of the unparalleled success of my Alma Mater."
After the festivities, Hawkins spent some time in his 20th-floor office on campus reflecting on his tenure at BSU, and spoke openly on his hopes for the future.
Recalling the scandal and bankruptcy that led to the eventual closing of the University of Idaho back in 2006, Coach Hawkins ruminated on how Boise State has been able to not only avoid such issues, but rise so quickly to become the West's academic and athletic powerhouse.
"Yeah, I remember feeling bad about the U of I, but a little Ex-Lax made me feel better," he joked. "But in all honesty, that incident has truly become a blessing for BSU. Having a D-III Boise State satellite campus in Moscow plus others in Coeur d'Alene and Pocatello have really helped our school and program gain a true statewide fan base and presence. And our main campus here in Boise has truly reaped the benefits of that system."
When asked of his most trying times at BSU, Hawkins grinned. "Geez, seventeen championships and you're focusing on the negative? What a shock! I'd alert the media, but you're already here."
"Seriously, though," he continued, "the biggest hurdle was when Chris Petersen left nine years ago to become President of the NCAA. We had one down year to get over that loss, but he really set the standard in so many ways that success was inevitable. Plus, what he's done in turning the NCAA into one of the most reputable associations in the country is absolutely remarkable, so it really turned out to be a win-win."
"Just wait until he becomes President of the United States," deadpanned Hawkins.
Despite the day's celebrations, the BSU coaching staff is already fully engaged in preparations for next year's title defense. Coach Hawkins was undeterred by the recent low rankings of his recruiting class by both ESPN International and FoxSports Worldwide.
"Actually, I was in the ESPN West tower in downtown Boise the other day, and ran into Nick Holt, their recruiting analyst. I courteously provided my opinion regarding his low ranking of our recruits, but honestly, I don't really care. He ranks us low every year, so this is probably a good sign. I don't understand why ESPN continues to hire analysts who never had any coaching or recruiting success of their own. I guess (ESPN CEO) Dan Patrick wanted to give him a second-chance opportunity after Coach Holt was acquitted."
BSU's future does look promising. Defending their 20th-straight PAC-12 title is nearly a given, despite the top-to-bottom strength of the league. Though USC, Oregon, BYU and Hawaii promise to yet again field competitive teams, all four teams visit Bronco Stadium, where BSU has not lost a contest in 26 years. Boise State's home schedule also features non-conference clashes with Big Midwest Conference powerhouse Wisconsin, Nebraska, and the defending Mountain West Conference and Humanitarian Bowl champion, Fresno State. The non-conference slate features trips to Miami, Tennessee, Texas and two-time NCAA runner-up Grambling University. All told, BSU's schedule features 18 season games prior to the NCAA Championship Tournament. By reaching yet another NCAA Championship Game, BSU will set an all-time school record for most games played in a season with 21.
"It's tough, you know," Coach Hawkins remarked. "I mean, who would've thought that we could potentially play 21 games in a single season? Going 19-0 last year was grueling enough. It's a serious challenge to keep playing tough week in and week out. But we've done it before, so I'm confident that we can do it again."
Perhaps one advantage next season for BSU is the NCAA's new policy of having the championship game played on the home field of the team with the best record and the greatest point differentiation—that is, the greatest average difference between points scored and points allowed during the season. BSU has led both categories each year during their current championship run, and a game on the world-famous Blue Grass of Bronco Stadium virtually assures an 8th-straight title.
"I'm excited. The team's excited. And judging by today's crowd and that next month's Blue/Orange game is sold out, it seems the fans are excited," exclaimed Assistant Coach Pat Hill.
"We're ready to get going," agreed Coach Hawkins. "Let's get it on!"