Pieces of the Puzzle

How does one explain the results of the 2005 Bronco football team to date? Certainly every college football fan across America and every media analyst has their own opinion. A season can be compared to a complicated puzzle that only becomes clear upon conclusion. Each week, a new piece is put into place. Like a key piece to a jigsaw puzzle, tonight's game in Honolulu will give valuable insight into what the 2005 Boise State football team will look like at the end of the season.

No matter what the tradition of a college football team or its recent record, each year the collection of individuals that make up the team will establish its own identity. Irregardless of what the team did last year or how many players from that team return, each year will be defined by its own chemistry, or how well the players come together, support each other and show leadership. Chemistry is affected by many things both publicly and privately,in fact by a myriad of things that the average college football fan never sees or hears about. It can be shaped by factors out of their control as well as the daily interaction between players. How well a player is doing in school or other areas of their life very much influences their own role in the makeup of the team. Leadership obviously plays a big part in establishing a team's definition, both by the coaches but also by the players themselves. Many times, the team captains and seniors will set the tone for the rest of the team, both in their work ethic (leadership by example) as well as helping to carry out the coaches' wishes (i.e. making sure team rules are followed, etc.). The individual identity that each college football team develops begins to take shape at this point in the season. Hence, tonight's game against Hawai'i may give a clearer picture of the identity of this year's Boise State football team.

Simply put the Bronco football team is an enigma at this juncture. It is still early. However, computer rating services are all over the map--Billingsley has them ranked #15 while PerformanZ puts them at #95, with other computer models showing everything in between. There is no way one can logically define their identity. In examining the college football results to date, how does one explain the following: Boise State gets slaughtered by Georgia, then loses to Oregon State. Oregon State proceeds to get creamed by Louisville, who in turn gets beaten soundly by South Florida. Meanwhile, Bowling Green plays a great game against #17 Wisconsin, giving the 17th-ranked Badgers all they can handle. Wisconsin goes on to defeat #14 Michigan. Then Bowling Green rolls in to Boise and gets manhandled by the Broncos.

The above results defy logic, which is one of the great things about college football. So clearly the identity of the 2005 Boise State football squad has yet to take shape. Is this a good team that is incapable of winning games against major competition (ALA Georgia and Oregon State)? Is it a bad team that just got lucky against Bowling Green? Or a bad team that just happens to play good when they are home? Or was the Bowling Green game more indicative of the talent level of the 2005 team? Were they too hyped up, psyched up or amped up to play against Georgia? Did that humiliation carry over into the Oregon State game? Is this year's Boise State a great football team that severely stubbed its toe in the opening two games? Tonight's game far, far away from Bronco Stadium will in many ways provide some insight into what kind of identity the Boise State Broncos of 2005 will be known for. It will be fascinating to watch.

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