1980 was a landmark year in the history of Boise State football. In that year, the Broncos won a dramatic victory to capture the Division I-AA National Championship. In the thirty years since that honor, Boise State's rise to national prominence in Bowl Championship Series football has been meteoric. In fact, the Broncos are now positioned to finally cash in on a companion trophy to the 1980 award: a BCS national title. There are many reasons and underlying achievements that have led to this moment.
Boise State recently became the fastest team to win 300 games as a four-year school in the modern era by winning their 300th in just 38 years (1968-2005). The mantra of "Undefeated Seasons Live Here" rings especially true. Boise State is the only school in the nation to achieve three undefeated regular seasons in five years--2004, 2006 and again in 2008. The Bronco football team rose to the BCS Top 10 in all three of those seasons and finished in the Top 5 after defeating Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
Boise State is the undisputed leader of undefeated seasons but perhaps a better indicator of consistency is what a team can do over time. The Broncos are also well recognized for that. Boise State is one of 29 teams in the history of college football to win seven or more games for ten consecutive seasons (1999-2008). They are one of only six teams in college football history to win seven consecutive games in seven consecutive seasons (2002-2008). They are one of 18 teams in college history to win eight or more games for ten straight years and one of only 19 teams to win nine or more games for six consecutive years. Last year, the Broncos became one of 20 teams in NCAA history to win 10 or more games in six years of a decade (2001-2008) and reached the top 10 of all-time by winning 10 or more games in eight of 10 years (1999-2008).
In list after list above, Boise State has proven it is ready for its run for a major college national championship. In each one of those lists, nearly all of the teams making the elite group have one thing in common--a national championship that went along with their historic achievement. The fact that Boise State is the only school in all of those elite lists to not win a national title suggests that the Broncos are due. Bias can only last so long and the naysayers will be drowned out by the loud and clear voice from college football fans that Boise State deserves its shot.
Boise State has made a habit of finishing in the Top 15--they did it in three consecutive seasons (2002-2004) and five times in the last seven years (adding the 2006 and 2008 seasons). They defeated two Top 25 teams in bowl games (TCU on their home field in 2003 and Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl).
In fact, Boise State's football team is one of just seven elite teams in the nation to finish in the Top 15 of the USA Today Coaches Poll in five of the last seven years. The Broncos finished #12 in 2002, #15 in 2003, #13 in 2004, #6 in 2006 and #13 this past season. USC, Texas and Ohio State lead the elite list with a perfect seven finishes in the Top 15, while Georgia and Oklahoma have six each and Boise State and Auburn five apiece. What should jump out at the reader is that Boise State is the only school in that group that has never gotten to play for a national championship.
The list of teams over the past seven years to win 80 games, make seven bowl games, win at least six conference championships and be ranked in the Top 20 at least five of those years. is down to just two--Boise State and USC. USC has been recognized for that success with numerous national championship appearances and yet the Trojans' companion in that two-school elite list has not.
Bronco football team enjoyed the nation's longest winning streak (From
Boise State's climb to the top of the football world is also evidenced by statistics. They finished in the top 10 in the nation in scoring five times (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005) and won the national scoring title in three of those years (2000, 2002 & 2003). The Broncos finished in the top ten in rushing in 2006 (2,784 yards), the top ten in rushing defense in both 2004 (103.9 yards per game) and in 2006 (89.1 yards per game), the top ten in turnover margin in 2006 (+11), the top ten in interceptions in 2003 (21), 2004, (23 (2nd)) 2006 (20)and again last year (22). The Broncos led the nation in rushing touchdowns (49 in 2004). Kicker Tyler Jones led the nation in field goals in 2004, hitting 24 of 27. Boise State finished in the top 10 in the nation in total offense for three consecutive years (2002-2004). This past year, they were third in the nation in scoring defense (11.3 points per game) and 2nd in pass efficiency defense. They finished in the top ten in the nation in punt returns (16.56 yards per return (3rd) in 2004)and 4th in net punting (39.57 yards per punt) and 4th in sacks allowed (13.0) in 2008.
Boise State head coach Chris Petersen was the national Coach of the Year after leading the Broncos to their perfect season in 2006 singling him out as the best coach in the nation. Running back Ian Johnson became the second Bronco to be named to the All-America team in 2006. Tackle Ryan Clady was a near-unanimous All-American in 2007.
The National Football League has taken notice. In 2007, tackle Daryn Colledge became the third Bronco to be drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft. Colledge immediately made an impact for the Green Bay Packers and was named to the All-Rookie team of the NFL. Last year, Clady was selected in the first round of the Draft by the Denver Broncos and Boise State was one of a handful of schools to place two former players on the All-NFL team (Clady and safety Quintin Mikell of the Philadelphia Eagles).
People look at strength of schedule in evaluating college football teams. In the past six years, Boise State has defeated five "BCS teams" (Iowa State of the Big 12 Conference, Oklahoma of the Big 12 Conference, Oregon State of the Pacific-10 Conference twice and Oregon of the Pac-10 last season. In the last two years alone, the Broncos are 3-1 against BCS teams. Last season, Boise State led all 14 BCS Bowl-eligible teams with a perfect 8-0 record over bowl eligible teams on their schedule.
A school that can accomplish all of the above is worthy of a shot at the national championship; history bears that out. The point is that a school that continues to achieve historic feats and join elite lists not only in this decade but in the history of college football will be appropriately rewarded for that consistency. The feat may or may not be accomplished this year or next year but it is imminent.
This is Boise State's time and they are in position to finally add that missing trophy to the mantle--one of a BCS National Championship. It's about time.