As the reach of Boise State football expands, it is fascinating to hear the take on Bronco football from each region of the country. Thanks to the diversity of BroncoCountry, we have heard from NYCBoise Fan and jojobro in Florida in past years. Now Nashville Bronco gives this vivid portrait of how Tennesseans view Boise State.
perceived as the country music capital of the world, a.k.a
In reality, it's a large and diverse melting pot made up of some pretty decent
people (as long as they're not driving). Should you ever
have the need to drive in
, know this:
"southern hospitality" ends when a Nashvillian gets behind the
The majority of Tennesseans, whether male or female, follow at least one major
sport. When the topic turns to college football and is eventually steered
by yours truly,
just about everyone has an opinion.
That wasn't the case when I moved to
although in my admittedly biased opinion,
had announced their
arrival on the national scene on a certain November evening in
If you were looking to find
gear, forget it
(now, it's everywhere). There was no mention of
in the paper other
than an occasional score. In fact, the first two years I was here,
the three things mentioned most about Boise State were:
1. More often than not, they covered the spread,
2. The blue field, and
3. NCAA football 2003/2004 (PS2) - Men and boys alike loved
playing as Boise State
As Boise State slowly gained national respect over the next few years,
folks here were coming around. Still, detractors pointed to
schedule strength and playing in a week conference as valid reasons to
's legitimacy as a
team that could compete amongst the nation's elite. The epic
2004 Liberty Bowl tilt vs.
additional respect, no thanks to Trev Alberts (then, still at
ESPN) who was telling everyone
was going to lose
by 60. I'm getting off topic here, but it's amazing what a difference four
years makes. Any of you who heard Alberts call the
game last year
know what I'm talking about.
There were a few people that drove from
miles) just to watch the Liberty Bowl because in their words, they wanted
to see, "good football." I sat behind father/son that were
fans who said it
was one of the best games they had ever seen.
The respect gained in the eyes of Nashvillians was quickly done in one game
expected, here came the, "I told ya' so's." I was told that
South Eastern Conference football was ruler of all and how dare a team from the
Western Athletic Conference think they could compete with the mighty Bulldogs of
Georgia. 2005 was, by far, my worst year as a Bronco fan in
got drilled by
and the loss to
today. Everyone here was pretty brutal, but I brought it on myself.
I had mentioned we were on the cusp of something great (no, I didn't predict
, but I did
predict a two loss season). I was just a year too early.
By 2006, I had developed a rapport with several clients/acquaintances. As
the season started to unfold, rare was the day that Ian Johnson wasn't mentioned
at least once. They found it hard to believe that a running back that was
pulling away from Pacific-10 Conference defensive backs could end up at
. But even
after destroying both
, plentiful were
those that still had
on their mind.
When the B(c)S pairings were announced, there were several "concerned"
clients that told me to save my money and stay home. "Why go to
Bigger, faster, stronger..." Blah. Blah. Blah.
When it came to the perception of
There's not a week that goes by without someone bringing up the game (prompted
by the fact that I'm wearing something
related about 90%
of the time). I've lost count of how many times I've been told,
"That's the greatest game I've ever seen." Many went on to
was robbed by not
having the opportunity to compete for the Mythical National Championship.
Few even remember the loss to
later that year
(However, former ECU RB Chris Johnson, who now plays for the Tennessee Titans, actually has pictures in his hallway of his exploits
believe that if you actually polled random football fans around
's bowl record is
over the last 5 years, most would probably say 3-2.
Even though the Fiesta Bowl legitimized Boise State as a team that could compete
with the B(c)S elite and since 2002, the Boise State football program
was pretty much a regular in the top 25 of most major polls, the
Bronco program still wasn't viewed as equal.
was the house
guest that came over for the party and even though they'd had too much to
drink, they weren't allowed to sleep it off on the couch. Because this is
and always will be SEC country, someone was nice enough to call us a cab and
make sure we got home safe.
It's not enough to win the WAC. In
, in order to continue
to gain respect,
needs at least one
signature win during out-of-conference play. The perception here is
conference doesn't lend itself to truly being tested and therefore,
the Broncos' OOC schedule should be beefed up. When I point out to them
that their OOC schedules contain more cupcakes than Hostess, they're quick to
retaliate with the SEC argument.
Prevalent is the belief that
get drilled in the SEC, due in large part to blowouts in '02 and '05. I,
like most Bronco fans, would love to try and compete amongst college
football's elite on a weekly basis given equal resources (that's a pretty hard
sell here). Most are unaware of how much
comparatively little. For those who are curious, a comparison of
athletic budgets rarely fails to surprise (a big thank-you to whoever
posted those comparisons on Bronco Country).
, most people here
will always like
. Whether or
not that will ever turn to total respect remains to be seen. The
overwhelming majority cite the WAC as an anchor that's holding
back and an
invite to a more competitive conference is a move that needs to happen
at some point in order to progress as a football power.
I'm still hearing, all too often, about the unfair advantage afforded
due to blue uni's
on a blue field. Thanks, media. Thanks, sheep.
Yesterday, someone noticed me dressed in
gear from head to
toe, and yelled, "
pointed out to him that his school cheated and that I couldn't accept a
team that wore a uniform the same color as the field they played on.
He doubled over with laughter; one of the few that gets it.
I'm fortunate to be in a business that lends itself to casual conversation
during the course of the day and it's been fun to watch perceptions of
change over the
It doesn't look like I'm going anywhere anytime soon, so hopefully, that
perception will continue to change for the better. If not, I can always
drown my sorrows with a nice, tall glass of sweet tea.