Boise State fans giving their best Elvis impression during the 2013 MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
You may know the fight song by heart. You may dress from head to toe in your favorite school’s colors every Saturday regardless of whether or not it’s football season. You may have even named a pet after the school’s mascot.
But how do you really know you’re a fan of a certain school?
Put simply, it depends. Are there secrets of the past only a diehard supporter would know about? Maybe your university’s success is fairly recent, in which case traditions may have popped up rather recently.
All of the aforementioned reasons are great indicators that you may be someone willing to put a school logo on your tombstone. But for the sake of sounding a little odd, we’re not going to take it that far. The following list has been comprised of five things all Boise State fans can relate to, tombstone etching notwithstanding.
So this means that if you don’t subscribe to each of these five reasons, perhaps you should rethink your fandom.
Just kidding. Maybe.
Here are the five ways you know you’re a Boise State Broncos fan.
It's hard to make the argument that the all-blue uniforms the Broncos often wear are an advantage to the home team.
Remember about a month ago when the NCAA proposed a rule that would require teams to have either their pants or jerseys in contrast with the field color? A rule that, other than the Colorado State Rams when they decide to wear their all-green uniforms, seemed to be directed right at Boise State.
Of course you do.
When news first broke of the proposal, Boise State fans came out in droves to defend the all-blue uniforms that just seemed to feel right on the blue turf. In fact, the article about the proposal remains one of the most commented on Boise State-related pieces that Bleacher Report has ever published.
Some teams change uniforms just about every year. It’s not like Boise State has stayed completely true to an original uniform style either, making small changes in trim color each of the past few seasons.
Shortly after the proposal was made, it was retracted, citing the fact that it did not enhance the image of the game.
Clearly, the blue had to stay.
This makes perfect sense, seeing as how the orange jerseys that the team has brought out in the past haven’t always brought the best luck.
And who really enjoys seeing the team play in gray? Everyone plays in gray these days; it’s hardly making a statement.
Thus, if you are a true Boise fan, you want to be seeing all blue, all the time.
Despite falling to La Salle in the first round, the Broncos made the NCAA tournament this year for the first time since 2008.
Casual sports fans associate schools such as North Carolina and Duke with basketball, Alabama and LSU with football, and Rice and Cal State Fullerton with baseball. After a while, if a school becomes a major player in a sport, they become an “insert sport here” school.
“But we’re also good in lacrosse,” Duke and North Carolina fans will argue. “Basketball comes first, but we’re more than that.”
As Broncos fans know all too well, the same goes for Boise State athletics.
After more than a decade of solid football teams, the school has become associated with its quality play on the gridiron, and casual fans will sometimes lump them into the football-school category.
But as Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast, my friend.”
The Broncos are quickly becoming a school that will begin to compete in a multitude of sports year in and year out. As quickly as the academic reputation is improving, so is the athletics as a whole.
The 2013 Boise State men’s basketball team provided a peek into the future as a Mountain West Conference member, qualifying for its first NCAA tournament since 2008. Head coach Leon Rice has done good things during his three-year tenure with the program, and expectations will be high next year for a team that is still relatively young.
In addition to men’s basketball, the men’s tennis team as well as both the men’s and women’s track & field teams have been competing at a high level for years. While not the caliber of some Pac-12 schools in either sport, the Broncos should continue to improve in all sports as the school’s academic rankings continue to rise.
How many "underdogs" have won two of those gold footballs in the past six years?
Being called an “underdog” is cute…that is, before you’ve won two BCS bowl games, compiled a 129-15 record over the past 10 seasons and been included in the final Top 25 rankings nine of those past 10 seasons.
After that, it’s just kind of annoying.
In no way can the Broncos be considered an underdog in any literal sense of the word.
The Broncos, over the past decade or so, have picked themselves up by their bootstraps and become a nationally competitive team every season.
Sure, it was fun when the Broncos were knocking off teams that they seemingly didn’t have any business beating, and it brought a lot of attention to what was then a burgeoning program. Everyone fell in love with the Little Engine That Could (unapologetically, this author included).
But now, Boise State is a bully to a growing number of teams. The Broncos are now the ones with the target on their back, instead of being the hungry team looking to use that as its own external motivation.
It isn’t all bad. Eventually, in order to continue to succeed, the underdog has to relinquish the title and move on to becoming a consistent performer. The Broncos have done that, and what has resulted is a program in which top talent is becoming increasingly interested in joining.
Despite rumors of bolting elsewhere, Coach Petersen has stayed loyal to the Broncos while experiencing great success.
After the first season, Broncos fans knew they had someone special leading the football team in head coach Chris Petersen.
Petersen had been the offensive coordinator with the program for five years prior to becoming the head man in Boise, and has since compiled an astounding 84-8 record as head coach, including undefeated seasons in 2006 and 2009.
But perhaps the thing that makes Coach Petersen most likable to the Boise State faithful is that he is not partial to running where the money is.
Several times, Petersen’s name has been thrown in the hat for more lucrative head coaching jobs, only for Petersen himself to announce that he is not interested.
Despite the fact that Boise State gave Petersen a nice pay upgrade to stay with the team through the end of January 2018 (the contract extends a year each season the Broncos win eight games), it has been speculated that money is not the driving factor behind his loyalty to the program.
Whatever the reason may be, fans are extremely happy to have Coach Pete on their side. With his remarkable understanding of effective offensive schemes and his ability to keep the majority of his players satisfied, it is safe to say that he would be a heap of trouble if he were wearing the headset and standing on the opposing sideline.
No Boise State fan will ever forget the excitement of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
There are certain defining events in your lifetime where you will be able to tell someone exactly where you were and what you were doing when the event occurred.
For Boise State fans, one of those events is the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, particularly the last minute of regulation and the overtime sessions that followed.
I can tell you where I was: in my room, the rest of my family asleep, when Drisan James caught the ball, stopped and flipped the ball to Jerard Rabb, who was running the opposite direction. Screaming as Rabb ran toward the end zone, not caring that the rest of my family had long given up on the Broncos as the Oklahoma Sooners began to close the gap near the end of the third quarter.
I had to pinch myself when Vinny Perretta completed a desperation fourth-down pass to Derek Schouman, then remind myself that, yes, this was real life, when Ian Johnson threw the ball into the crowd and the upset had been completed.
Dreams could come true. David was capable of downing Goliath. Over six years later, now over halfway through my college experience, I still use those memories—forever ingrained in my mind—as motivation in many difficult situations.
I’m not from Boise, or even Idaho, so I often wondered if fans of the Broncos felt the same way as I did. On a family trip out West during the summer of 2007, my suspicions were confirmed: They did.
In a Wal-Mart just outside of Boise, the entire big screen TV section was showing a replay of the game. At about eight o’clock at night. In July.
Yet, it seemed as if all of the males in the store were surrounded around one of the bigger TVs, watching the replay with just as much interest as they did when it was happening live: clapping when Boise State pulled off the improbable hook and ladder (we happened to catch the replay at the right time), letting out a collective “oh!” as Schouman made the catch in the end zone, and high-fiving when Zabransky perfectly sold the pass and handed the ball behind his back to Johnson.
That’s when I realized, even though I don’t have any true ties to the university, the Boise State Broncos would forever be a part of the way that I operate in life.
It may sound corny, but then again, maybe that’s just being a fan.