I was talking with my brother who lives in Wisconsin on Sunday and of course the subject of college football came up. He was trying to digest yet another Washington State Cougar loss (his alma mater) while I was constantly reminding him that my University of Washington Huskies had destroyed the low life Cougs on Saturday night in Seattle. If you’re a Cougar alum the past few years have not been kind but then again, life's been tough being a Husky as well.
Eventually our conversation worked its way to the subject of this years bowl games. Surprisingly, he said "if Boise State doesn't get into a BCS bowl it will be a crime." "What do you care?" I asked.
It seems as though he and many of his friends in Wisconsin have been following the Broncos for a few years now ever since the dramatic come from behind win in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma. "Have you seen them play this year?" I asked. "Every time they are on ESPN we're watching" he offered. He knew every BSU player, what they had accomplished and even suggested that in his opinion Kellen Moore was the best quarterback in college football! I was stunned. Most die hard WSU Cougar fans don't have the mental ability to recognize anything except what's right about the Cougs, let alone some college football team in Boise, Idaho. Finally, my brother said "the Broncos are my favorite college football team right now." A guy in Wisconsin saying he loves the Boise State Broncos?
I couldn't help but think, 'How many others across the country are like my brother?' I've come to the conclusion that there are probably many just like him. Why you ask? Well, as he stated, they are on national television often with ESPN having the WAC football contract. The Broncos are no doubt one of the more inventive offenses in the country, have exciting players and they put on a show every game.
My brother, having been a Cougar fan all his life, is used to being a fan of the underdog. The Cougs are always underdogs. "Besides being an exciting football team to watch what else do you like about Boise State" I asked. "They are not supposed to be able to play in the 'tall weeds'" he responded. What? That's Wisconsin talk for not being considered at the same level as the more elite BCS programs. He went on to point out that the Broncos are simply a team that is hard not to love and support. I think I agree with him.
Geographically, the Broncos are 'out there in Idaho' someplace. Many around the country think the folks in Idaho still ride to work on a horse, have outhouses and their phone numbers are 'two longs and a short'. Not true at all, especially the part about the outhouses.
Boise State is considered 'just a kid' when it comes to playing college football. They've only been a Division 1 program for a little over 10 years. They are members of the Western Athletic Conference which doesn't exactly strike fear in most opponents. They don't get the five-star or even the four-star high school players and in fact if you check their roster BSU is lucky to get 2 or 3 three-star athletes a year. And that's on a good year. Many of the players who start for the Broncos are actually 'walk on' players. In short, they just aren't supposed to be good, let alone have undefeated seasons!
The Bronco's quarterback the past two years is a kid right out of Mayberry. Kellen Moore looks like anything but a college football player. Frankly, he just doesn't look like a guy that should be out there playing in the 'tall weeds.' Moore grew up playing and studing the game of football when he was still sleeping in a crib. His dad was a very successful high school coach in a little town in south central Washington State. Kellen started watching films of football games when he was probably 4 years old. He broke almost every passing record in Washington State high school history but few were beating on his door to offer him a free ride to play college football. In fact Chris Petersen the head coach at Boise State had to be talked into offering Kellen a scholarship! Really! He just wasn't supposed to be the quarterback who presently leads the nation with highest quarterback rating. All said, Kellen Moore is simply that rare guy that you can't help but love if you're a true college football fan.
When one really thinks about it what isn't there to like about Boise State and that kid from Mayberry, especially if they are going to be playing in a major bowl game against one of the really 'big boys' (elite BCS program.) How many around the country will be cheering on the Broncos come bowl time? Could the Broncos be 'America's Team' come January 4th? It's David versus Goliath and I'm willing to bet that there are many more fans of 'David' than there are of Goliath. Who said that Boise State couldn't play in the 'tall weeds?'