This Thanksgiving, as Boise State players, students and fans sit down to their turkey dinners and prepare for a great couple of great days of college football, there is much to be thankful for in Boise, Idaho.
The Broncos are going to have a double-digit win season...again. They are ranked in the Top 10...again. And they still play some pretty awesome football.
Dare I say this is one of the most exciting years of college football in history?
And it's not even over yet.
While most people will be out shopping in the Black Friday craziness, Bronco fans and players will have their eyes glued to the TV, watching the outcomes of two key games.
The first is Tulsa versus No. 8 Houston in a the battle that pits two teams that are unbeaten in conference play. It is also a game that may hold the Broncos' potential BCS berth in it's hands. If Houston loses and TCU stays out of the Top 16, Boise State should get a BCS bowl invite.
Then, later in the afternoon, in a game that has further BCS chaos written all over it, No. 1 LSU hosts No. 3 Arkansas in what has been dubbed "Game of the Century Jr." Thank God for college football.
But great games, whether they involve Boise State, are not the only thing Bronco fans have to be thankful for. So here is a list of all of the things Boise State should be thankful for on this Thanksgiving.
The two major college teams in the state of Georgia have helped the Broncos out immensely this season. The University of Georgia and Georgia Tech have probably aided in Boise State's BCS claim more so than just about any other team in the country.
First, after Boise State beat Georgia in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game, the Bulldogs went on a tear, going 9-1 and winning the SEC East.
Aside from the fact that Georgia is Boise State's biggest boost in the mythical strength of schedule, can you imagine the chaos that would be caused if Georgia won the SEC?
What would the BCS do with the Broncos then? They would have beaten Georgia the same season it won the best conference in the country.
Of course many would claim "it's a different Georgia team and blah, blah, blah," but the fact remains, in the head-to-head with the SEC champion, Boise State has the edge. If Georgia wins of course.
Though Boise State didn't play Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets did the Broncos a huge favor by handing Clemson one of its two losses. This effectively got another potential BCS threat to Boise State out of the way, and along with NC State, we especially thank Georgia Tech for that.
After Boise State's crushing loss to TCU, due to yet another missed field goal, Boise State had seemingly lost all hope in reaching a BCS bowl. But then two days of college football magic happened.
On Friday the 18th, Oklahoma State lost to Big 12 cellar dweller Iowa State, eliminating one of the last two unbeaten teams ahead of the Broncos.
Being completely satisfied with just that loss, the Bronco fans entered Saturday with their focus on San Diego State. However, the college football gods smiled upon Boise yet again and Clemson lost to NC State effectively dropping them behind Boise State in the polls.
But that's not all.
As Bronco fans flipped between the BSU versus SDSU game (which was over after the first half) and the USC versus Oregon game, it became apparently clear no one was going to bed until we all saw what happened in Eugene. Well, leave it to a field goal kicker to help the Broncos, only this time it was Oregon's. He missed the kick, handing USC the win and dropping the Ducks behind Boise State, as well.
Then, when things seemed like they couldn't get any better, those who stayed up late enough got to watch the end of the Baylor versus Oklahoma where they were treated to a complete Oklahoma meltdown, and by the end of the night four teams ahead of Boise State fell.
Perhaps, not as much this year due to the contract obligations to the Mountain West Conference, but Boise State over the past five years has been shown a lot of love by ESPN. This exposure has helped Boise State get to where it is now and that is something to definitely be thankful for.
From jokes about "The Blue" when ESPN College Gameday stopped by, to the incessant "don't adjust your dials" comments during the first few years of Coach Petersen's reign, ESPN has been good to the Broncos.
That is until they went to the Mountain West Conference, a move that I believe is hurting the Broncos more and more every day. Along with the infamous blue uniform rule, the loss to TCU, and all of the teams moving out, the thing that hurts the most is ESPN giving the Broncos the cold shoulder.
Luckily, the Boise State brand was built up pretty high before the move, and some of the credit goes to ESPN.
Here's to better conferences and a return to Boise's old friend, the world wide leader in sports.
Speaking of greener pastures, Boise State may be on its way to an Automatic Qualifying conference. Love the move or hate it, you can't dispute that the Big East will be better for the Broncos than the MWC (or should I say WAC 3.0) next year.
Even if the AQ status is in question for the Big East, Boise State can enjoy the status until 2013 when the BCS re-evaluates the conferences. And even at that point, the fact that the Big East will have added three of the top four teams from the MWC, and two of the top teams from C-USA, while maintaining some of the "old Big East Schools," means the Big East will likely keep their AQ status.
I mean, who else would they give it to?
The giant C-USA/MWC conference of mediocrity? Sorry, but if you take the best teams from both conferences, you just have a giant crappy conference.
Not Kellen Moore...
Boise State has a love/hate relationship with the Bowl Championship Series. When the Broncos go undefeated, the world is the Broncos' oyster, as BCS Bowl invites rain down upon Boise State. But one loss and the system turns its back on a team that, many still believe, deserves a shot at a one of the big five bowls.
Let's face it, Bronco fans, if it weren't for the BCS rules, Boise State would have never played against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, starting this crazy roller coaster we are on. If it were the old system, Boise State would have been ignored and shut out no matter how deserving they were. With that Non-AQ automatic bid rule and statue left, Boise State's media attention, recruiting and fanbase exploded.
Don't get me wrong, now that the Broncos have "made it," so to speak, I still believe a playoff system is needed.
But now that it looks like the Broncos have a shot at a BCS bowl by joining an AQ conference, Bronco fans may have less anger towards a system that accepts them now. That is until the SEC hogs the national championship.
When Austin Pettis and Titus Young graduated last year after lighting up the stat book, Bronco fans were left wondering who Kellen Moore would pass to in 2011?
Everyone assumed Boise State would return to its roots of receiving by committee, where every receiver would get an equal number of catches and touchdowns allowing Moore to pick and chose the best option.
Well, that is still the game plan but it just so happens Tyler Shoemaker is the best option 80 percent of the time.
Apparently, lurking in the shadows of Young and Pettis, Shoemaker has blown up this year racking up 800 yards on 48 receptions and 14 touchdowns. Shoemaker is only one touchdown away from grabbing the Bronco touchdown reception record from Austin Pettis.
Shoot, his lone rushing attempt netted him 37 yards, as well.
Sadly, this is the last year we will be able to yell "Shooooooo" in Bronco Stadium as a long line of Shoo's have come and gone. I say we change freshman stand-out Matt Miller's name to Matt Shoemiller. Come on, it's tradition in Boise.
There is one thing we have to thank Gene Bleymeir for doing, whether you like his policies, and that is bringing in the blue turf Boise State calls home.
After 16 seasons of playing on green Astro Turf, Boise State athletic director Bleymaier had the idea to install the blue turf. He decided that, if BSU was going to spend $750,000 on a playing new surface for Bronco Stadium, he didn't want to see BSU install another green field.
Bleymeier felt that along with symbolizing the treasure valley's strong blue collar work ethic, it brought some notoriety to Bronco stadium and Bronco fans worldwide love "The Blue." His idea must have worked, as it is now the largest draw for tourists in the Treasure Valley.
It is a myth that birds mistake it for a body of water and try to dive into it, and the NFL has banned fields that are not green calling it the "Boise rule."
Boise State christened their new blue turf with a 74-0 victory over Humboldt State and have not looked back since thanks to Bleymaier.
Hands down the best player to have ever set foot on to The Blue, and I am counting Boise State's opponents too, Kellen Moore has done nothing but win, break records and bring joy to the Bronco faithful all over the world.
The small framed, lefty from Prosser, Washington was Boise State's first Heisman finalist in 2010 and looks to make the trip to New York City yet again. Racking up an incredible 13,782 yards and 129 touchdowns in his career so far, he is on pace to push well over 14,000 yards by the time his tenure is done in Boise.
Currently, he holds the NCAA record in wins for a starting quarterback with 47 and looks to hit the magic number of 50 wins. If he were to win against Wyoming on Saturday he would have averaged 12 wins a season for all four years he played, a stat that will be untouchable.
His other accolades include:
- 2010 Maaco Bowl Las Vegas win
- FWAA All-American (2010)
- AP 3rd team (2010)
- First-team All-America (SI, ESPN, CBSSportsline) (2009)
- First-team All-WAC (2009 & 2010)
- WAC Offensive Player of the Year (2009 & 2010)
- WAC Championship (2008, 2009, 2010)
- 2010 Fiesta Bowl win
- Freshman All-American (2008)
- Second-team All-WAC (2008)
- WAC Freshman of the Year (2008)
- Sporting News No. 1 College player in the country
Moore is statistically better than Andrew Luck in all stats but rushing, and that is for both career and this season. Plus, Boise State has a harder Sagarin strength of schedule ranking than Stanford. Boise State is 45th and Stanford is 48th.
The fact that he is sitting at sixth in the Heisman race is a travesty, and I only hope Boise State does him credit by retiring his number at the end of this year.
When Dan Hawkins left for the Colorado Buffaloes in 2006, Bronco fans were extremely worried at what was going to happen to their beloved program and all they had worked for.
Little did they know that the man behind the curtain controlling all of the gears in this Boise State machine was offensive coordinator Chris Petersen.
In six years Petersen has gone an NCAA leading 70-6 with two BCS bowl wins under his belt. He is the only two-time Paul "Bear" Bryant Coach of the year award winner, and also has a Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year award in only six years of being a head coach at any level.
There is no question that no other person in the history of Boise State has done as much for the Broncos as Petersen. He saw potential in Kellen Moore, he devised the plays that brought Boise its first BCS bowl win and he is the reason the stadium is being expanded to its most grandious state ever.
He has been courted by the likes of Stanford and Michigan but has stayed put in Boise. There is no one man Boise State should be thankful for than Chris Petersen.
But Chris Petersen is just one man and the thing Boise State should be most thankful for of all is you Bronco fans.
Don't think this is a cop out at the end because the Bronco Nation is one of the most loyal, protective and classy fanbases in the country.
Whether it is the BSU Elvises, the muscle hamster, the Kellen Moore 4 Heisman guys, the Boise State Pimps, the all-blue guy or the Boise State Storm Troopers, the Bronco Nation represents extremely well and travels further than just about any fanbase I have seen. Living in Hawaii I can attest to the size of the BSU crowd at the Hawaii game in 2009.
No stadium in the country coordinates the colors its fans should wear better than Boise State. If the game calls for a blue-out , an orange-out, a white-out, splitting the stadium or alternating colors by section, the fans follow through impressive and always spot on.
Many opposing teams' fanbases can attest that Boise State fans are extremely cordial and helpful despite how passionate they are about Bronco football. TCU fans commented on how classy Boise State was, given the Horned Frogs had just handed Boise State its first loss in Bronco Stadium in six years.
The reason for the dominance at home is simply due to the Bronco Nation and their extremely confident attitude while getting into the heads of the opposing team. This is in a stadium that holds only 34,000 fans.
The streets of Boise are empty during the games and Bronco flags are only rivaled by the Stars and Stripes as fans fly both from many houses in Treasure Valley neighborhoods.
Keep it up, Bronco Nation, because you are the biggest thing Boise State should be thankful for.