I hate the blue turf. I hate the arrogant fans. I hate the hits from the defense I perceived as cheap in certain games. I hate how you can win out in a season packed with teams other conferences schedule as cupcakes and waltz into a BCS game. You know, all the things you've heard before.
But I am starting to like Boise State.
No, not because I'm reveling in your loss or anything like that (though I'll confess I did, but kept that away from OBNUG, as is appropriate.) It's because I can finally identify with you.
With this game, you rejoin the bulk of college football fans across the country. Let's stand back and reflect for a moment. How many other fans root for a team that they are so supremely confident will crush the competition week in and week out? Florida with Tebow? Alabama last year? USC in the Carroll years? And what do these fans of powerhouse teams have in common? They are some of the most arrogant and irritating jerks to deal with.
That's right - with recent undefeated seasons and blowout victory after blowout victory, Boise State made its way to the top tier of the BCS. Top 5 rankings. National Championship talk. Feature stories. Kellen Moore for Heisman. The Broncos were hovering near the top of college football, but it came with a price: Many fans transformed from people who root for an underdog BCS-buster team who appreciated every win, and into arrogant powerhouse jerks. Cinderella became the evil stepmother.
However, now Bronco Nation will be purged of the bandwagon fans. Even the hardcore will have to accept that the team isn't invincible and would blow out the championship contenders. And if you think college football is about more than just winning, this is the best thing that can happen to you. If you think it's *only* about winning, you're no better than those SEC teams we hate.
Now you can enjoy games without having to worry about what TCU did, or how this voter liked you, or how that computer poll ranked you, or any of that junk. Now you can remember what a regular season loss is like and therefore savor the wins. Final outcome aside, wasn't that game one of the most thrilling you've ever seen? The adrenaline rush, the suspense? I imagine you haven't felt that since Virginia Tech, and it's one of the most awesome feelings you can get from your couch!
Overall, I think a theme for this college football season is empathy. BSU got a taste of what it's like to play more teams that don't fold in the second half, and what it's like to lose. Oregon (who I know isn't a favorite here :p ) got a taste of the pressure of expectations to be perfect, week in and week out, when they barely squeaked by Cal. Though no one probably cares, I'll even throw in my Beavs and say we got fed a buffet of humble pie with our losses to Washington, UCLA and Washington State (basically the bottom of the Pac-10) and were reminded that bowl-eligible seasons shouldn't be taken for granted.
Your program has come such a long way, and with your move to the MWC to join with TCU, there will be many more big opportunities in store. So next time the Broncos make a championship run, remember this season and be better fans for it. I'll try to do the same :-) I admit I semi-trolled (I'm a pretty milquetoast troll, haha) OBNUG a bit one night after the WSU loss, and I'm not proud. I thought the defense would dial up the cheap hit on Kaep when it got close, but I was wrong about the team's character, giving into the total Boise demonization. Hopefully others like me will learn from this season, too.
(I know lots of fans didn't go butthole in Bronco Nation, so I don't mean to suggest that everyone was how I described. As one of my friends says, "The smartest student at Stanford is as smart as the smartest student at OSU, and the same for the dumbest. It's the average student that's the difference." Well, academic arguments aside, you get what I mean.)