Congratulations to Packer Backer and Nevada's Pistol Whipping the WAC blog for being one of the only blogs to ever win one of these blog bets and for being the only blog to ever collect on one. Much respect to Packer Backer for taking the high road with his post, and for not doing a trippy, passive aggressive script like I would have done.
The following is the blog bet post from PWtW.
I'm sitting at my laptop right now, still hoarse, full of aches and hopped up on cold medication, trying to decide whether I should use the privilege Kevan has granted me for good or evil. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't reeeeeaaaaally tempted to do the latter. Ten straight losses of all kinds and a decade's worth of frustration will do that to a guy.
But ultimately, that's not what I'm about in person, and that won't change here.
Because doing that would be a disservice to both programs and their fans. It would cheapen what was arguably the most entertaining, theatrical and dramatic college football game of the year. I'm not a guy who pays much attention to the ESPY's or any other awards shows in most years, but now I have some incentive to do so, and I'd be very disappointed if this game isn't nationally recognized in some way.
I cannot say enough about how both teams played for all 60+ minutes. Just from an entertainment standpoint, this game more than lived up to its hype. In fact, just for good measure, it generated some more of its own bonus hype while it was happening and lived up to that, too. I paid $150+ for my season tickets and still feel like I owe an extra donation to the Nevada athletic department for the spectacle I witnessed on Friday night.
The whole country got to see what these teams were capable of. They saw brilliant defensive stops, thrilling passes, catches that were even more thrilling, runs that could take away whatever breath the cold Reno temperatures hadn't already -- textbook plays of all kinds chased with drama that was as Shakespearean as sport can be. It was a game you could imagine unfolding in slow-motion with "NFL Films" music playing in the background, and we were all most definitely entertained by it.
And yet, for all of that, some people who watched it would still tell us that these teams are inherently inferior to other programs simply because of who they share a conference with. They advocate a system which automatically excludes certain teams from being able to win a national championship simply because it would threaten them to do otherwise. They try to defend an indefensible monopoly with an argument that basically amounts to nothing more than an elaborate grandfather clause: "You can't play with us because you're not one of us. And as long as we make the rules, we'll never let you into this club. You should be satisfied with the kiddie table we let you sit at." They try to maintain this argument while other teams in other sports -- Butler in basketball and Fresno State in baseball, for a start -- have definitively exposed it for the exclusionary farce that it is. I love college football of all kinds, and it pains me to see it governed by such a deeply flawed system of postseason play.
I say all of this because Boise State is and will remain a program that I have immense respect for in most every facet. Friday's game illustrates the absurdity of the "Bowl Championship Series," and both programs deserve much better than whatever consolation bowl prizes they'll be forced to accept by this time next week.
Rather than be put down by their mid-major label, Boise State has embraced it and turned it into a strength. Everyone from the players to the fans takes every put-down and slight against them -- sometimes going a teeeeeeeeensy bit overboard in their pursuit of said put-downs, as the Brett Roy incident showed -- as another opportunity to prove their doubters wrong. The attitude of Boise State football is "Yeah, we play on a blue field -- so what? Your ass is still grass." It's a program that was in the same position as Nevada not long ago, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little jealous of how far they've rocketed ahead of my alma mater's team in many areas.
But what I respect most about Boise State is their fan support. They understand what it takes to build up a national football program better than most fan bases I've encountered. For lack of a better term, they "get it." They know that a team can't climb to the top if its fans sit at home and whine about how much better things could be if such-and-such were different. They do the little things that are so important: travel in big numbers to away games, and interact with the fans who come to their games with the aim of persuading them to come back again. That's why I've been to Boise three times to cheer for the Pack and why I will look forward to many more visits in the coming Mountain West years (hopefully with better final scores than my last two have had). As Gandhi once said, they became the change they wanted to see, and I know I feel motivated to be the best fan I can be thanks in part to theirs.
It's for all of these reasons that I remain so profoundly happy about Friday night's final score. It wasn't about the ten straight losses that came before it or even what Nevada took away from Boise State: it was about besting (for one night, at least) a truly elite program and defiantly proclaiming "We're next!" to everyone who was watching. Boise State football won't fall back with this loss -- they just got the beginnings of a new rivalry with an old friend. These are the kinds of wins that national programs can be built on, and I'm ecstatic for what the future holds for Nevada Wolf Pack football.
Thank you to Kevan for granting me this opportunity. See you all in October next year and in the Mountain West in 2012 -- Go Wolf Pack and Go Broncos!