A guide to online Bronco fandom (Building A Better Fan Week)

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Where’s the best place to find Boise State news online?  OBNUG, of course!  However, when you want to begin contributing to OBNUG or hypothetically run out of things to do on OBNUG, where do you go?

Join Loque and I, the OBNUG Intern, for an exciting look at how the Internet can make you the best Boise State fan that you can be. Read about the places to go, the places to avoid, and the social media tool that will change your life. Hint: It's not MySpace.

This feature is part of OBNUG's Building A Better Fan Week, which really ended up being more like two weeks. OBNUG has featuring a series of fan-related advice and coaching designed to make you a better fan and, therefore, a better person. You're welcome, society. Thanks to Loque and the Intern for this submission.

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Using Twitter To Be A Better Bronco Fan

Think back to just 5 years ago. 2005, before OBNUG, before Twitter, before Kellen, before Coach Pete’s two Coach of the Year awards, the year before Fiesta Bowl 1.0. Jared Zabransky had so much promise, so much potential. He had just wrapped up a stellar sophomore season, and even though he missed having an undefeated season because of a last minute interception to lose the Liberty Bowl to Louisville, we all forgave him; because we knew that his Junior year would be something special. But in July of 2005 we didn't have any way to express our feelings of optimism for what great things would come.

I suppose we could have talked to our co-workers about it, but that was just a little too personal, I mean speaking to someone face to face that you know and have to see everyday…. weird. Besides, bosses sort of tend to frown and that sort of unproductive use of time. Yeeeah, I guess they sort of need some work to get done; it’s all about the bottom line, riiight?  

How would we be able to get through the day without being able to express our true feelings for how much we missed Daryn Colledge, how awesome Korey Hall is and how cool Marty Tadman’s life story was, and do that all in 160 characters or less?

The fact is we couldn’t, we had to hold it all in. We had to keep it all to ourselves except for short moments in time when the opportunity arose to discuss some Bronco football before the wives just couldn’t take it anymore. We had to keep it all bottled inside us so hard so that when the team ran out on to the field before the first game of the season and when that first kick-off finally took place, there was no possible way to control the tears that streamed from our manly eyes. Football season had finally arrived and we just barely made it through the off season.

Then this happened.

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D'oh! (via cache3.asset-cache.net)

These days it doesn’t have to be like that. There is a therapy that is even more effective than whatever coping mechanism Zabransky used to get through the 2006 off-season. It’s called Twitter.

Why is it so effective you ask? Well right off the bat, it keeps the conversation going. Instead of putting your true Blue and Orange feelings aside and having them burst out on the poor person who you sat behind at that first game, you can let it all out slowly and methodically throughout the off-season. You have the ability follow people and organizations that dispense the kind of news and information that is pertinent to your desires. People you know (or sometimes don’t know) can follow you and soak up those bits of Bronco brain-barf you can’t hold back any longer.

The best thing about it, you can do it from your desk in your office while you are at work. You can sit in front of your computer and type your Boise State love letters to your heart’s content and if anyone walks by it would appear to them that you are hard at work and there is no loss of productivity! That is unless your Boss discovers your screen name, then you’re screwed!

So, if you choose to self-prescribe this type of therapy for yourself. There are a few things you will need to get used to.

First, and I cannot stress this any more forcefully than what these words can convey to you, BLOCK @Joe_Vandal.

You will save yourself hours of frustration and headache. See that's the beauty of Twitter. In the comments on OBNUG, the ESPN message boards, and the comments section on the Idaho Statesman you can’t cut out any of the trolling and ignorance. But with Twitter you can! Plus, he's Joe Vandal. On the other hand, make sure you follow @fauxrobbakey, you'll thank me later.

Second, follow @OBNUGIntern. I can be amusing at times, and I’m doing my best at attaining that glorious 200 follower count. So follow me!

Third, follow @OBNUG and of course all of the OBNUGer’s on Twitter. It’s a good way to keep in touch and you so rarely get to read the words of Nick anymore (he controls the @OBNUG account).

Fourth, follow media types, @IdahoSportsGuy (J Bates), @NateKuester (Nate Kuester), @anything with ESPN in the screen name, @anything else that is going to bring you college football and Boise State related news. One of the best things that Twitter does is gives you instant access to news and events. When something happens you know about it right then. Remember when the US lost in the World Cup? I knew about it, even while my wife was in labor, and I’m not even a soccer fan! All because of the instant access of Twitter.

Fifth, follow the players, follow the alums, follow the prospects (just don’t talk to them!) follow the coaches (@CoachPeteBoise). You can see what is happening inside their heads and lives. It's kinda entertaining. It personalizes the players (just keep in mind that they are 18-24 years old!). You can talk to them; just try not to say anything stupid. Sometimes they will respond to you! It’s pretty cool! Also, I heard, via Twitter (of course), that Kellen Moore is setting up his own Twitter account!

Lastly, lists. After you get the hang of Twitter, you'll be following a lot of people and your main stream of follower tweets is going to get very cluttered and overwhelming. Lists to the rescue. You can create or follow a list of specific people you want to hear from without the clutter of all the other people you follow. It's a great way to streamline your Twittivity!

One other point, learn the lingo and you will quickly because you have to. It may be a little overwhelming at first. It was for me, but just give it some time and you can be at Twitter aficionado just like me someday! I even have a celebrity following me. (@ElizaCoupe), I know you thought I was talking about you J Bates.

Once you get the hang of it you will find the off-season woes just melting away, you will be able to express yourself and when conversations arise you will be prepared with the most up to date information on anything related to Blue and Orange. Being on Twitter is truly one of the better ways for you to become a better Boise State Bronco fan. I did it and you can do it too!

Surf this, not that: The best and worst websites for Bronco fans

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OBNUG

If you are going to be a better Bronco fan, you are going to need to know where to go for all of your Blue and Orange related news and information. Of course if you are reading this right now you have found the Holy Grail of Boise State websites. You can scour the internet for years (or just do a Google search and it will only take you seconds) and you will not find a better Boise State Bronco website. Some have come before and some have and will come after, but none will ever be able to rival what you will find on these hallowed pages. I am one of the fortunate ones to have stumbled upon this acronym in its early days. I, like most of you, was a victim of the ESPN message boards. I had the free time in my day to want to brush up on the latest Boise State talk, but found something lacking. Then, dadda-da, Kevan Lee to the rescue. I’m sure I speak on behalf of all OBNUGer’s when I say "Thank You!" to Kevan and crew!

If you need to seek Bronco news elsewhere, there a few sites you can visit and some that you should stear clear of. Loque, take it away!

Local Media Sites

Local TV and newspapers often have the first information coming out concerning Boise State breaking news.  Despite the frequent lack of quality and the embarrassing moments of Mark Johnson stalling, they’re usually first on the scene for Bronco news because, much to our envy, they’re paid to be.

  • IdahoStatesman.com – The Statesman doesn’t only just have a Boise State Sports page, they have a Boise State Football page. Two of the Statesman’s prominent features are the Bronco Beat by Chadd "Double D" Cripe and Murph’s Turf by Brian "Antagonist" Murphy.  Despite a few off-the-mark articles, you’ll find their information quick to be posted for immediate news, with updates as they become available.  You’ll also find pictures, audio, video, and other helpful Bronco links.
  • KTVB.com – KTVB usually updates news about something hours after the rest of the world know, but every now and then they’ll publish a gem that you’ll want to be a part of.  Mostly, these come from video clips from their news broadcasts and often will provide news alert streaming of Mark Johnson making the rest of the Treasure Valley media put their face in their hands (what? I already used that joke?).  Another next-day gem you’ll find is the Scott Slant. Tom Scott puts the proverbial in "He who blogs best, blogs last."  KTVB’s video page is a good source for FanShot embedding (IF you can beat me to it!), also has its own BSU football page, and even a dedicated Fiesta Bowl page for those of us who love living in the past.

"Wannabe" Local Media Sites

For some reason, the Boise State Broncos are not just popular in the Treasure Valley. Media who should be covering other teams love to cover the Broncos as well.  Either they like to keep their enemies closest, or they have Zach Wolken envy.

  • Time-News MagicValley.com – Cover a city with only 40,000 people? Live 130 miles away from the state's biggest product? Yearn for making the Boise State fanbase beer bottle throwing idiots?  No problem! You can have your very own Bronco Football page as well.
  • FresnoBee.com – Odd that you would hear about Boise State as often as you do from Fresno. But Fresno was supposed to be the Boise State of the WAC. When any evaluation is done by the Fresno media and fans of their program, their coach, their expectations… they compare it with Boise. Note: We should see a few more of these from the MWC when we join up with them.
  • Deseret News – A more recent addition to my list of things to watch. But with the addition of Boise State into their conference, they’ve been writing comparison and speculative articles. You will have to filter through useless things like basketball and volleyball (apparently, if you're good at them, the media gives them attention...), but you can usually find an opinion article about their new-found competition.

The Media Big Leagues

National media is important to Boise State. The more publicity we receive, the better for our program. Sadly, media today is swayed by TV politics: what gives the higher rating, not what is the truth in college sports. Unlike local media outlets, you have the fortune of picking the journalists you like, and also of reading the columns of the journalists you hate so you can flame them. Win-Win!

  • ESPN.com  – The World Wide Cheer Leader.  The 4-Letter Media Outlet.  ESPN is usually the one-stop shop if you need to find news on college football. Journalists, ex-athletes, basement bloggers, selective AP releases, Mark "BW" May … they have it all. Most notable is their headlines and Blog section. They also have good articles from time to time from Ivan Maisel, Pat Forde, Mark Schlaback, and Gene "I lost my credibility" Wojciechowski. But don’t leave ESPN.com until you try out the message boards.
  • Rivals.com (Yahoo! Sports) -- When you’re tired of agenda-driven sports media, head away from ESPN.com and enjoy a stop at the home of Dr. "SEC" Saturday and Dan "BCS Bites" Wetzel.  Rivals.com recently sprung out of nowhere with useful recruiting news, and their sports page is usually a safe place to go to see the odds-on games during the season.  As Rivals doesn’t have their own TV network, bypass their video section as it is less than impressive.
  • CBSSports.com – Another great alternative to the ESPN, CBS Sports is mostly noted by it’s own "CBS 120" poll during the regular season. It’s usually better than the other polls because they typically don’t have a bias against Boise being ranked high, and sometimes a guy just needs warm fuzzies. One downside is that you will have to deal with a Dennis Dodd article. But as CBS is affiliated with CNN, you will also see a few articles linked to Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel.

Straight from the Horse's (Broncos?) Mouth

Where else would you go to get the real scoop than direct from Boise State’s own athletic website, BroncoSports.com.  There won’t be a lot of opinion and hyperbole, but there will be announcements, statistics, achievements, player interviews, and (my recent favorite) Wired video of Boise State’s Spring/Summer practices.

Podcasts

Podcasts have become a very entertaining way of getting less work done and ignoring summer projects Mrs. Loque has petitioned me to do. Make time to listen in on a few of the following podcasts throughout your week:

  • The OBNUG 5-minute* podcast – This recent addition to OBNUG is mandatory, especially if you listened to last Monday’s.  Whether it’s five minutes or 60, Drew and Nick usually put together some great offseason guests in preparation to weekly interviews with Coach Pete and Kellen Moore (no pressure).
  • The Bronco Nation Podcast – Another must listen. JT Ray, Buck (Rogers), and the OBNUG Intern draw up this casual podcast often during the regular season, but still make a few episodes on the off-season as well (in fact, they’re about due for another one very soon). One of the beauties of the podcast is the listener participation, you can call in to the show and leave a message that can be included in the show, or if you would like, you can be a guest.
  • Idaho Sports Talk – When I lived in the Treasure Valley, it was fairly hard to get all I wanted out of KITK’s sports radio show, IST… a 3-hour talk show with about 40 minutes of good information and debate. However, John Patrick uploads all 3 hours to their website archives daily at 6:00 pm. Downloading the file, skipping commercials, and jumping to the good content turns a mediocre talk show into a tolerable mediocre talk show.
  • ESPNU CFB and radio excerpts – For some reason, I used to love Colin Cowherd … now I can’t stand to hear his obnoxious little voice every morning.  Mike & Mike are just too early, and I’m always missing Van Pelt.  Luckily, the ESPN CFB home page has a Media section quite literally front and center where you can catch a few snippets of college football news and opinion.

Intern, anything to add?

A Word for the Wise

As you frequent other online destinations in search for all that is good and Kellen Moore, you’ll need to be wary of traps waiting to catch you at your worst: the comment section.  You’ll be confronted with a multitude of Vandal fans on the Idaho Statesman message boards who will need your help to solidify their stupidity. SEC/ACC elitists, ND delusionalists, repetitive-copy/paster, 13-yr-old basement dweller, and 42-yr-old basement dweller await you at the ESPN.com message boards.

Please bring your Mikrino Guide with you and be thoughtful of how you represent Bronco Nation. Ask yourself, What Would Kellen Do? (WWKD bracelets coming soon)  And when in doubt, the Nanny-nanny Boo-boo always works.  I found that adding the links mentioned here to an RSS reader (I use Google Reader) keeps me away from the comment sections of other websites. It posts only when there are new articles and makes visiting the comments section of other websites more of a recreational activity.


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ESPN message Boards

While ESPN provides vast amounts of information for anything sports related, there are some parts of it that you need to enter with caution. Boise State has its own ESPN fan page, along with that is the message board portion. Along with message boards come trolls and for some reason these message boards seem to attract them. I have found that there is good information and conversations to be had there, but it’s not too long before someone comes along to stir the pot. Most of the time it is just childish prodding, and over time it just gets more and more annoying. The message boards can be fun as long as you keep in mind that idiots have computers too.  (Sometimes those idiots are employed by ESPN).

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Idaho Statesman Comments Section

Speaking of idiots with computers, there is another site you can visit for insightful Boise State info. There are several sports reporters devoted to keeping us up to date with unbiased Bronco news. But at the bottom of each article is a black hole referred to as the "Comments Section". If you so choose to venture to that black hole, read at your own risk. You know that saying, about how you act when you think no one is looking is who you really are? Well I think the same could be said with the comments you make when you have the ability to post a comment anonymously.

A Few more Interesting Links

Just a few more links that you might find useful in your online search for anything Bronco news related.

  • The Spokesman Review – Ok, maybe not. You won’t find much here, but if there’s an angsty-Vandal Twilight fan journalist, you’ll find him bashing Boise State or predicting Idaho to win their conference here.
  • BroncoCountry.com – I imagine this is a great website, but I have only visited it when Kevan links to it.
  • Pistol Whipping the WAC – Hahaha. Just kidding.

 

Your take?

Have any online links or tools that you've found useful to enhance the Boise State fan experience?  Please share them in the comments.

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