As I left Bronco Stadium disappointed (okay, angry) for the first time since December of 2005 on Saturday— my first thought while walking back to the car was "I lost my voice for this?". But then a second thought entered my brain—one that was somewhat surprising and gave me my first inkling that the weekend wouldn't be filled with moping and sleepless nights. I'd just witnessed a good game at Bronco Stadium, and while the outcome was decidedly gut-wrenching and painful—I saw things I'd rarely seen on the Blue: starters playing after half-time...fans on their feet in the 4th quarter...and an opponent with the athletes and the coaches to exploit the Broncos' weaknesses. In short, we played a team that we were evenly matched with—for 4 quarters—with the outcome anything but certain. And I kinda liked it.
If you left the stadium feeling a bit low, I don't blame you. If you went home and turned on the TV and saw Stanford getting throttled by Oregon, you realized that losses happen—even to QBs as hyped and cherubic as Andrew Luck and Kellen Moore. Heck, the preseason #1 Oklahoma got beaten by a completely average Texas Tech team a few weeks ago and the very team that beat us this weekend suffered 2 losses this year in similar heart-breaking fashion. Losses happen to the best in the land, and with Boise failing to drop completely out of the top 10 with their loss proves to me that we're there. But TCU is off to greener pastures next season and we don't play Air Force again till 2014. Will Hawaii and Fresno State satiate our urge for big-time football? I doubt it. Boise State needs big games like Saturday's outside the months of September and January. It's the only way we'll grow.
And really, I think I've grown as a fan. I mean, I didn't even go home and break anything. Take a look around and you'll realize in short order that getting through a season unscathed is a lot to ask. And yet perfection is exactly what has been asked of the Broncos the last decade. Amazingly, they've been close to it...losing just 3 games in the last 4 years, and by a grand total of 5 points. But, the fact that one slip-up makes the Broncos largely irrelevant while other 1-loss teams like Oregon and Oklahoma can and might rebound to play in the title game, makes me sure that if and when an invite comes for the Broncos to step up—even if it's to the Big East—they simply must take said step. I realize it might be a baby step...but if we want more games like Saturday's (minus the losing part, of course) it's the only option. The Broncos have little more to prove, really, they've proven they can be perfect, and they've proven that they're human. Now they just need to prove that we like a challenge...and we want to be treated like everyone else.
Oh...and I hate you, Gary Patterson.