Coach Pete is really leaving. If you are anything like me, you probably spent some time this morning bouncing between ESPN, Twitter, the Idaho Statesman, and this very page trying to find any hole in the story, any little crack that would let you believe for just a bit longer that it wasn't true. Sadly, those holes and cracks have closed. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and so to has Joe Schad linking Chris Petersen to every coaching job save Wyoming finally, incidentally, bore fruit.
Better writers than I will soon come and write feature articles about this. I'm sure everyone from Ivan Maisel to Brian Murphy to the great writers here on OBNUG are getting ready to talk about the end of an era. That being said, I'd still like to give my take.
Boise State fans need to take this time to be introspective and thankful for where we are and how quickly we've gotten there. I know I'm probably preaching to the choir on OBNUG, but our fan behavior has gotten out of line. I'm not some old timey fan who knows all the great Big Sky players, I'm simply not that old. But I did get into Boise State football before our current run of success, and so the way things have changed in the years since Coach Pete took over this team still do stand out to me.
*We were in the top 5 in the nation. We were on the verge of being able to play for a national title. And when we lost to Nevada (my worst feeling as a fan prior to this morning), people made death threats towards our kicker. Who, just five years before, could have imagined we'd even be mentioned in the championship debate? And yet some of our "fans" reacted to the loss like some spoiled SEC fan.
*We replaced the best quarterback to play the college game, and "fans" felt the need to criticize his replacement in the grocery store. To his face.
*I have mixed feelings about Prince, didn't like his calls but didn't hate them as much as others did, but some "fans" online were actually saying it was time for Coach Pete to go after our losses this year.
I don't know all the factors that led Coach Pete to go. Maybe it was finally money, maybe it's increased competition, maybe it's the way the old guard manipulated Boise's success into changing the BCS into a playoff, but one that would be even more restrictive towards teams outside of the blue-blood conferences. Hell, he could just be tired of the restaurant selection. But I do know that one of the things that kept him here this long is the quality of life Boise offers. We don't have the recruits, the pay, and even with all he's had them build we don't have the facilities as our bigger Collegiate brethren. Quality of life is the best thing we have to offer, and I'd much rather have the occasional 8-4 season and smile than develop an attitude like that possessed by big city fans, because a grateful heart is the best thing a Boise State fan has to offer.
I'm sad today, but I am trying to look at the silver lining. Ever since the loss to BYU, I've been thinking how much this year's team reminded me of the 2005 team that got killed out at Georgia, lost to Oregon State, and stumbled vs. Fresno. We have so many good pieces that just didn't click together correctly. Ajayai is a beast, and just needs to control the ball. Balthazar also looks amazing, if he can get healthy again. Our corners will develop. Hedrick will develop. I wasn't hoping to have the coaching change part of the scenario included, but this looks and feels like a team primed to break out next year. Hopefully Coyle will prove that he was a good hire and find us a good coach to continue our tradition of excellence, and we can spend the offseason becoming, once again, the fans that the new coach and the new team deserve.