One More

A year ago, the word pee-gate hadn’t yet entered Boise State lexicon. Coach Petersen had left, and the current senior class was trying to hold down the fort going into to what would ultimately be a rather lacking performance versus Oregon State in Hawaii. Bronco Nation was in turmoil, obsessively tracking a coaching search online and hoping for the AD to make the right choice.

12 short months later, after a year of unfathomable growth (recruiting victories, the dawn of the social media era in Boise, the program opening up to people outside of the complex, allowing fans to really feel like part of things, and the never ending march of improvement during the season), we’re headed back to have ourselves a little Fiesta vs. the Arizona Wildcats.

Does Boise State have some issues to take care of? Sure does. Will it all get worked through and improved, just like the team has done with every other challenge in front of them this season? Confidence is easy to find on a day like today in Boise. Fiesta Bowl trophies cure a lot of ills.

Just like the Mountain West Championship, the opponent has any bearing on how this Fiesta Bowl is going to go. The Broncos have a month to prepare for an Arizona team that might be so demoralized by what happened in the Pac 12 champ game and by ending up in a “no-win bowl,” that they’ll under prepare and be taught a lesson in Glendale.

Grant Hedrick has grown up in front of us this season. He has demonstrated his ability to bounce back, whether from monster hits in the Ole Miss game or all the turnovers against Air Force to being the player of the game in the MWC championship game and the most accurate passer in the country. Jay Ajayi has proven himself as one of the greatest running backs in Boise State history, with great potential to start on Sundays. Matt Miller acted like a grown man through adversity that has broken lesser people and also will likely be playing in the league for a lucky team. The offensive line did a great job of playing big. Rees Odihambo had some truly memorable blocking and Marcus Henry stepped up to be another in the line of excellent Boise State centers. Shane Williams-Rhodes has played like a dangerous man and given us the gift of screen grabs from the sideline of the SDSU game. Jeremy McNichols + corners has given Bronco Nation enough joy to power the north pole through the holiday season.

Boise State’s defense has also done great things. Kamalei Correa has TEN SACKS on the season. 8 different Broncos have forced fumbles. Darian Thompson has seven interceptions! Donte Deayon has five! Tanner Vallejo got 42 tackles! Hell, #DeadCenterDan had three! The defensive line played very well against the run game for most of the season. If Boise State shows up at the Fiesta Bowl playing the type of defense that they did in the first half against Fresno, well, Arizona is going to be a bunch of sad kitties. Coach Yates and his crew have exceeded expectations, and truly proven themselves to be right back in that vein of shutdown Bronco defense more often than not this season.

What does a third Fiesta Bowl mean? It means playing for pride. Taking down yet another P5 school who thinks the matchup is a no-win situation. It means more hardware in Boise. It means recruiting bumps and enrollment bumps and all of those things that Boise State is going to have to do to keep moving forward.

It also means, definitively, that Boise State is greater than one man. Bronco Nation is taught this lesson over and over again. Coach Harsin knows it. His assistants know it. The alumni know it, the players know it, and Bronco Nation’s newest members are coming to understand. Boise State isn’t about flash and tricks and gimmicks. It’s not one coach, it’s all of them. The man who grew up here, played optimist ball on The Blue, fought and clawed his way for everything he’s gotten, was vindicated for believing in this place last night. All of us were. It wasn’t about Fresno. It’s not about Arizona. It’s not about Resource 5 vs. Power Program. What Boise State is about is belief in the ability to get better. To always improve. Doing the correct things, preparing the correct way, having a good mindset and working harder than everyone will pay off. Never flinch, never falter, and learn the lesson when failure happens. That is Boise. That is Idaho. That is the essence of this place.

Go Broncos. Bleed blue, and attack that future. This one is for all the Vizios.

The Great J-Train Robbery

Admit it, Mountain West Coaches and Select Media, Jay Ajayi is a victim of grand larceny.  That’s right, you robbed the J-Train.  And Jesse James  would have been proud of the way it was done.  You might think I’m just chock full of homerism but it’s more than that.  It’s a record-breaking running back at a school that has a history of awesome running backs.  There aren’t any Bradley Van Pelts in Boise State history.

The thing is, Jay is everything to this team.  And that was before the beginning of the season.  He knew that there would be pressure on him.  Think about it: a new coaching staff with a new offense,  a generally untested quarterback that seemed to fold in big games, and besides Matt Miller and Shane Williams-Rhodes, young receivers that were a mystery. That right there is a recipe for disaster without a running back like Jay Ajayi.  And what did Jay do? He showed up. Consider this:

  • 77 more touches than last year
  • Despite all the touches, he’s been a sturdy, every down back
  • Surpassed last year’s touchdown total by 9 (24 rushing and 4 receiving)
  • In the team’s 2 losses, he averaged 150 yards from scrimmage
  • Has 580 yards in the 4th quarter
  • He even has 2 tackles

It’s pretty evident that Jay has the credentials to be the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year.  For anyone to say different would  be ludicrous because it’s not me being a homer, it’s the black-and-white facts.

I am not trying to demean Garrett Grayson’s season.  It was one that he and all Colorado State fans could be proud of.  There were two games, just like Jay, that he couldn’t lead them to victory.  One was against a common opponent, Air Force. The other was against Jay and the Broncos.  I’m just putting that out there!

So, there it is.  I think Jay Ajayi should have been the MWC OPOY.  It’s opinion based on fact.  Is there anything we can do about it?  Nope.  But know this:

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This Week at the Diggity’s – Conference ‘Ship Week (Deja Blue All Over Again)

There was a chance this would happen: A bad case of Deja Blue (for them). You know, that the Broncos would play a team that they had already faced earlier in the season.  Who would have thought that it would be the Bulldogs considering the way they opened the season? But no worries, right? It gives us more reasons to hate The California State University at Fresno.  And who doesn’t love that?

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So ABC’s newest comedy is called “Fresh Off the Boat”. They already have “Blackish”. Are they trying to monopolize the non-traditional  sitcom game? The CW better step their game up….Ford, in one of its latest commercials, makes it seem like Santa Skypes with children. Two thoughts: that is some technology I never got to enjoy and parents need to keep an eye on their children….The start of this game couldn’t have gone better.  I predicted a similar halftime score to last week.  I am joyfully wrong. The score is a bit better, 34-12….The fun continued in the 2nd half. Boise State out scored USU 16-7 and it wasn’t really a contest at all. Jay Ajayi for over 200 and the final is 50-19. Now on to the Mountain West Conference Championship at home on the Blue vs. CSU-Fresno….So, here are the games that I watched this week.  It’s getting down to the nitty-gritty:  TCU/Texas, LSU/Texas A&M, Iowa/Nebraska, Western Kentucky/Marshall, Colorado St./Air Force, Virginia/Virginia Tech, Michigan/Ohio State, Kentucky/Louisville, Georgia Tech/Georgia, Utah/Colorado, Florida/Florida State, Baylor/Texas Tech, Ole Miss/Mississippi St., BYU/Cal, Auburn/Alabama, Oregon/Oregon St., Utah State/Boise State….I was so upset about this week’s episode of “The Walking Dead”. I won’t spoil it but I was heartbroken….Jay Ajayi wins his 3rd Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week.  Congratulations, Jay!

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You’d think with all of the rain here in Eugene that there would be more people using umbrellas. Mrs. Diggity said that a local told her that’s how they can tell who isn’t from here. Hey, Eugeniuses! That’s how you can tell who the dry people are too!…Not that anyone expected Coach Harsin to win the MWC Coach of the Year but Jay Ajayi getting jobbed on the Offensive Player of the Year is outside of the realm of understanding….Congrats to all the players that earned All-Conference honors. We are so proud of this team’s accomplishments….

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The new poll is out for this week and Boise State is in the #22 spot.  With that being said, both Mark Schlabach and Brett McMurphy have the Broncos in the Fiesta Bowl against Arizona….Look. You don’t just make a different “Annie”.  You just don’t….What is up with Halos and their creepy commercial? Your dad eats your little citrus fruit and you put a horse head in his bed. I know, it’s a stuffed animal but you’ve been watching way too many movies, you crazy little girl.

You know, since Bronco Nation is the best, they need to show and prove on CBS. You should be on your feet the whole game.  It’ll keep you warm.  NOW GET UP!

That being said, Mrs. Diggity and I will be cheering from the Eugene Chapter of Bronco Nation.  Make us proud and have a good week.

What if Bryan Harsin Replicated Pokey’s Horse Ride to Sell Tickets?

Photo Courtesy John Kelly/Boise State

Photo Courtesy John Kelly/Boise State

Many people are worried about the pace of ticket sales for the Mountain West Championship game against Fresno this Saturday. There are plenty of reasons for why ticket sales may seem to be slow, but the fact is that  it is a very difficult task for a school to sell tickets to playoff game with less than a weeks notice.  This problem is not just a “HDTV” generation problem either.  The fact that ticket sales are starting from zero with less than a weeks notice is something Boise State is not new to.

In late November and early  December of 1994 Boise State was faced with the same problem.  The Broncos had made it to the 1-AA playoffs and were lucky enough to host three consecutive home games which had to be sold from scratch.  Boise State beat North Texas on November 26th, and Appalachian State on December 3rd, so on December 10th they would be playing Marshall for the chance to go to the National Championship game. If there were any game that needed to have a large crowd this one was it.  And Head Coach Pokey Allen knew it.

Public relations are a big part of any business, and at times – when things get urgent – some times public relations calls for a “stunt”.

Pokey was not new to this idea – he once rode an elephant to help sell season tickets to Portland State – so he made a promise.  If Boise State fans could get 20,000 into Bronco Stadium to cheer on the Broncos, he would ride a horse down Broadway the week after the game.

Boise State beat Marshall 28-24 in a freezing cold game where the Broncos trailed by as much as 17 points (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) and Pokey kept his promise.  Two days later he rode a horse down Broadway on his way to the weekly Boosters luncheon.

Pokey’s famous ride has been brought up a lot this week, so what if Harsin did this?  Would it work?  I asked him on Twitter, and unfortunately got no response:

I do think with the buy-in these coaches have from the community that it might sell a few more tickets.  If nothing else it would create even more energy for a game that means so much to this team.  Sow how about it Coach?  If we pack the stadium and win, a celebratory horse-ride down campus would be a great way to send this team off to a New Years bowl game.  And besides, it looks like you are the only coach that still owes us a horseback ride!