Behind Enemy Lines

I’ve given it time to sink in. Six whole weeks. The wife and I have been here for five weeks.  After almost 28 years, I moved from Idaho. And after 26 years, I’m no longer within an hour of my beloved Boise State Broncos.  So what is a man to do?  Better yet, what is a FAN to do? By the way, we moved to the land of the Ducks – Eugene, Oregon.  I think I have three very simple options that will help any expatriated Bronco.

The first option is the worst option.  That’s just changing alliances.  That won’t happen with me but I’ve seen it happen before.  A fan that isn’t invested fully in their fandom will always take the easy way out.  Just remember though, the easy way isn’t the cheap way.  In order to be a fan of another team, you have to assimilate into their culture.  That costs money.  Big money.  A hat costs $26.  A jersey, at least a new-ish one, is $60-$100, and in order to properly entertain at your house, you have to get all the household items (I have a Boise State Grill Cover for heaven’s sake).

Besides the financial ramifications of jumping ship, you have to also consider how you’ll be perceived to the fans, friends, compatriots, whomever, that you’re leaving.  Most people will say that they don’t care about what other people think. That’s a load of bull and you know it.  Most people hate to be seen as a bandwagon-jumper (ask pre-LeBron Heat fans) and most people won’t go from a great team/school like a Boise State to a lesser program.  In championship terms, no one is going to move from Auburn, AL to New Orleans, LA and change his/her team affiliation from Auburn to Tulane.  Bandwagoners always upgrade.

Option number two is a bit easier and probably not all that fun.  You just fade in to the background.  Become a wallflower.  Don’t publicly root for anyone.  Not even your own team.  Just sit there and say things like this – “I love college football but I don’t really have a team.  I just like the competition.” or “I’m more of a XYZ Conference fan, not a particular team.”  This way you won’t arouse suspicion as to what your true fandom is.  You can privately root for your team at home or behind a screen name on the internet.  You will never have to worry about being called out for being what you truly are: a fan.

The third and final option (At least in my story.  You can come up with as many as you’d like.) is to fly your flag high and root for your team wherever your travels take you.  Again, the Mrs. and I just moved to Duck Country and there is a disgusting tinge of green and yellow on everything.  Our temporary living situation has us living with a born-and-raised Duck fan.  I don’t care.  When it’s cold, Boise State hoodie.  When it’s warm, Boise State t-shirt. And, as much as possible, a Boise State hat.  Our car even has the Boise State sticker on the back as well as the Bronco Stick Figure family.  I’m not going to hide my love for my beloved Broncos and I wouldn’t ever do so, not even in “enemy” territory.

Of course, these are just 3 ways to show your love (or not show your love) for your team. I broke it down in the most simple way as possible.  I’m sure this could be a way deeper topic if we delved into it.  Analysis is meant for more important things like depth charts and game performance.  Celebrate your fandom and enjoy your summer, Bronco Nation!

Jeremy’s 2014 Football Season Prediction

Temperature is rising in the Treasure Valley, must mean football season isn’t all that far away. Rumors of a new helmet and possibly new jerseys? Yep, it’s definitely July. Figured now is a good time for some Boise State football predictions. Before I get to my 2014 predictions, lets take a step back and make of fun of me for my 2013 predictions.

Football is a team game, but make no mistake about it…missing ASJ would be a huge loss for the Huskies. His shaky status is tough to predict, and makes this game tough to decipher…….Broncos 29, Huskies 23.

With Robbie Rouse gone, lacking an established run game, you would have to think the stout Bronco D-Line will have another field day with Carr and the Bulldog offense. I’ll give the Fresno hype train the benefit of the doubt and give Fresno 24 points. That is more points than the last 3 contests against BSU combined. That said, that point total will not be enough…….Broncos 37, Bulldogs 24.

Bronco-Wolf Pack games are typically hard-fought games, but UNR has entered a new era. I think the Broncos win by around 3 TDs, but it could be worse if the wheels fall off the wagon in this new regime in Reno…….Broncos 37, Wolf Pack 17.

Anyways, there are my predictions! I’ll probably be very wrong on all the scores, but I am confident the Broncos go either 12-0 or 11-1 (loss to Washington) this upcoming season. In Pete we trust! The Broncos will more than likely be inviting one of Fresno State, San Diego State, or San Jose State to Boise on the first weekend of December for the MWC Championship game.

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Glad that’s over. Let that serve as evidence that I have no idea what I’m talking about. Take these predictions with a grain of salt, and if you’re angry with my picks please fling your internet poo at me and not my BTN mates.

Thursday, August 28th. Ole Miss (Game is played in Atlanta)

It feels like it has been an eternity since Harsin took the job as head coach. Lots of exciting assault on the future has occurred in these last 6 months, but the Harsin era opens with the brutal task of taking on a sure-to-be ranked Ole Miss team in the south. Another season, another highly touted opponent on the road. Things have not gone well for the Broncos in these openers since Kellen graduated. In fact, we’ve scored a whopping 19 points in the Michigan State and Washington games combined. With a brand new offense and a young O-Line taking on a dominant and extremely talented Ole Miss defense, I doubt we see much better in this edition of openers. I hope I’m wrong, but I see Ole Miss covering the spread fairly easily……Broncos 14, Rebels 33.

Saturday, September 6th. Colorado State

Broncos won’t have a lot of time to mope around. Harsin’s debut in front of Bronco Nation will be late at night vs. the Rams of Ft. Collins. Last years game was a struggle for an injured Bronco defense, but Grant Hedrick actually had a field day vs. CSU. The Rams lose a lot of starters in the trenches, and will be without their top 3 rushers from 2013, including Kapri Bibbs. The Rams have a nice schedule that could get them another 8-win season, but I think they struggle on The Blue……Broncos 37, Rams 19.

Saturday, September 13th. @Connecticut

This is a really long trip. Not often the Broncos play a game all the way on the east coast. Bob Diaco and the Huskies are trying to turn the page on a rough 2013 campaign. They’ll be a young team replacing many starters, but sometimes that isn’t a bad thing when you lost so many games. I think the Broncos may struggle early on, but they’ll manage to win comfortably as the Huskies learn how to win games under Diaco……Broncos 35, Huskies 24.

Saturday, September 20th. Louisiana don’t call us UL-Lafayette

The Ragin’ Cajuns come to Boise after playing common opponent Ole Miss on the road. Louisiana returns a significant amount of starters on both offense and defense, and managed to beat Harsin’s Arkansas State Red Wolves in 2013. Despite all that, I think things will be quite a bit different on the blue turf. Like the Colorado State and UCONN games, I think the Cajuns stick around in this one for a while but ultimately lose by three TDs or so……Broncos 42, Ragin’ Cajuns 22.

Saturday, September 27th. @Air Force

What on earth happened to Troy Calhoun and the fly boys in 2013? That double-digit loss season came out of nowhere. Air Force’s defenses are routinely undersized, but for some reason that seemed to play a larger role than usual. The triple option is always difficult to defend, but we have the LB and DE corps to stay disciplined enough to keep them at bay. Jay Ajayi should have another huge day….Broncos 44, Falcons 21.

Saturday, October 4th. @Nevada

Back-to-back road games always suck. Last year injuries were a big deal in Ft. Collins, the second of our only back-to-back road games in 2013 (BYU/Colorado State). We played Kharyee Marshall at DT for a while! Here’s hoping injuries aren’t a big deal this time around. I don’t get Brian Polian’s teams. They looked great against San Jose State, absolutely horrible vs. UNLV. Inconsistent, and slightly underachieving. Will Fajardo be healthy? Seems like a given that he’ll play hurt. The Wolf Pack return a lot of starters, most in the MWC for that matter. This is a potential trap game for Harsin and the staff. I think we squeak this one out…..Broncos 29, Wolf Pack 27.

Friday, October 17th. Fresno State

This game. Many Bronco fans have anxiously awaited this game in particular. None of us enjoyed seeing Southwick and the team fight like their lives depended on it vs. Lord Derek Carr and the Bulldoggies, only to come up 6 yards too short. Fresno loses a tremendous amount of talent on offense. Carr, Adams, Burse, Wenworth, Jensen, the list is long. I’m siding with history on this one. Hawaii 2007, Colt Brennan eviscerated the Bronco defense. Nevada 2010, Colin Kaepernick did the same. What do UH and Reno have in common? The following year they lost their star QBs, and returned to Bronco Stadium and had their offenses, which dominated BSU the year before, dominated themselves. Hawaii scored 7 points. Nevada was held to 182 total yards! I expect Yates and the Bronco defense to come up big in this game…..Broncos 27, Bulldogs 10.

Friday, October 24th. Brigham Young

Back-to-back big games! Hope Bronco Nation has the energy to make Albertsons Stadium a nightmare for both Fresno and BYU. There’s really no way around it; Taysom Hill and the Cougars whipped the Broncos last fall in Provo. We simply were not physical enough to play with them. I’m not sure if much has changed in that department. Not having to deal with Kyle Van Noy will be nice. Coming off an emotional rivalry game the week before will make this game even tougher. I can’t stand BYU, but unfortunately see the Broncos dropping this one…..Broncos 18, Cougars 27.

Saturday, November 8th. @New Mexico

The Broncos get a much-needed bye before they travel to land of Walter White to play the Lobos. Last years game vs. New Mexico had a somber feel to it. Coming off a loss to SDSU (again), the vibe was off in Bronco Stadium. Still managed to win fairly convincingly. This is going to be year #3 for Bob Davie, and with a recruiting class of JC players coming to help, the Lobos are hoping to surprise this fall. Our last trip to Albuquerque was not one many Bronco fans want to remember. Narrowly beating a down-in-the-dumps 2012 Lobos team was a rude awakening to the fact that we were truly in a new era of the Petersen regime. I expect the Lobos to come out swinging, but the game won’t be quite as close this time around……Broncos 41, Lobos 17.

Saturday, November 15th. San Diego State

This team, man. They are annoying. The Aztecs have knocked off Boise State back-to-back seasons, both times it appeared the Broncos were severely out-coached. Will Harsin and Sanford fair better vs. Long’s complicated defense than Petersen and Prince did? I’m not sure, but I am sure that I’m getting sick of this Aztecs team. I want to win by 50, but think we’ll see another closely fought game. Either way, I don’t want to live in a world where the Aztecs beat us three consecutive seasons. Please Bryan Harsin, do not lose to San Diego State…..Broncos 26, Aztecs 13.

Saturday, November 22nd. @Wyoming

This game might be a little cold. Wyoming fired Dave Christensen, so no more post game tirades for us. They actually made a fantastic hire in Craig Bohl, the former North Dakota State coach who won three national championships. Unfortunately for Bohl, Wyoming loses Brett Smith and Robert Herron. Pretty much the only Cowboy players Boise State fans could name off. Shaun Wick returns and Eddie Yarbrough may be the MW’s best DE, but I think the Cowboys will be in rebuilding mode while Bohl revamps this roster…..Broncos 37, Cowboys 17.

Saturday, November 29th. Utah State

When was the last time we had a meaningful opponent on Senior Night? Been awhile. Utah State and the vaunted Chuckie Keeton come to town in what is sure to be one of the MW’s best games of the season. Utah State loses more starters than any team in the country according to Phil Steele, so that can’t be good. The Aggies will have played 8 consecutive games without a bye entering this game, that can’t be good either. Still, I’m told despite his healing knee, Chuckie Keeton trumps all arguments that Utah State will have any struggles this season. Some preseason magazines have the Aggies winning the conference. I guess we’ll see. I forecast a close game…..Broncos 30, Aggies 26.

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There you have it. I say 10-2, a successful first season under Harsin. As evidenced in this post, I’m bound to be very wrong about these picks. Enough about me….how do you think the Broncos will do in Harsin’s first season? Comment below or reply to @TheBTN on Twitter.

#ATF

Boise State Track Has An Image Problem

A former Women’s Track and Field athlete at BSU has filed a lawsuit accusing the University of being in violation of Title IX because they took no action after two complaints of harassment and rape had been made against a male athlete by two different women.

Here comes the nauseating part:

“Coach Hardy said that he could not help her because she had consumed a minor amount of alcohol before the rape,” Allred wrote in the lawsuit. “He failed to inform her of her right to file a criminal complaint against the BSU perpetrator, and even failed to provide her with information regarding available mental health services.”

This is the second woman that former coach J.W. Hardy gave this line to in response to them telling him that another member of their team wouldn’t listen to the word no and raped them.  The lawsuit also claims that the male athlete would often slap them on the butt, make lewd faces, and generally make practice a hellacious environment for his victims.

Some might believe that it couldn’t be that bad to be raped and then have to face the guy every day; that victims must “want it” somehow. She was drinking at the time of the assault. Not too much of a stretch to think they both were. Maybe she was wearing a short skirt or a low cut top. Maybe both! And lipstick! She was probably talking to her teammates, having a good time. Maybe she liked her attacker. Maybe they were flirting. None of those things are of any consequence whatsoever in this case. This case is about a woman going to her coach who she most likely trusts, opening up and saying out loud that someone took advantage of her and is now being an antagonistic jerk about it, and being told that because she was drinking, the university couldn’t help. He couldn’t help.

Hardy’s contract was not renewed in 2013. That means that he knew for over a year and did nothing. My question, and the one that Boise State is going to have to answer, is who knew? Who else looked around the track program and saw nothing wrong? How many assistant coaches? How many graduate assistants?  How many assumed that this behavior was okay? Because the lady is about to get her and her high powered lawyer very paid if that number is more than 4 – the perpetrator, the victims, and Coach Hardy.

Boise State Track and Field has an image problem. This isn’t the first lawsuit BSU is going to have to settle on their behalf. In 2008, Amy Christoffersen, an assistant (in fact the only female) coach sued because she was being paid roughly $15,000 a year less than male assistants with less experience. The difference between twenty thousand dollars a year and thirty five thousand dollars a year is the poverty line. She got tasked with anything deemed secretarial, like booking travel, keeping track of meal money, and keeping financial records. She was also demoted after 9 years from assistant coach to insurance coordinator. Of course, this was under Head Coach Mike Maynard, but this was the lawsuit that launched the NCAA investigation that would take both the coach’s job, as well as the AD who built the joint, Gene Bleymeyer, now the AD at SJSU. It would also find violations in Tennis, Track, and Football. (Admittedly, football’s violations were the ridiculous Cheeseburger and Couchgate.)

Boise State is going to have to answer some questions before the image issue corrects. Is this just leftover misogynistic residue from the previous AD? Has everyone associated with the Boise State Track Program who let this go on been disciplined and up-trained or just fired? Can we hear from someone who isn’t a man who works inside the Athletic Department truthfully discuss the current state of that office? Because if this ass patting testosterone fest is still the daily, there is a big issue that has to be resolved before Boise State can call itself “a metropolitan university of distinction.”

Brett Rypien Commits to Boise State

Back in December, not too long after Bryan Harsin began to #AttackTheFuture at Boise State, the Broncos landed a superstar recruit in Dylan Sumner-Gardner. Recruits of Dylan’s caliber are not in abundance in the college game, and in the past rarely did Boise State ever have a shot with such a recruit, let alone actually secure a commitment and get them to sign. There was no doubt, Marcel Yates hit a home run right away after returning to Boise with Sumner-Gardner. But this was no flash-in-the-pan…Eliah Drinkwitz upped the ante by landing 4-Star TE Chase Blakley. Then on signing day, 4-Star DE Jabril Frazier jumped on the bandwagon too.

These were not flukes. Harsin and his staff proved to be legit recruiters….and it didn’t take them long to make a major splash in the 2015 recruiting cycle.

Brett Rypien, a unanimous Top-10 ranked 4-Star recruit across all recruiting services, only Boise State’s second such recruit (Sumner-Gardner is the other), committed to Boise State on Saturday in Coach Harsin’s office right after the scrimmage that was made public to students, faculty, and staff. Rypien has accounted for around 8200 passing yards and is close to 100 TD passes in his high school career….that isn’t over with.

4-Star QB from the eastern side of Washington. Put up ridiculous record-breaking numbers. He wears #11. The similarities to you know who have us all grinning.

Sure, we can spit out the typical drivel…..”It’s a long time until signing day”, “Recruiting rankings don’t mean anything”, “He has to prove it” blah blah blah…..we get it, all that is true. But convincing an athlete of this caliber to come to Boise State shows just how special this new staff is, and how far our university and facilities have come. We have a history of being the little engine that could….its clear Harsin envision’s a bigger train.

Its a long ways until signing day, and hopefully we don’t have to wait until then to see Brett on campus. Either way, Boise State fans could not possibly be more elated to have Brett Rypien and his family joining #BroncoNation. Welcome to #BroncoNation, Rypien clan!!! (You too, Mark)

Let the fun begin….

#ATF #BleedBlue #RideTheLigthening

Getting Behind BTN Hall-of-Famer Scott Jorgensen

Scott-Jorgensen-WEC-53-450x

Image Courtesy: http://www.mmaweekly.com/

Scott Jorgensen is a lot of things, a 3x Pac-10 wrestling champion, former #1 contender, BTN Hall-of-Fame inductee, and undoubtedly one of the most exciting fighters in MMA history. However, tomorrow night this former Boise State star could very well be fighting for his future in the premier MMA organization in the world, the UFC. Jorgensen is coming off back-to-back loses and loses in 4 of his last 5 bouts. And though many including myself would point to the fact that 3 of those 4 loses have come against guys who are either champion, former champion, or #1 contender’s, the UFC tends to have little sympathy or care about such things. The UFC is a cut-throat business where a losing streak often means walking papers.

There is no doubt Scott Jorgensen is aware of this fact. Overall, I am pretty sure he is probably tired of addressing these questions all together. My purpose in writing this article in fact is not even to rehash these issues over and over again. My point in writing this was to make Bronco Nation aware that one of our own is going into battle tomorrow and they should tune in. The fight itself will be on Fox Sports 1 between 3 and 5pm. But even if you can’t catch the fight don’t hesitate to send Jorgensen some well wishes on Twitter (@ScottJorgensen). Jorgensen is one of our own, he wrestled at Boise State, and still trains here today. He has opened a gym in Boise, and has spent a lot of time giving back to the community. It is time for Boise to support one of our own.

Good luck Scott, the Blue Turf Nation has your back!

Boise State Football Spring Preview

It seems like its been an eternity since Chris Petersen stunned #BroncoNation the morning of December 6th when it was announced that after years of speculation, he finally took another head coaching job. It only took a week for Bob Kustra and Mark Coyle to find their man to replace Pete, but it certainly didn’t feel that way to Broncos fans.

Since then lots has changed. Bryan Harsin and his young staff shocked Broncos fans by getting commitments from 4-star prospects Dylan Sumner-Gardner and Chase Blakley, showing everyone the kind of recruiting prowess and potential this staff has. Now that the recruiting games are somewhat over (at least for this recent class), the staff can finally pause their recruiting efforts to coach football! The Broncos hit the field for the first time under Harsin tomorrow morning, and unfortunately if you’re expecting a ton of news and updates from the local media, you will be a bit disappointed. Harsin is keeping things on the down low, possibly to keep the Broncos scheme anonymity intact until after the Ole Miss game.

Updates or no updates, the team will be practicing, and there is lots to sort out…..here are some things to keep an eye on this spring, and going forward into summer workouts and fall camp.

The QB “Battle” – It is natural that with a coaching change, every position is open for the taking. That said, Harsin and the coaches have made it clear that RS-Senior QB Grant Hedrick is the leader in the clubhouse. I know fans have a bad taste in their mouths about last season, and Grant was far from perfect, but he did some good things. Hedrick finished the 2013 season with a passing efficiency rating that ranked 23rd nationally at 150.0. Hedrick struggled with turnovers, often at bad times (ugh….that SDSU pick-6)…but 1825 passing yards, 22 total TDs, and 5 INTs in only 6 total starts isn’t exactly terrible either. Grant earned the right to be the “incumbent”. That said, nobody is guaranteed anything. Grant will have to fend off JC-transfer Tommy Stuart, who impressed fans with his highlight tape and has done nothing his entire life but exceed expectations. He won’t concede that starting spot without a fight. RS-Freshman Ryan Finley will attempt to compete as much as he can, but Harsin has warned that they’ll need to bring him along at a slower pace with Finley coming off of surgery. Put all that together, and the details suggest Hedrick will be a heavy favorite to win the job, but nonetheless fans will pay very close attention to the QBs come the spring game.

Will the future play-makers please stand up! – Jay Ajayi, Matt Miller, Shane Williams-Rhodes….fans know who the stars of today are on this Bronco offense. Jay and Shane however are already juniors and Matt Miller is a senior! The Broncos are in need of some future play-makers to step up and make a name for themselves. Unfortunately the RB depth behind Jay Ajayi is a little cluttered with Aaron Baltazar’s unfortunate departure (sigh). From Charles Bertoli, to Devan Demas, to Jack Fields, to Derrick Thomas…I swear all of these RBs have had bright spots, but none have solidified that #2 or #3 RB spot in the rotation much like Jeremy Avery and D.J. Harper did behind Doug Martin. You can take your pick, all of them have talent. But someone needs to stand up behind Jay Ajayi and establish themselves.

The same can be said for the WR position. Matt Miller and SWR were awesome last season, but whoa boy does production fall off a statistical cliff after those two. The Broncos cannot continue to rely solely on these two in 2014, or 2015 will present some serious concerns at WR. Fortunately, there are lots of talented candidates waiting in the wings. A.J. Richardson is one of the more highly rated WRs to ever commit to Boise State. Tanner Shipley and Thomas Sperbeck both impressed during last August’s fall scrimmage. Troy Ware had some good moments last season sans fumble vs. Oregon State. Much like the RB spot, the talent is there….but who will step up? Junior Adams will have a fun time sorting through this crew. With SWR taking it easy coming back from surgery, the opportunity is there.

O-Line depth to be tested – Also noted in Chadd Cripe’s linked notes from the Statesmen is the fact that Rees Odhiambo will sit this spring out as a precautionary measure. Meaning Marcus Henry will be the only returning starter from 2013 to participate this spring. Travis Averill, Mario Yakoo, Steven Baggett, among others come into spring with some experience. This is a very talented group who will benefit from lots of reps this spring. Winning football games derives from how you play in the trenches. If the Broncos want to hit the ground running on offense in 2014, this O-Line unit will need to gel quickly.

Can Yates fix the Bronco Defense? – Joe Southwick this, Robert Prince that…..Grant Hedrick that, Robert Prince this…..talk about the offense all you like, the reason the Broncos struggled in 2013 is because the defense took a tremendous step backwards. The days of abusing opponents upfront and suffocating passing games under a dominant secondary appeared to be a thing of the past. Marcel Yates said it was hard to watch film of last season. LOL You’re telling us……everyone struggled. Freshman LBs Tanner Vallejo and Ben Weaver provide optimism, and inserting more depth with Joey Martarano coming into the fold is exciting. But this entire defensive unit sucked. No getting around it. The secondary has come under a ton of scrutiny from media and fans. Whether it was a scheme issue or talent issue is what we’ll begin to unravel this spring with Yates taking over. The introduction of stud recruit Dylan Sumner-Gardner and many redshirt corners like Dionza Blue and Cameron Hartsfield to name a few, should light a fire under this unit. Nobody’s spot is safe. The secondary battle, more than any other group, should be intense as Marcel begins to rebuild this unit. They know what happened last season was not satisfactory. Time to fix it.

The Broncos lose very few starters on defense going into spring. In fact, only two really. Unfortunately, those two are Demarcus Lawrence and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe. Outside of Armand Nance, nobody really has an inside track on the D-Line starting spots. Kamalei Correa, Gabe Perez, Beau Martin, among other DEs figure to fight for those spots. RS-Freshman DT Nick Terry was one of the most highly rated DTs Boise State has ever landed. Can he potentially be our next 4-year starter at DT? God I hope so. The Broncos desperately need play-makers at DT to stand up. Nance has been very good, but he cannot do it all himself. The Broncos need to be four deep. Can the likes of Taimatuia, Terry, Ash, etc. take that next step? To return to national prominence, the Broncos will need to recapture their dominant ways on the D-Line.

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Coach Harsin has challenged fans to break the 20,000 fans barrier at the spring game. The theme of this spring seems to be everyone needing to step up. The Broncos need young talent to step up at all positions, and the fans need to step up too. Coach Pete made it clear that things began to go stale here in Boise, even for him. The Broncos have every intention to kick this funk and fans need to do the same. We need to break that 20,000 barrier for the spring game and then attempt to sell-out every home game next fall. This is a team effort and we need to help this young team and staff as much as we can. There is a lot of mystery surrounding this 2014 Boise State football team. Lets start off things on the right note…

Go Broncos!!! #BleedBlue #Project20K

The Writing Is On The Wall – Do Superstitions Help?

The only thing more agonizing than being a fan, willing their team to win while watching live, is being a fan, willing their team to win, and having to totally ignore the game because they’re convinced they have become a jinx. I had a good couple hours last night to ponder what exactly good it might do to be superstitious at all, since recently discovering that my eyeballs on a basketball game will cause the Broncos to lose.

Since all animals form habits, which can be construed as superstitions without magical thinking, it follows that from the first time that an ancient human hit a rock with a stick and laughed because it was fun, sports superstitions have likely followed. Lots of athletes have them – watch the next few times a Bronco is at the foul line and see if they have a very specific dribble/ball spin sequence that they follow each time. To this day I always put on left sock, right sock, right shoe, left shoe. I don’t do that because it’s fun, I do that because one time I performed really well after putting on my shoes that way. It’s lucky.

Scientific research has proven that superstitions can bring people a positive result. A few studies have been done, and it was concluded that while it’s probably not the superstition itself that is bringing good fortune, the power of confidence and positive thinking can improve performance. For example, a group of people being tested were in a putting contest. There was a group told that their ball was a “lucky ball,” and they regularly outperformed those who had a regular ball. People who carried talismans of some sort were able to surpass their unlucky counterparts on memory tests. People who were told that the person administering a puzzle test was crossing their fingers for the participant’s good performance in another type of hand-eye coordination test outdid the control group as well.

Fans can take this to extremes – lucky clothing, lucky food, and lucky spots on the couch. Like the ad told us, “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.” Last night, I was the basement guy on the Bud Light commercial, watching bad reality television and willfully ignoring my phone while the Broncos stomped on Colorado State in an epic show of threesmanship. I wasn’t alone – at least 3 of the awesome people who I follow on Twitter avoided the game for the same reason I did – fear of jinxing that win.

So why do we persist with these little actions, even when they probably will make no difference in the outcome? Because we believe in our team. Sure, third-party superstition so far has proved nothing whatsoever scientifically, but if it works first hand, and fan support can help athlete confidence, would it be so much of a leap to think that a few chumps doggedly hanging on to superstitious nonsense could help fans that are actually AT a game feel better about the team’s chances and therefore cheer louder?

I dunno, but I’m not going to test it. Y’all have fun watching the guys play UNLV on Saturday.  I am going to hide with a blanket over my head until my phone notifies me that the Broncos are still thundering toward their victorious destiny and the win has been secured.

The Art Of Losing

Growing up, I was a passably decent basketball player, who trained year round. My last 3 years in high school, while being pretty much consumed by the sport, the teams I played on were a collective 27-36. 42%. We won 12 games the last two seasons. Now, I’m not going to go all Uncle Rico about my mediocre basketball career. I do want to impart to Bronco Fans who did not suffer through the football win droughts of the 80’s and part of the 90’s, though, an important lesson. That is the art of losing.

Losing more than winning is painful. It’s a land of heartbreak, and what the Broncos Men’s basketball is dealing with, since they are now 5-6 in conference after a loss to Utah State this afternoon in Logan. The guys are also 3-5 away from Taco Bell Arena, and not only does their confidence seem drained after losing several games this season when up big at one point, but fan support is waning.

One thing I learned from the debacle in the first paragraph was that changing coaches is a rough affair. If it can be avoided, it should be. We had 3 coaches in 3 years, and it was awful. Coach Rice is three seasons in, and still winning more than losing, and that means that the hot seat is nothing more at this point than a nice warm leather car seat in 20 degree weather. Teams require consistency, and Rice is statistically the best Bronco Basketball coach EVER in Bronco History, currently 70% win percentage. No Boise State coach ever is that high – even Bobby Dye ended up at 61%. Coach Rice is having the best season he’s ever had, and has a two-year improving streak, not including this season. There is ZERO reason to be calling for his job at this point.

The next thing I learned is that losing can’t be the end. Basketball, in my experience on a losing team, is about the fight. Winning is about asserting your will – being creative and having fun, while ensuring the outcome is the one you envision. The keys to winning anything from games of quarters to National Championships are simple: Have a plan, have the skill, desire to finish, and work ethic to execute that plan to the very best of your ability, figure out a way to enjoy the process, and share it with great people. If a person gets up excited to attack rather than dreading the action, then winning is inevitable.

The teams I played on always got stuck in the step after the one the guys are in – a rough stretch of close games, taking losses at home and away, making nothing about the game much fun at all. Let’s face it, losing freaking sucks. Bad. Players internally question their skill and their teammate’s commitment, they stop communicating well which just exacerbates the issue, and then all of a sudden nobody is having a bit of fun and starts playing to Not Lose.

I don’t think the Broncos have hit that mark yet, they’re still talking, but the outside noise is louder and it’s probably getting hard to ignore losing. They’re on the verge of two outcomes – Bronco Nation stops showing up, games continue to be lost, and everybody on both sides gets disillusioned and are happy to be out in the first part of the tourney, or the team finds their identity, does some conditioning, finds their killer instinct, and makes a run we’ll never forget.

The last thing I learned about losing is this: being a gracious loser is much better than throwing tantrums. Shockingly, I had a foul mouth and a violent set of elbows back in those days. I fouled out nearly every game, usually 4 fouls that could probably be considered misdemeanor assault if they happened at a bar, and a technical. My attitude was crap, losing hurt my heart, and since we were a bunch of teenage girls everything was theatrical and The Worst Thing Ever in the History of Things. (It was kind of like a IRL twitter fit, except all the time and at high pitch with tears.) Losing causes trauma and drama with the wrong mindset. Bronco Nation, we don’t have to be happy with losing. We don’t have to pretend like nothing is wrong and never criticize anybody for anything. We do, however, need to keep perspective. The Bronco Bouncyhoop team wins more than they lose, they’re working hard, and if anybody can figure out the puzzle that is getting personalities of young men to mesh and work together in a way that makes victory achievable, I think it’s probably the all time winning-est coach in the history of Boise State.

 

Coach Tweets – Fans Speak Part 1 (Recruiting Recap)

Today is signing day, and if you have followed us, or Twitter. You know Coach Harsin knows how to rock social media. So as other sites give you scouting, and in-depth looks at the players. We thought we would give you a different kind of recap. Show you the tweets of Harsin announcing the players, and our favorite fan tweets about that player. Enjoy!

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Part II will be coming soon!

Follow us on Twitter: @TheBTN

BTN Offseason Interview – Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe

Ricky Tjong Tjoe

Image Courtesy: BroncoSports.com

Blue Turf Nation has built a tradition of providing fans with great offseason interviews. This season is no different and we are excited to start with a man who epitomizes what it means to “Bleed Blue”. Coming all the way from the Netherlands his transition to America was not an easy one, but one he made to chase his dream. Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoie is a true Bronco and because of that, we are very excited to give you all our first offseason interview.

BTN: You just spent time at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. What was the experience like? What is next for you as you prepare for the NFL Draft?

Ricky: It was a great experience for me because I got the opportunity to show my skills and keep improving as a football player; On top of that it was just a great experience to be a part of it coming from the Netherlands, I am just giving this my all and I am trying to take this as far as I possibly can. I had a great time meeting great people and even better players over at the NFLPA game. I learned a lot about the process of getting in the NFL. I think this experience really motivated me to work harder and to not ever give up because this journey is only getting harder.

BTN: Coming from the Netherlands what was the transition to football like in America?

Ricky: It has been a crazy ride coming from the Netherlands and I took a real big risk moving to Boise by myself to enroll at Boise High School. It hasn’t been easy at all, but I feel like I had a great support from the beginning of my journey, My host parents made the transition as smooth as possible and my high school coaches made sure I wasn’t falling behind in football or school wise. Even though the people surrounding me helped me out a lot, it all came down to setting goals and achieving those. My family took a big risk financially just to send me across the world to chase my dreams, I had to keep in mind that I came here to play football and that is what I focused on.

BTN:Did you play a lot of football before you moved here?

Ricky: Before I came to Boise I played for the Amstelland Panthers in the Netherlands which is a club football team similar to a club soccer team in the United states. We had few coaches and mostly just scrimmaged and did the things we had seen on other peoples highlight films. Things got real serious when I made it to Boise and realized that Football is a lifestyle instead of a hobby. I was overwhelmed when I started for Boise high because unlike before everyone knew what they were doing and things became more serious.

BTN: While at Boise State you made a lot of plays, and played in a lot of great games. What memory or memories stand out to you? What was your favorite moment at Boise State?

Ricky: I have two memorable moments that I can really think of at this moment. The first one is my first college game I had ever played in against Virginia Tech. Coach K allowed me to be in the game for about 3 plays because I messed up pretty bad and Tyrod Taylor broke for a 15 yard gain because of me.

The second memory is my sophomore year against Air force, It was the first game coming back from my NCAA suspension. It was such an emotional game for me because I had just been so upset and angry for not being able to be out there with my teammates for the first 6 games of that season.

BTN:There is always a lot of outside noise about Boise State and how it compares to other national powers. How do you feel Boise State has prepared you for the next chapters in your life?

Ricky: Since I have been Boise state I have endured so many different types of adversity, from incredibly hard workouts to being suspended for six games. Boise State has really made me into a man. Coach Pete educated me and my team mates on what it  means to be a real man, and at first I was a bit skeptical but now that I am a little older I realize the truths he spoke. I also am very grateful for the 100+ friends and family members I now have in my (old) teammates.

BTN: Right now there is obviously a big transition going on at Boise State. With Petersen leaving, and Harsin and company taking over. How do you feel about the transition that is taking place? What kind of impact do you think this coaching change will have on the future of Boise State Football?

Ricky: I’ve been around this staff and team these past 2 weeks and I think that this change is going to be great. I expect great things from our new team. All the coaches have something to prove and they are ready to get to work.

Follow Ricky on Twitter: @tjong4tjo3