Attack The Opponent (Bowl Edition!): Northern Illinois Huskies

The matchup with NIU has been years in the making. They’re another blue collar team from a small city, built on a reputation for giant killing. The Huskies are not “The Next Boise State,” they have forged their own identity. But it’s still the MAC.

The Huskies have had the same sort of trajectory over the last few years, a big win in a big bowl game, and the same kinda disappointing season where expectations were derailed but there have been flashes of brilliance. Their best game was a loss, coming within a score of Ohio State early in the season.

They lost to a tough Bowling Green in the MAC championship, lead by a fourth string walk-on QB and a fairly strong running attack. The Huskies defense is fairly stout, but hasn’t been really tested in a while outside of that last game.

As long as Boise State isn’t the team that distraction built, this game is a slight edge on paper to the Broncos. Their offense is just more explosive, and defense slightly more stout. However, there’s been some, uh, off the field distractions in the form of some legal issues, and a couple of important people to this team (no matter how little they would’ve played) aren’t with the team in San Diego.


Good work, gentlemen. Betty White disapproves.

However, maybe these guys have learned how to focus down, have healed up, and are going to come out and put on a show. NIU has one of their scholarship QB’s back, and both teams are more than capable of scoring points both on the ground and through the air. They’ve got a rather impressive run game, so expect them to pop off for at least a few long runs. The real battle here is going to be on the lines though. Boise’s defensive line should cause havoc on a young QB, but theirs should technically do the same to Ryp. So who knows.


We should prepare for the eventuality that this is the result and we have a 10-7 battle of the turnovers or something.

Either way, this game is going to be close enough to make both fan bases very uncomfortable, and might finally settle that question of who is the next Boise State (hint: It’s the team wearing Blue and Orange) to those on the other side of the country. NIU is a respectable program and will be a good matchup as both teams that didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations that some of us had on them at the start of the season.

All of this is okay. Because 2016 is quickly approaching and while there are all of the questions right now and none of the answers going into next season, this game will give some young guys valuable experience, up to and including everybody on the coaching staff. The more they learn, the more dangerous they are.

Happy holidays, and Go Broncos!



Attack The Opponent: Air Force Academy Falcons

The hierarchy of meaningless gods that I think of for things that are matters of chance are not in charge of the big stuff. In fact, in this gospel, they’re just as bewildered as we are about the origin of the universe. There’s no water into wine here. No burning bushes, no talking snakes. If help is needed with understanding life’s big questions, these gods should not be anywhere around. These are the gods that are found on drag strips and in casinos. The gods that send video game sniper bullets to end you just after you spawn and guide your kid to leave Lego in the hallway right outside of the freaking bathroom AGAIN.

The bottom tier gods are weak. They’re the ones that steal socks out of the dryer and make batteries drain in the remote too fast. If there is something that can go wrong, you can bet there’s some middle-management type deity to blame. Get a badly wrapped burrito? Traffic light turn yellow for .5 seconds after being green for 3 cars? Dead phone battery? Can’t find a lighter? Car keys missing? Gather around, friends, for I know this to be true. The gods of minor inconvenience are jerks, but they cannot compare to the vengeful spirit of the sports and games gods and their sovereign leader, the chaos god.

If you are expecting a message of love and peace, well, this is going to be disappointing. The chaos god doesn’t concern herself with the petty matters of want or need. Her only concern is random joy and anguish. She sees us as toys, as entertainment, just as she sees her court. All games have these gods – from go fish with grandpa to putting it all on red. At the chaos god’s side, surrounding her and feeding her need to feel powerful, are the gods of gambling, of base jumping and motorcycle racing.

The chaos god’s favorites and closest are the gods of ball sports.

These are not gods of much virtue. They are narcissistic and dense, a study in bad behavior. Borderline violent, they specialize in injuries, bad calls, and lost tempers. They consider themselves better than the other gods, and thus are entitled to special privileges and throw tantrums when things don’t go their way. Then they play it off as intensity or boys being boys. The ball gods are seen by those who do not see the truth as a challenge. As random luck. As just not their/their team’s day. All of those things are true sometimes – but behind all of  madness, are just a pack of bros who like games and partying and pageantry and hanging out with an unpredictable goddess – the mother of risky, trashy behavior and not an ounce of concern for others or the consequences of actions.

The chaos god smiles. She feels better when emotion is extreme – high or low. She picks on those she loves, and the ball sports boys get her attention because they’re way more fun to torture and take things much more seriously than the lowlife dryer guy.

Athletes play their sport for a myriad of reasons, just like those who support and work in the industry as well as fans. Everyone’s reasons are special and beautiful, totally individual, and matter little in the long run. Humans have been competing since the first guy grunted at the other about who could make it to that rock and back fastest. The chaos god and her following of weak willed celestial jerkbags have been around just as long, messing around in a world of idealism and people trying to be part of something bigger by tripping people who are running and inspiring bad ideas in people who otherwise wouldn’t cheat.

This week Boise State plays a team that consists of young men who have taken to the lifestyle of living at the intersection of idealism and reality. The idea that AFA could be the beneficiary of a billion turnovers for the second year in a row, getting a win on The Blue  in the process, and sending Boise on the first two game skid since 2007 is just silly. THERE ARE CHILDREN IN THIS FAN BASE WHO ARE ALIVE AND IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL NOW WHO HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE SAD TWO WEEKENDS IN A ROW BECAUSE LOSING. WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?

Theoretically Boise should win because talent and stats advantage and that BSU Speed. But triple option. AFA is better than New Mexico. Boise State just lost to New Mexico. Weston Steelhammer, obvious mutant in X-Men style, is still freaking playing for the Zoomies instead of out saving the world. So, there will be an athletic contest played this weekend. There will likely be a result. Nobody has a damn clue what that result will be. Let’s find out together. Go Broncos!



Attack The Opponent: University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebels

UNLV is 2-5 under Tony Sanchez, most recently the coach at Bishop Gorman HS in Vegas. (LOOK AT THEIR FACILITIES. This is a high school with stuff that’s better than most of the MWC.) However, this isn’t the regular UNLV 2-5. This team is the current owner of the Fremont Cannon, winning this years Battle for Nevada. They almost beat the NIU Huskies, put 80 points on Idaho State, took a decent SJSU team to OT and then somehow wasn’t able to withstand a comeback from…Fresno. The Mountain West is the most incomprehensible conference in the country and UNLV with some heart is the most incomprehensible of them all. Are they good? Probably not beat Boise State If They Show Up good. But if Boise melts down again? UNLV could go for the throat.

The Broncos need a bye and to heal up a little. The Rebels are just coming off theirs, and should be fresh and sharp with a couple of weeks to prepare. The weird 12:30 PM kickoff off on Saturday should benefit UNLV as well – Boise State hasn’t played a regular season game before 5 pm since last September at UConn.


A day game! What a concept!

However, that’s pretty much where the Rebels advantage stops, at least on paper. The Broncos should dominate on both sides of the ball and win handily. UNLV doesn’t have the strongest rush game and will be living on the pass. Their defense is better than usual but still should be overpowered by McNichols and the Broncos on the ground to allow the passing game to open up and be prolific.

Of course, all of this is just data, and we learned vs Utah State that occasionally, data lies.

2ZEqehG9T6G14lzYgIiH_Horse LaptopSomeone should probably take my comp away. Theoretically Boise was better than both BYU and Utah State on paper too.

The MWC is more dumpster fire than metropolitan conference of distinction or whatever the slogan is this year, but here’s hoping Temple loses horribly to ND in front of the whole country during prime time on ABC. When they start looking for a G5 champ at the end of the season, the Broncos might run with the chaos monster stampede and end up in the big money bowl game corral somehow. Probably not, but stranger things have happened. There is a lot of football left.

skeleton-painted-horse-halloween-5This horse is scary, but not as scary as the MWC West division standings. Is everyone good? Is everyone terrible? Who knows!

UNLV know this too. They’re fighting for bowl eligibility, and beating Nevada and Boise in the same season would get UNLV a very long way toward their goals of everything from turning the program around to building a new on campus stadium facility. This isn’t the same UNLV. Of course, Boise State, who now statistically has the best QB in the conference, won’t just lay down. The Broncos should win this game handily and send us all happily on our way to trick or treat with victory in our hearts, but we can take nothing for granted. No lead is safe. Not in this conference, not this season. Not much more terrifying than that. Boo!

Bronco Feedbag: Utah State Aggies


It’s a special day, you guys. It’s the day before the Aggies get reminded who their daddy is. In the wild west spirit of northern Utah/southern Idaho, I figured we’d go with some of my favorite “cowboy cooking” type dish – chili.

Recipe of the Week: All The Meats Chili

Here’s what you’ll need (serves 6-8):

  • 8 tbsp chili powder
  • 5 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp oregano
  • 4 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 12 oz beers
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 lb spiced sausage
  • .5 lb bacon
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can butter beans

First, brown the sausage and burger in the pan over medium-high heat. Put the bacon on separately and cook until just starting to get crispy. Drain the meat, chop up bacon into roughly 1 in squares. Combine everything back in the dutch oven. The spices ratios are just my favs, but up the levels or take them down depending on what you like. When it comes to the beer, I love using ambers or oktoberfests, but anything works. I’ve used everything from Hamm’s that had been rolling around in a cooler for a month in the garage to espresso stouts and everything works for the most part except IPA’s. But I also have a distaste for super hoppy beer so… YMMV. Occasionally I’ll throw in some chopped up basque chorizo as the sausage, and it adds a very nice depth. Another shortcut is that the spices are basically the Carroll Shelby Chili packet you can buy at Albertson’s + smoked paprika and cocoa powder.

Bring it to a boil and then cover on medium heat and simmer for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover with about 20 min to go, and then you can add cornstarch to thicken if it isn’t the desired consistency. Serve with whatever – cheese, sour cream, chopped onion (green, white, doesn’t matter), crackers, etc.

One more thing: adding a tablespoon of apple cider or balsamic vinegar to a bowl of chili gives it a kind of indescribably spicy sweetness with a bite. It sounds weird, but check it out sometime.

Beer of the Week: Wasatch Ghostrider White IPA


I have been assured by people who have actually tried this beer that is a very mild IPA and that I should try it immediately. Good enough! This beer is a 6%, brewed with coriander, and also has a really cool label that is exccellently Broncotastic. From Wasatch’s website:

Legend has it Ghostrider roams Utah’s Wasatch Range seeking revenge: “someone” stole his White IPA recipe. Smooth and crisp, it’s made from pale barley and citrusy hops. It’s too good to hide!

Liquor/Shot of the Week: High West Campfire Whiskey

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 6.49.35 PM

This one I have had experience with. 2 bottles worth, to be exact. According to their freaking awesome, data packed website, this is possibly the worlds first mix of scotch, bourbon, and rye whiskey, and it’s made in Utah. If we’re having all the meats chili, might as well go big, right?

Sensory Notes:

Nose: Floral, fruity, bright and spicy. Caramel and butterscotch. Light smoke and smoldering wood from a campfire the morning after. Jasmine, chai tea, sandalwood, leather, tobacco, pine resin and toasted bread.

Taste: vanilla, honey, toffee with some nice fruit, blueberries and black cherries. Chai spices – nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest. Salty caramels. Tobacco. Gentle smoke!

Finish – Long, sweet, spicy, and smoky!

Love the enthusiasm on the tasting notes!  These guys are serious, and it’s a serious bottle with a serious price point (around $60). But it’s definitely one of the very best sippin whiskeys I’ve ever come across.

Happy tailgating, and Go Broncos!


Bronco Feedbag: Hawaii (Rainbow) Warriors

Roasted_puaaYour pig won’t taste as good as this one

Aloha!  It is Hawaii game week, and I am excited!  I have been looking forward to tailgating for this game for a long time.  I grew up with a lot of Pacific Islanders – one of my good friend’s jokingly called me Keleka once – a rough translation of my name  – and it stuck. Anyways,  I was lucky enough to be able to attend many back yard Luaus, and  there is nothing like Polynesian food and culture.  Let’s get to it!


Traditional Kalua Pig is cooked in an underground pit called an Imu.  This oven is made by digging a hole, starting a mesquite fire and then covering the fire with rocks and lining the pit with banana leaves.  The whole pig is then salted and stuffed with more hot rocks and wrapped in banana leaves or wet burlap to maintain the moisture of the meat.  The pit is then covered in sand and left to cook for about eight  hours.  Once finished, the pork is shredded to mix the melted fat with the meat to spread the flavor throughout the pig.  My friend’s parents had an imu in their back yard and would make Kalua Pig for special occasions – there is nothing that compares to it. Unfortunately, for tailgating purposes you probably don’t have the time to cook the pig traditionally, and I would guess the people who own your tailgate spot would frown upon you building an imu.  Luckily crock-pot Kalua Pig is very easy.  All you need is some pork butt roast, sea salt, and liquid smoke.  Pierce the roast a few times with a fork, cover it with sea salt and liquid smoke, and cook on low for about eight hours or on high for about four hours.  Once it is tender, shred it with a couple of forks and mix it with the fat and juices in the pot, and serve.

A great traditional side item to serve with this is Local Kine potato-mac salad. It is basically a mixture of potato salad and macaroni salad, so get your favorite recipes of both, and mix them together.  If you are short on time (or lazy) you can also buy a container of each of these at your nearest deli and throw them together.

If you want to go all out, make some spam fried rice or sticky rice and you will be able to build your own Hawaiian lunch plate!


I am a big fan of all the beers from Kona Brewing, and I think Big Wave is perfect for tailgating.  It has a great balance of malts and hops, but is lower in alcohol (4.4%) so you can still have a few.  Here is the description from Kona:

Our brewers wanted to make a beer that went down easy after a day out on the water. Big Wave Golden Ale is just the ticket. Big Wave is a lighter bodied golden ale with a tropical hop aroma and flavor – a smooth, easy drinking refreshing ale. The use of caramel malt contributes to the golden hue of this beer and our special blend of hops provides bright quenching finish.

You can find Kona’s brews pretty much everywhere around the Treasure Valley, and some stores carry their sampler pack so you can try all of their great beers.


In previous editions of the Feedbag I have referred to Business Insider’s article on the most popular liquor in every state, which for Hawaii is Jack Daniels.  I am going to go a different direction this week so we can keep with the theme, so let’s make some Mai Tai’s!

Most people think of Captain Morgan’s when it comes to spiced rum, but I really like Shellback Spiced Rum.  I find it a lot smoother and great for shots:

Shellback® Spiced is a flavorful, medium-bodied rum of remarkable quality. Its 12 exotic spices combine to offer unique aromatics and layers of caramelized vanilla, brown spice, cinnamon, and honey. With a distinctive yet versatile profile, it is pleasantly warm with a clean finish and makes for a tasty shot, mixes nicely with soft drinks and serves as the perfect companion for hot drinks.

For the Mai Tai, pour a shot of Shellback, and a shot of Malibu Coconut Rum over ice, add a splash of grenadine, and top with pineapple juice and orange juice.  Stir and enjoy!

Enjoy your tailgate parties this week. Should be a great October day for football!