Rod Serling would have loved the Boise State Broncos football team, who opened their season with a 35-21 win.
Just take Serling's memorable opening for the Twilight Zone and revamp it a bit …
“You're traveling through another dimension—a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's a signpost up ahead. Your next stop: the Bronco Zone.”
It fits. Bronco football is another dimension and it encompasses sight, sound, mind, heart, spirit and desire. And we all know when the first football of fall is about to land because orange and blue colors sprout up across the valley, heralding the coming cry, “It’s game day!”
In the coming week, ESPN’s SEC cheerleader, Mark May, may decry the win, make excuses or try to belittle the fact that the Broncos marched on Georgia, settled in the heart of a stadium awash in a red sea of Bulldog fans—with an enthusiastic, vocal and proud contingent of blue—and then put a beat-down on their SEC hosts.
There will be those who will criticize the Broncos, saying the team had a long time to prepare. Those people will somehow manage to ignore the fact that the Bulldogs did, too.
There will be those who will talk about players missing from Georgia’s lineup and not note that Boise State was also missing players who who will play roles in the coming season.
But let them talk.
Let the discussion about the BCS busting begin again ... and then simply ignore it. Idaho is the Gem State and Boise State football is a jewel—one that continuously provides quality and entertaining football that deservedly garnered its share of attention.
And so we enter the 2011 season with the Broncos now in the Mountain West Conference with a slew of new opponents to face and the same old discussions about whether Boise State deserves its ranking. But the simple fact about college football is that players come and players go. They get four years to make their mark. Some will advance to NFL teams while most will remember the pride of their playing days as they embark on careers outside of football. For many of the current Broncos team, this is their senior season. Players like Kellen Moore, Doug Martin, Chase Baker, Nate Potter, Kyle Efaw, Tyler Shoemaker, Shea McClellin, George Iloka, D.J. Harper, Byron Hout, Dan Paul, Aaron Tevis and Billy Winn are only some of the 25 seniors on the roster who have given the Bronco Nation something to cheer about and the rest of the nation something to talk about.
A couple of years ago, I was returning home from a trip to Florida. I was in an airport in Raleigh, N.C., wearing my Broncos T-shirt. One anonymous Southerner walked past me and said, “Good team. Good luck tomorrow.” While I waited at the gate, another started talking amicably about the Broncos—and he was an Arkansas fan. Later that day, in Denver, a cook at a hotel restaurant came out from the kitchen to tell me that he was a huge fan of “that college team” after the server told him about my T-shirt.
Coach Chris Petersen has to be given a lot of credit for the Broncos' visibility, as well as the team's success on the field. Petersen seems to ignore the naysayers and lets the debate about Boise State’s place in the national picture carry on without his involvement. He focuses on the current season, as well as planning for seasons yet to come in terms of personnel playing and recruiting and lets his actions and the actions of his winning team do all of the talking. You know, like they did on Saturday in Georgia.