There is one foe in which sports franchises and programs have very little to no control over: the history that came before them.
The Boise State Broncos football program often faces this very dilemma at the start of every season.
And — like the best of them — it is best to travel in the present and envision the future, all while embracing the past.
Each season, expectations around the program are (understandably) high. Dreams of conference championships, NY6 bowl games, and capturing the white whale of a playoff berth dance around the Broncos and their fans’ heads.
This is bound to happen when a program has had twenty years of sustained success and near dominance. Goals grew even higher thanks to the magical four-year run that we saw of Chris Petersen, Kellen Moore and company. Perfect — and near-perfect — seasons coupled with record-setting offenses and defenses led to our present-day expectations.
The dawning of that era, of course, came on the heels of Boise State’s first real taste of national prominence: the 2007 Fiesta Bowl victory over the Oklahoma Sooners.
Climbing a mountain of expectations is nothing new for this program. A program that has been the darling of the west coast for the past ten seasons. Fiesta Bowl victories, Mountain West titles, and first-round draft picks have reaffirmed as much.
Each class and each year in the post “CP-KM” era has exemplified their own unique attributes. They have had their own special games, special players, and special moments which define them. Some teams attained a championship or a major bowl victory. Others, however, came up short, forever chasing the ghosts of history in which often impossible expectations had been laid.
Boise State Broncos: the 2018 edition
The 2018 Boise State Broncos — which opened their fall camp on August 3 — have a chance to capture their own piece of history. Groundwork has been established in what could lead to a very special season.
And with it, the comparisons to teams of the past.
Brett Rypien has assumed a heavy comparison to Moore since prior to his arrival. Living up to the all-time college leader in wins was going to be no easy task. And though there have been bumps in the road, Rypien is on pace to break a few of Moore’s records.
Entering season five as head coach of the Broncos, Bryan Harsin has also faced his fare of comparisons. Before Harsin, Petersen had a truly remarkable run and I would have considered it a minor miracle for Harsin to produce the same winning percentage right off the bat.
And yet, he’s brought home a Fiesta Bowl victory, conference titles, and win over the Oregon Ducks. (For Bronco fans, a very important box to check).
Even the defense is getting early comparisons to some of the great defenses within the past ten seasons. Rightfully so. Each position is easily two-deep with players who can start, even at linebacker where the team will be replacing 1st-round draft pick Leighton Vander Esch.
Can the defense rise to the level of the 2011 team that had four defensive players selected in the 2012 NFL draft? Or will it rise to the occasion and give the 2010 team that allowed only 12.8 points and 96.3 rushing yards per game a run for its money?
It might very well be so, especially with this group was in the top-20 in rushing defense a season ago.
Take in the early season talk now. On paper, the team is lined up to make the 2018 season one to remember. The bullseye will once again be on the Broncos back, especially with many already predicting Boise State to be playing in a NY6 game down the line.
Chasing history will always be present for the Boise State Broncos. Equipping a team to handle those duties while maintaining a game-to-game attitude of the present is important. Here we are in August and the march has already begun for (hopefully) another exciting college football season.
Welcome to Boise State football 2018.