Meet Sean. Sean is a Boise State alumnus who had the privilege of watching Zabransky and company begin Boise State’s march to incredible heights. Sean now lives in the Bay Area where his girlfriend graduated from U.C. Berkeley. Besides the fact that Sean’s story is identical to mine (Boise-alum, girlfriend grad from Berkeley, and now living in the Bay Area) Sean was proudly wearing a bright orange shirt from the 2010 MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, the same year Boise State manhandled the 19th ranked Utah Utes 26-3.
I saw Sean walking along Telegraph Blvd. and crossing onto Berkeley’s campus from Bancroft. As I flagged him down he gave me the typical Berkeley pedestrian look of “please don’t ask me for money.” When I told him who I was and that I was writing an article about Bronco Nation, he let his guard down, let me take a picture of him, shook my hand, and then went about his day. Sean isn’t the first Bronco Nation member I’ve found in the Bay Area. I find myself constantly having “BOISEEEEEE!!!” screamed at me whenever I put on my blue sweater, to which I appropriately respond, “STAAAAAAATE!!!”
So why write an article about a guy I saw walking down the street? Sean reminded me of something I think many Boise fans need to be reminded of—Boise State is growing into a national brand and it is the loyalty of fans that is taking it there. In an age of college football with more consistently-strong programs like Ohio State, Alabama, Oregon, Stanford, and LSU taking center stage, it’s easy to forget about schools that make waves, but aren’t big enough to keep up with the perennial powers in college football each season. Buckeye Nation, Duck Nation, Roll Tide, etc. are the big battle cries that define college football, and the reality is that Boise State is just not there…at least not yet. I’ve heard many people refer to Boise State as that “little school in Idaho,” and ask what it could possibly have to offer anyone other than a blue field and “few” good seasons in football.
Boise State was thrust into success in a small league very quickly. As that success spread by taking down schools like Oregon, TCU, VT, and Georgia, Boise fans got a taste of the limelight and never wanted to let it go; and we’re doing a hell of a job. By holding onto what we cherish about our school, we are helping it in so many ways. Bronco Nation is truly something special because there is a genuine love for the university and the community. Unlike many other fan bases, Bronco Nation has a large number of fans that remember a losing season all to well and are really appreciative of what is happening now. Even when losing one of the best coaches in college football Bronco Nation picked itself up, united, and said, “bring it”—something many fans would not be able to do. So what does Boise State offer? Well in the way of sports it offers Bronco Nation; a fan base that extends outside the city where that “little school” sits. People may think Boise is just that little school in Idaho, but this little school has a hell of a fan base that does great justice to the title of “nation.”
Bronco fans, remember that you’re part of something bigger than just bowl game victories, ridiculous win streaks, and a blue field. You’re part of a nation whose borders are extending every season, and a nation filled with fans who aren’t afraid to show their pride wherever they may be. This is Boise State and this is Bronco Nation.