As we all know Boise State beat us to a New Years day BCS bowl. We also know that Boise pulled the upset by beating Oklahoma 43-42 on a heart stopping Statue of Liberty play that surprised everyone including the Sooners. While Boise was pulling the upset of the year in Glendale, Arizona everyone back in Fresno had to be wondering "How did Boise possibly achieve the goal that Fresno had set for themselves before Boise had ever been a part of the WAC?" The answer to that question can be found if you travel back eleven years to when Boise State became a division 1A school for the first time in their history.
Boise State spent seventeen years as a Div 1AA school. After success as a Div 1AA school Boise made the jump to division 1A in 1996. Their first year went as expected as the Broncos went 2-10 (growing pains are common when jumping divisions in college football). 1997 and 1998 told the same story as the Broncos did not win as much as they would have liked to. However, making the jump to Div. 1A is the toughest thing for a small school to do. Although Boise was not on the national championship stage they had gone from two wins in 96 to six wins in 98 for their first winning season in Div. 1A. This would be the last time Boise State flirted with the .500 mark. In 1999 the Broncos won the Big West by going 10-3 and as a bonus won the Humanitarian bowl over Louisville. 2000 seemed to have the same script as the Broncos once again won the Big West and the Humanitarian bowl, this time over UTEP. In 2001 Dan Hawkins took over the coaching duties and Boise joined the WAC. Boise finished 8-4 and added an upset for the ages to their resume as they went into Fresno, Ca. and defeated the #8 Bulldogs 35-30. This was the beginning of the Boise State rise to prominence.
Boise State's goal wasn't to get to a BCS game first. Boise State followed the natural rise to stardom. They joined Div. 1A and then moved on to the WAC after four years. From there they set the goal of winning the WAC first and have accomplished that goal five years in a row. Boise's continuity has been amazing throughout this stretch. Their offense has been unstoppable and has not changed one bit due to the creativity of Chris Petersen. At the same time Boise has had no turnover with respect to their athletic director. As I mentioned earlier their continuity is the one aspect I point to that has kept this football team on the rise. Fresno State has gone through three athletic directors during Pat Hill's tenure. Bulldog athletics has also had to suffer through the turmoil caused by the basketball scandals that took place during the Jerry Tarkanian era. Many would say that has nothing to do with football, but losing an AD time after time only makes it that much harder with respect to the goals that are set by the team and their coach. What if the AD does not agree with the coach? What if the AD thinks the coaches goals are unrealistic? Boise State never had to deal with this and that is one of the many reasons they played in a BCS game this season and the Bulldogs didn't.
Another aspect that Boise State has tackled well is that of scheduling. Yes they do not schedule like the Bulldogs do, but the Broncos knew that if they scheduled like the Dogs they would not have a chance to play in a BCS game. The Bulldogs put it all on the line. Unfortunately this attitude will only cause problems with fans. If the Dogs schedule big name opponents the fans love it because they like the Dogs playing the USC's and LSU's of the college football world. But what happens when the Dogs get ripped into by an LSU? No longer are the fans happy that we scheduled that game against such a high profile team. Boise State realized that if they continue to schedule teams they can compete with every week they will have a chance to run the table and be allowed into the big games at the end of the season. The Broncos scheduled to fit their team and where they were headed with respect to their goals. They did not get ahead of their selves and let everything happen naturally. This is where Fresno State went wrong.
Pat Hill and the Bulldogs dreamt of a BCS championship game, but they skipped the steps to get there. In order to win the championship you have to win the WAC and the Bulldogs never made that a priority. They continually front loaded their schedule only to see their team tire out when the conference games came about. With that being said there is nothing wrong with aiming to win it all. However, when you skip the intermediate steps that get you there you will trip up along the way. You cannot skip the steps in the middle and get to the top. In a business you do not become the CEO of a corporation when you feel like it. You have to make your way up the chain and serve your time in positions that may not be so desirable. But if you do your time eventually everything will fall into place. College football is a business that is run the same exact way. If you sit back and do your time eventually everything is going to fall into place. Fresno State has a chance now to do what Boise did. If the Bulldogs can make strides in 2007 they will have a chance to make a run in both 2008 and 2009. The Bulldogs have to realize that the goal is not to go undefeated in 2007. The goal in 2007 is to grow together as a team and learn that the future is bright if they can come together. Boise State realized this in 2001 and it took them to an undefeated season and a BCS game only five years later. The Bulldogs should not be in a hurry to achieve greatness, the opportunity will present itself in the near future. Instead the Bulldogs should be patient and realize that if they play the game correctly they to can be the CEO's of their business one day.
Note: The Bulldogs basketball team takes on Hawaii tonight at 9pm. Check out MB's blog on the right hand side of the Bulldog blog located under Fresno State links. He does a good job pointing out what needs to be done tonight to win the game.