A la recherche du Big Games perdu. Or Sometimes “Purdue”
Great Losses Build Great Traditions. Are You Listening Boise State?
By Joe Bodolai © 2010, All rights reserved
I wasn’t planning on writing about college football today, but then I didn’t plan on my current haircut turning out like this either. Uncertainty over the plot surprises Saturday’s journey through the schedule brings and how it’s going to end is what I really love about college football more than any other sport. Ohio State’s loss to Wisconsin is a bad haircut they’re going to have to wear this fall, just as they had to endure the unexpected buzz cut at the hands of Purdue last season. Just as Alabama must after their mullet of a loss to South Carolina. I mean, it’s not ghastly or shocking like the pink mohawk the Michigan Wolverines had to wear to the church of St. J. Crew in Ann Arbor on that Sunday after losing to Appalachian State. They now have to wear the geeky no-bowl cut they’ve been sporting thanks to stylist Mr. RichRod of NastyKuts.
Fans of college football teams with great rich traditions are used to enduring the pain of great losses, especially to great rivals,
in the great story arcs that cover decades and are passed on through generations. Like Ohio State, Michigan, and every other Big Ten team, or Alabama and every other SEC team, or Oregon (my number one team right now) vs. Oregon State in their “civil war”, these annual matchups are often full of storylines that include redemption and revenge and “bragging rights”, which is often a euphemism for insightful analyses, usually slurred screams using the word “suck.”
Great losses make great victories possible even during the regular season. Even when there is no “mythical national championship” on the line, or even if the two teams are not “ranked” in the “Top Ten”, the Ohio State – Michigan game is almost always the biggest of the year. Just ask Buckeye fans about the crushing loss in 1997, or Wolverine fans about their sixth consecutive loss in the rivalry last year. The SEC may be full of Hatfields and McCoys, but OSU-Michigan is all Sunni-Shiite.
So this is why I cannot care about Boise State. First of all, they play on blue turf! Yes, I’m a traditionalist. I think football should be played on real green grass. I still hate artificial turf but at least it’s supposed to be green. So I’m a traditionalist also in thinking corn should come from seeds, not from Monsanto, which, coincidentally, created Astroturf.
As they are one of a dwindling number of undefeated teams, college football fans really should care about Boise State. We really really should. And we should floss three times a day. So let’s try. What exactly are Boise State’s long and storied traditions? Here is their entire list as found on their totally not official website boise.stateuniversity.com.
Boise State University Traditions
“Few trademarks are as recognizable or as proudly demonstrated as the blue astro turf of Bronco Stadium. Every televised game and following highlight makes the stadium undeniably recognizable to every Bronco fan across the country.”
That’s all? That is the entire section! So the turf at Bronco Stadium is a “trademark”? Or do they mean the Blue “astro turf” (sic) that is “recognizable to every Bronco fan across the country?” No, wait, “undeniably recognizable!” (“Excuse me, Mr. Potatohead. I deny that you recognize that turf!”) I’m sorry, but buckeyes and winged helmets are recognized by every college football fan across the country! So there’s no “dotting the I” in Boise? No “potato bowl” trophy in a rivalry with, I guess, Idaho? Just blue turf? And “Bronco fans” to me are probably more prevalent in Denver, home to the NFL Broncos, from whom the Boise State nickname, logo, and colors seem to undeniably derive, created no doubt in the halcyon shag carpet era. (Now known as the Mel Kiper Hair era.)
Their football program does include one (1) Junior College championship in 1958, titles won in the two previous years by Texarkana Community College and Coffeyville CC. They have one (1) member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Randy Trautman, about whom the most current information listed is “photo coming soon.” Their program consists of one (1) incredible signature win – the cheerleader accepting the quarterback’s marriage proposal on live TV after they upset Oklahoma in the Doritos Tangy Nacho Bowl. Of course it was a great game, “The Little Giants” surprising everyone with a trick play is always a great feel good story. And they are no doubt a very very good football team. Just how good, and how much it really matters though, we don’t know. And I really really am trying to care. Almost as much as I do about getting more public restrooms on the Promenade in Santa Monica. Almost. Right now that matters way more.
Your team needs some “signature losses”. Losses that derail hopes. Losses that last a long time. Like Jennifer felt losing Brad. Then watching him score with Angelina. That stuff hurts, not to mention the envy losers feel, like lesbians watching somebody else hook up with their dreamgirl Angelina and then it having be a man! Must be almost as bad as USC fans watching Vince Young hold up the Coaches’ Trophy.
Boiseans, Boiseites, Boisereans, root like hell. I really do hope your team goes undefeated. I know that 48-0 win yesterday over…. let’s see… San Jose State must have been another barnburner with just 41 style points coming in the first half. And yeah, you did beat Virginia Tech. But unless there’s a matchup between you and Division I.IX James Madison, who also beat Virginia Tech, we won’t really know much. Stay healthy, finish out your exhibition season, then, please go and lose in the National Championship game or the Rose Bowl or something that will actually mean something and hurt. Hell, win the damn game! The one thing you don’t have is a past, at least not one that matters a whole pile of potatoes to anybody. Losses build a history to make winning matter!
Like a new gang member, you have to get “jumped in”. It might hurt, but until then, you can’t wear the colors.
In the meantime, try to enjoy the Boise State fight song here, which literally does fight good taste to actually be called a song. It’s apparently played after every Broncos touchdown, of which there have been 2,935 scads in recent years, meaning that even after all this repetition the fact that no one who is not actually in the Boise State band can even hum it kinda sums up the whole lack of impact on the national football consciousness thing or something. Sorry, got distracted… Auburn-Arkansas highlights are on.
 Astroturf ® is a registered trademark of the Monsanto Corporation and, as people who run a university should know, is spelled as one word.
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