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January 22, 2007

Bronco Nation has another Fiesta









Commentary by Trevor Horn
with attached slideshow
"A Perfect Day"
by Stanley Brewster



There is a new colonization in America.

It's called Bronco Nation.

Twenty days after the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl victory, there were enough fans in downtown Boise to fill up Bronco Stadium to celebrate the monumental victory over Oklahoma.

Twenty days.

We as Americans have attention spans that are about as long as short films, yet, there I was amassed with fans young and old on the hallowed steps of the Statehouse to celebrate a football game celebration.

That's what I'm talking about.

It was an amazing day to behold.

Unlike the previous two seasons, I was able to take a step away from the pen and paper, the press box and the microphone and see it from a fans perspective.

I knew this team was going to be something special. It was in Jared Zabransky's eyes when he spoke to the media after the MPC Computers Bowl loss to Boston College. The 2005 season was an anomaly.

There was too much talent. Too much leadership. Too many goals this team wanted to accomplish.

And to boot, Chris Petersen was bringing the football mentality back to the Broncos.

Saturday was, dare I say, a perfect way to end the most successful season in Boise State history.

It has been said a million times, but I will say it again with more reason behind it. Zabransky's turn-around from his junior season was admirable. The scrutiny from the fans, the media, I am sure some of his fellow teammates could have sent him straight to the bench in place of Taylor Tharp last spring. He could have bellied up, but true to his entire career at Boise State, he knew he had one more shot to prove his worth as quite possibly the best quarterback as a Bronco.

I will never be one to say that kids should look up to athletes as personal role models. It's not right, that's the parent's job.

But, what these players go through, the year-round conditioning, the player run summer program and fall camp, that determination is something parent's should show their children. If you work hard enough like this team did, good things will happen to you.

I ran into Ian Johnson the night before. We were talking, and the question was asked if the team would even be able to talk about the bowl game again after Saturday's festivities. Funny thing was, he said, "Probably not."

That is the mentality that the Broncos have, and is the key reason why this program is so successful and will continue to rise to prominence in college football. The focus and drive to get better everyday.

Going back to Saturday.

Standing there next to the monument in front of Statehouse, it dawned on me how surreal the day was. An eleven-year-old Division I-A program celebrating a BCS bowl game victory. I have a pair of Vans older than that.

It was a good day to be a Bronco.

The celebration also helped out other programs on campus. The halftime festivities during the men's basketball game brought in the largest crowd for a home game since 2000.

Is that a slap in the face to the basketball team? No way. All it is going to do is bring those fans back. There was an excitement in the Arena Saturday night. Thanks in part to Anthony Thomas' electrifying style of play, the game showed that the men's basketball team is fun to watch, and fans will come back.

After halftime, I sat next Bob Evancho from the communications office at Boise State, and one of the main organizers of the day's festivities. You could see a sense of accomplishment on his face because the day went about as planned for everyone involved.

The fans support will only grow from here for Boise State. Recruiting will only get easier. Selling out Bronco Stadium will be easier than ever. And like Chris Petersen told the crowd at the Statehouse on Saturday, the Broncos are a part of everyone's family, so embrance them, because they aren't going anywhere.



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