Yes, Oregon State is painting its practice field blue this week. And while I heard a lot of people making fun of that, I think it’s genius.
All I know is that the Broncos have won 71 of their last 73 at home and I’ve talked to more players than I can count who have told me they think playing on blue turf DOES make a difference. They say it’s disorienting (particularly when you’re playing against a team wearing blue uniforms) and that they felt it had an impact.
What does it hurt to prepare for it? A good coach prepares for everything he can and this is part of it.
If I were a Pac-10 team, though, what I’d do is not play them in the first place. Not at their place. No way. At least not until they paint the field green again. And I’m serious.
I would make them pay the price for being in a second-tier NCAA conference and not allow them to build a reputation on my back. I’d play them at my home, but only very early in the year. That’s a great program headed by a great coach. What Chris Peterson has done there has been nothing short of unbelievable.
Look, you can say what you want about how good they are, but you can’t convince me they have athletes as good as most Pac-10 programs. You think they’ve recruited better players than Oregon State? I can’t see it. They don’t have as many drafted into the NFL and they never show up on those blue-chip, five-star recruiting lists with any regularity.
Hey, Oregon went to the Rose Bowl last season and the Broncos made them look like a Pop Warner team up there. And you think Boise State had better players than the Ducks? No way in hell, folks. That’s why BSU remains one of the great stories in college football — and Peterson may be the very best football coach in the country.
Or maybe that turf is tougher to play on than you think. And if I were playing on it this week, I’d certainly be trying to prepare for the idea that it matters a lot.
The Broncos are extremely disciplined and well-coached. Making a run like Boise State’s has happened at non-BCS schools before, when a program stumbled into a situation where it got lucky, had a bunch of great recruits and kept them healthy for four years and made a push. But it hasn’t generally happened over a decade-long period.
Even talent-rich schools in the SEC, Pac-10 and Big Ten have had a problem retaining dominance over a 10-year span. What Boise State has done from a secondary level is virtually unprecedented.
But don’t expect it to last forever. That’s why I’m skeptical of them every season. And I still would have trouble ever saying they deserve to be in a national championship game — undefeated or not. They are in the unique situation of having to win one or two difficult regular-season games per season. Their conference games are usually walk overs. They’ve played well in bowl games and have also gotten a little lucky, even winning with gadget plays when a little outmanned. Hey, good for them.
But I guess I still don’t quite buy into their whole deal. And I keep waiting for them to stumble.
It’s been a long wait, though.