Congratulations, Bronco Nation! Your perseverance through the Valley of Death (as Leon Rice calls it) or a .500 record (as Jay Tust calls it) has paid off with a huge win over Brady Hoke’s
Michigan Men San Diego State Aztecs. While many fanbases would have bailed at the first signs of a lackluster offensive coordinator or a less-than-stellar senior QB, you appropriately aired your grievances on Twitter, and brought about much needed change to a struggling program.
While this is a victory unto itself, now comes the hard part: how do you handle the sweet taste of victory in proper fashion? It’s a tight rope to walk: celebrating your vicarious success while also aggressively rubbing everyone else’s noses in it. Over the last 20 years, Bronco Nation was apparently not brash and braggadocious enough to merit awarding themselves a National Championship, despite multiple undefeated seasons.
Not everyone gets a second chance after 20+ years of success. Take Nebraska, for instance. It seems like they’d be willing to forgo Runza for a decade just to sniff 9-3 again. With this consideration in mind, let’s take a look at the “unprecedented success” of the UCF Knights football program. Perhaps they can provide a blueprint in these uncharted waters of almost-losing seasons to recent upswing success.
1 – REJECT GEOGRAPHICAL/CATEGORICAL NOMENCLATURE
UCF rose from the Directional Florida Pillow Bowl depths, and refused to capitulate to the outside forces that sought to categorize it as such. Rebranding as UCF and forcing the issue whenever it arose allowed them to distance themselves from the dreck of their beginnings. South Florida still languishes in irrelevance, clinging to antiquated compass points.
Similarly, Boise State has to deal with constant reminders that they are not, in fact, a state. Bronco fans need to reject these assessments and lean into the BSU Bronco name. They are not bound by state naming conventions, nor do they owe anyone an explanation or argument. Your mom’s a state.
You are what you call yourselves, unless you aren’t.
2 – BE THE CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER
If you ask Central Florida, nobody has ever respected them. Other fans are haters, the media are doubters, and ESPN has a Power 5 Agenda. The Deep State College agenda is in full swing, seeking to eliminate and minimize the success of an upstart. Even Nick Saban has adopted this mentality, calling out the Rat Poison of the media that dared to say anything about his teams.
Older Broncos might recall the incessant belittling work of Trev Alberts on ESPN, but for the most part this bandwagon has had too much hope. It’s time for Bronco Nation to embrace the hate of Dan Wolken and Brett McMurphy, and reject Pat Forde’s cushy BUS. It’s BSU against the world.
Nobody believes in them anymore.
3 – CLAIM EVERYTHING, APOLOGIZE FOR NOTHING
The quote “… nothing is given. Everything is earned” is famously attributed to LeBron James. UCF embodied this by just naming & claiming what they felt they had earned. That national title didn’t come from going 50-3 and dropping some BCS teams in Fiesta bowls on the way, they had to award that to THEMSELVES.
Waiting around for Chris Murray to name you the flagship is no way to win championships. Bronco fans need to start announcing their claims and making them repeatedly unavoidable in every available forum. 2-0 in Mountain West play is essentially flagship material at this rate.
Announce your ownership to the world.
4 – TWEET CONSTANTLY
Social media has certainly been a polarizing factor in online discourse, but UCF has wielded it like their mascot’s sword. Finding ways to insert themselves into the conversation means they’re always on the tip of the college sports world’s tongue. All press is good press, as the saying goes, and Twitter lets you press “Send” as much as you want.
Bronco Fans may not be able to reach Florida State levels of online-ness, but they can follow the UCF trajectory online. Make yourselves unignorable, insert yourselves everywhere, become the curse on the breath of r/CFB. Cell phones allow you to be anywhere, social media allows you to be EVERYWHERE.
Omnipresence is power.
5 – BECOME LEGEND
UCF managed to parlay the first four steps to rise from an 0-11 season in 2004 to a 13-0 season in 2017, an unprecedented rise in success. Their coach and quarterbacks became hot commodities on the open market, and their stadium, the “Bounce House” has regional notoriety as a sports venue.
Boise State fans cannot claim the rags-to-riches background, as they only managed 11-1 in 2004 and 11-3 in 2017. But while those are not quite the unprecedented records of success that UCF has enjoyed, recent programmatic adjustments could put the Blue Turf of Bronco Stadium in line to become a college football icon.
These Five Simple Rules for
dating my teenage daughter Achieving College Football Immortality should be a solid starting point for Bronco Nation as they attempt to replicate UCF’s G5 success on the national stage. While UCF may have established the precedent with their programmatic trajectory, Boise State fans can strive to emulate that success on the trails that were blazed by the Knights.
And remember, Fresno is not a state.