When I was doing my morning prep last night after watching Pretty Little Liars I got involved in a lengthy twitter exchange with some folks about Boise State and the recent revelation about their conference move terms. Watch the video to get filled in.
Basically as a term of entrance into the Mountain West Conference the Broncos have forfeited their right to wear the blue on blue uniforms on their blue turf.
In all of this it has become a relatively difficult discussion to have with folks because it always melts into a "they're just scared" pissing match of a conversation. The reality of this discussion as we know the facts are that Rocky Long has made it pretty clear he does not like the blue turf. That is clear, we've got it documented.
As we saw in the video we also know that the Mountain West representatives that were working to get Boise State into the league initially asked for them to dump the blue turf in favor of a standard, green playing surfact. That is clear, we've got that documented as well.
After the league asked them to change the playing surface to green and Boise State said no the conference representatives offered up the stipulation that the Broncos must wear contrasting uniforms for their home MWC contests if they wanted to enter the league. The Broncos agreed to these terms; last June.
That's all she wrote. So what was the reaction?
Now we've seen the "it is our tradition" comment bandied about by Chris Petersen as he called the terms ridiculous. Quite honestly I don't have much sympathy as Craig Thompson explained it was one of the concessions THEY made to get into the conference. The option to says no and stay in the WAC was on the table. If the playing in all blue was as strong a tradition as the actual blue turf itself then the Broncos high powers would have said take that offer and shove it, you get us as we are or you don't get us at all.
They didn't, the league move was more important than maintaining that part of their "identity." Plain and simple that's what this boils down to, they decided a transition to the Mountain West was more important, to them and their continued success, than wearing all blue on the field. It isn't about if Colorado State can wear all green on their standard green field. It isn't about if Hawaii, in the future, can wear all green on their standard green turf.
Equating the two is missing the point. This is solely about the Broncos, a conference asking for a concession for entry and the school conceding. They had a choice and they made it. They were given an ultimatum and they decided to give in. Some times you've got to give up some things to get what you want; just ask the Big XII "minnows" about where their Colorado and Nebraska buyout cash went.
As the story grows legs it gets away from that simple point and travels into the realm of posturing and speculation. "Teams blame their losses on the uniforms" or "that conference is scared."
First of all there isn't a coach or player on planet earth that has or will ever blame their Beat 'Em Down loss to Boise State on the uniforms. You don't get smoked by 30 because your team had trouble adjusting to their site lines and ball tracking in the first half of a game. To suggest that people are discounting Boise State's WAC dominance as a "uniform gimmick" is silly.
They're a damn good football team. Blue uniforms aren't why they beat Oregon or Oklahoma or Virginia Tech. No one has suggested that.
With regards to being scared, this is the line that is the most irksome. We saw the "everyone is scared of us" cause gain plenty of followers as Boise State was sent into the Fiesta Bowl to play TCU. Last year we saw the "everyone is scared to play us" movement as Boise State was shopping for games. Now the uniforms are another feather in the "everyone is scared of us" cap that Boise State wears with such tremendous zeal.
Look, coaches and players aren't losing sleep over how they're going to adjust their eye sight to the game, they're losing sleep over the maddening schemes offered up by the Broncos. Teams aren't walking in the stadium thinking "man we're going to lose because they're in all blue" on any given night. They're not wasting practice or film time trying to decipher the mystique of the blue turf.
But, but, but Oregon State painted their practice fields blue!
Yeah and every week teams across America pump crowd noise and loud music into their practice fields to simulate game conditions. Teams have silent practices to perfect silent counts so that they can get accustomed to the atmosphere. Hell teams even practiced with twelve guys in the Florida State hey-day to simulate that feeling of having more players on the field because they were the fastest thing anyone had ever seen on defense.
That's practice. It doesn't change your practice schedule, your prep work, your film study or your approach to the game. It is an attempt to simulate the in-game conditions to better prepare your team for the live game situation.
The difference with Boise State? The blue on blue and blue turf is uniquely their own. So while sure Tennessee would like to eliminate UGA or Florida crowd noise by ruling fans have to sit on their hands the fact is, in doing so they'd also be giving up one of their advantages. As for speed, you either have it or you don't.
When you get a team, one team, with a unique advantage, real or perceived, that no one else possesses it becomes easy to say "yeah, we don't like that, change it."
All they did was ask.
The Broncos could've said no.