Friday, November 19, 2010

Returning the favor: Interview with a bronco (OBNUG)

How hard is it to like anything boise state? 10 out of 10 doctors say it's impossible. 

But the closest thing to an exception comes via OBNUG, the boise state-themed blog led by Kevan Lee (to which I explained our relationship in a previous blog). OBNUG produces a generous amount of boise state-related content, which is generally pretty entertaining until they get to talking Fresno State. Then the double standard kicks in. 

It has become OBNUG tradition to Q&A and blog bet opposing teams throughout the football season. We accepted the opportunity exchange opinions on our programs, but said no thanks on the blog bet (for which we have several reasons, none of which is fear of an opposing blog appearing here). 

Kevan posted my answers in his Interview with a Bulldog blog yesterday, so check that out. (We appreciate his compliment that we cover FS athletics from a smart fan's perspective.)

Today I share Kevan's answers to our set of questions. So take your preemptive does of Pepto Bismol and stomach the continued humility and thrown your way from the perspective of a boise state fan. 

The Q&A:

1. What is the perception of Fresno State athletics in boise? Perception of Fresno in general?

I don't think I would be understating myself in saying that Boise State fans do not think too highly of Fresno State football. I assume you meant football when you said athletics because, as a Bronco fan, I am not aware that any other sports exist.

For quite some time, we Bronco fans harped on the "overrated" Fresno State teams that always seemed to be ranked preseason Top 25 and favored to win the conference. Those days are gone, so I think the resentment has softened. Like I've seen you mention on your site, Fresno is not lacking talent, and Bronco fans are aware of that. So our new thing is ripping the Bulldogs for underperforming every year. And of course we can't stand Pat Hill. But I hear that neither can you.

Fresno in general gets a bad rap in Boise because of the Fresno fans. They come across as arrogant, rude, offensive, inconsiderate, and poor sports. And yes, I recognize the irony in a Boise State fan saying all those things (really though, Boise State fans come in all shapes and sizes and it just so happens that the poorly shaped and poorly sized ones make the most noise nowadays).

2. What things do you like and/or respect about Fresno State? Things you hate?

Things I like:

Recruiting and community involvement. I hear these are the only things keeping Pat Hill around, so he must be good at it. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like every year Fresno beats out USC for a high school player. Gotta respect that.
Old-school offense. I am a traditionalist, so I appreciate that Fresno hasn't completely abandoned a semi-traditional approach to offense. Yet.
Checkerboard end zones.

Things I hate:

The V on the helmets. I just don't get it. I mean, I know what it stands for, but I just don't get it.
Whining about Boise State. Seems like Fresno fans hate on our schedule, our players, our fans, our city, etc. It just gets tiring.
Fresno blowing games they should win. Sometimes it is incredibly enjoyable. Other times, it is infuriating.

3. What is the difference between Fresno State's and boise state's football programs right now?

I think the difference is in leadership. Coach Pete trumps Pat Hill a thousand times over with his management of the team, his football coaching, and his considerable god-like qualities. Boise State really hit the jackpot with Petersen. I don't think that the Bulldogs should fire Hill and go out and get a Petersen of their own because I don't think that other Petersens exist. But the Hill-Pete dynamic is going to keep the two programs apart as long as the two coaches stay at their respective schools. Now, that isn't to say that Fresno won't beat Boise ever over the next decade, but from a macro level, the two teams will remain quite different.

4. Flip-flop the successes and failures of Fresno and boise since 2001. What is a boise fan's evaluation of the broncos in the current state Fresno State is in?

If I read the question right, you want me to pretend that Boise State is Fresno State? OK. If I have to.

Fresno seems to have better inroads with nonconference scheduling, and I wouldn't mind that at all. Anyone, anywhere, anytime is really the only way that a non-BCS school can overcome its conference schedule.

Attendance seems about on par with Boise State's, although you do have us beat on stadium capacity. A 41,000-seat stadium in Boise would be sweet.

Fan support in Fresno appears, to an outsider, to be kind of depressing. You don't like your coach. You are tired of underwhelming seasons. It doesn't sound like much fun to be a Fresno fan.

Perhaps the biggest thing I wouldn't like is the athletic budget and state deficit. That would be very hard to work with.

Other than that, Fresno isn't in too bad of a place. You recruit good athletes, you play a decent schedule. The losing would get tiring, but if I get to bring Coach Pete with me, we could fix that.

5. From an opposing fan's perspective, what does Pat Hill appear to do well, and what does he appear to do poorly? If he was the boise coach, at what point, if at all, would he no longer be your coach (or would he still be), all things considered?

It's hard to tell what it would take to get a coach fired at Boise State these days. I can't remember the last one who got booted. Most seem to leave for better opportunities. I guess that the one area that would be taboo is losing fan interest. That's what happened to the men's basketball program and Greg Graham got the boot because of it. Of course, fan interest is tied to wins and losses and performing as expected, so I'd say that a decade worth of Pat Hill mediocrity would be enough to lose fans and get fired.

Like I said above, I believe Hill recruits well and has cultivated a strong tie to the community. I don't believe he coaches football well. In fact, he reminds me a little of Dan Hawkins in that regard. Hawkins was a great motivator and great recruiter, but he lacked a certain something on gameday. Fortunately for him (and for Hill), much of a college coach's job extends beyond gameday.

This next portion includes some of Kevan's questions posed to me, which subtle changes in the details for certain questions:

 6. Describe your team's season to date in 100 words or less. "Just turns me on" must be four of those words.

Hearing poll results just turns me on. Not! Boise State has done everything as expected this year - great QB play, stellar offense, dominating defense - but the overarching theme has always been the polls. It's too bad. This Bronco team may be the greatest in school history. Fans have learned (or are learning) to appreciate that and block out the rest.

7. If Fresno State could pick one player from your team to come play with them, who would it be? If you could pick one Fresno State player to go play for your team, who would it be? Explain.

I'd give Fresno Austin Pettis. Partly because I'm mad at him right now for dropping some balls, but mostly because he is an offense's best friend and someone who could keep drives alive by moving the chains and making solid catches. He's like a better version of Devon Wylie.

I'd take Ben Jacobs if I were Boise. The Broncos lost Byron Hout for the season and could use some depth at linebacker, especially a player of Jacobs' caliber.

8. Imagine for a moment that your team is ESPN's college football coverage. What part is Ron Franklin and what part is Pam Ward? (In other words, strengths and weaknesses.)

Ron Franklin: Defensive line. It is incredible.

Pam Ward: Personal foul penalties. We get a lot of them.

9. On a scale of boy bands, with O*Town being not at all and N*Sync being supremely, how confident are you that your team will win on Friday?

I have what you would call cautious optimism. Or cynical realism. Or tempered pessimism. I guess there's really no easy way to explain it. I have every belief that the Broncos will pull off the win on Friday night, considering how thoroughly they have beaten teams this year and how completely in control they were against Hawaii. In my opinion, Fresno is not as good as Hawaii. Now that doesn't mean that the Bulldogs won't play the Broncos closer than the Warriors, but it does mean I'd be shocked to see FS win outright.

Mark me down as a Backstreet Boys in confidence this week. But not the bad Backstreet Boys, the good ones. Like the "Backstreet's back" Backstreet Boys.

We thank Kevan for his contribution and for his continuous respect and support of our blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.