The Mystery Of Boise State's Blue Turf

By Derek Castle
September 01, 2011 10:43 am
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Once upon a time the Bronco's of Boise State had a green field.  In fact, they have played the majority of their football games on such.  It has been only in their recent history (1986-present) that they have played on the famous blue turf, and only with the great success of the last 10 years that anyone seemed to notice.  And I suppose that is where the latest myths have originated.

Unless you have been living in a cave or up in the hills (yeah you Arkansas fans) you probably already know what went down at the Mountain West Conference media days.  It seems the powers that be when Boise State joined the MWC wanted to make a new rule for the new kids on the block.  Utah, BYU and TCU decided they wanted no part of the Bronco's magical uniforms, so  it was decided that a condition of Boise State's entrance be that they could no longer wear their all blue uniforms on their blue field.  You would think that those three schools would have realized the magic was in the players wearing the uniforms, as all three had been beaten in the recent past on their own (green) home fields, with Utah (36-3 in 2006) and BYU (50-12 in 2003) being thoroughly embarrassed. 

But no.  They too bought into the myth.  And so Boise State's leadership hastily agreed to this silly rule, joined the MWC, and than watched as those same three schools waved goodbye and left Boise State on the Mountain West Conference's front door step, like un-wanting parents orphaning a child. 

It is not just those teams buying into this myth.  On message boards and in conversations all over the country, it is often brought up.  Boise State's all blue uniforms blend into the turf, their players are hard to see, coaches can not study film properly etc. etc.  The problem with these arguments is that they are based only on the Broncos of the past 11 years.  These arguments assume that Boise State has only been successful in recent college football history.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Boise State started playing as a Junior College in 1933.  From then until 1968, when they joined the NCAA as a Division II program they compiled a record of 199-61-9 (.757) and won a National Championship in 1958.  Needless to say these games were all played on green grass.  Since joining the NCAA in 1968 the Broncos have gone 365-145-1 (.715) winning a National Championship (played on a green field) in 1980.  So in their entire football playing history, Boise State has gone 564-206-10 (.723).  Only 107 of Boise State's 564 wins have come on a blue field.  (.189) and only since the year 2000 have the Broncos even been wearing all blue uniforms.  Another note:  in 1994 when Boise State made it to the Division 1-AA national Championship game, they played 10 home games and won them all.  They wore blue jerseys and white pants at home that season.  Not once did I ever hear that the domination by Pokey Allen's team that year was due to the field or the uniforms.   In fact it seems that the "unfair advantage" argument has only been brought up within the last five or six years, when Boise State has become a household name. 

The success of Boise State is the combination of great players, and amazing coaches - from Lyle Smith, to Pokey Allen to Chris Petersen, not the colors of the laundry covering the team.  There is only myth about the blue turf that I believe is true.  Just ask the Ducks. 

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