It’s old news at this point but in 2013 and beyond (or until another Big East team jumps ship), the Cincinnati Bearcats will be facing a whole slew of new opponents in the Big East. The schedule hasn’t been drawn up yet but the conference on the football side will be twice as large with Boise State, Houston, SMU, San Diego State, and Central Florida in the mix. At this point it’s unclear which teams the Bearcats will play in 2013. Maybe all. Maybe some. But definitely not none. To get you updated on each of the schools, I’ll be writing up a little something about them beginning with the headliner of the group: Boise State.
Boise State is located in Boise, Idaho (go figure!) and is nestled beautifully next to the Rocky Mountains. But if you’re looking for it on a map, you’ll be hard pressed to find it. Heck, most of the United States probably couldn’t find the state of Idaho on a map before this movie came out. I’m talking of course about Napoleon Dynamite, duh. I mean, what other movie can you think of that’s based in Idaho? You can’t. Because there are none.
For Cincinnati fans, Boise State is waaaaay out there when it comes to traveling to a game. To my surprise, CVG actually has flights to Boise. It’s roughly a 7 hour trip and you’ll have a layover somewhere but it’s not like you’ll have to fly into an airport an hour away and drive to Boise, a la going to Morgantown for a WVU game where you have to avoid hitting burnt couches and passed out moonshiners on your way. All-in-all, outside of the travel time, roadies to Boise State would be pretty nice, especially around winter time when you can make a weekend out of it by hitting the slopes on the nearby mountains. Plus you’ll be hard pressed to find a more prestine landscape to play a football game than Boise, Idaho.
Boise State Athletics (i.e. Football)
The Broncos have been playing big-boy football for only a short time and have seen immediate success. Once a junior college, Boise State University have only been in the NCAA since 1969 as a Division II Big Sky Conference member in 1970. The Broncos burst onto the scene winning half of the conference championships in their first decade in the Big Sky. Seemingly too good for their competition, they moved up to what is now the FCS Big West Conference and subsequently the FBS WAC. Guiding them through this process were a number of couple of coaches by the names of Dirk Koetter (much like UC’s Rick Minter) and Dan Hawkins (Mark Dantonio). Hawkins left Boise State with an impressive 53 – 11 record for the seemingly greener pastures of Colorado and really stunk up the joint, going 19 – 39 in five seasons with the Buffaloes.
In stepped Chris Petersen who worked as Hawkins’ offensive coordinator. When Petersen was given the keys to the program, Boise State football took off. The Broncos continued winning WAC Championships and actually went undefeated in conference for 31 straight games before ‘shanking’ their perfect record last year against Nevada. Regardless of their record Broncos football has been consistently near the top of the BCS Standings since Petersen has been the head coach.
Maybe it has something to do with their signature blue field at Bronco Stadium. Nicknamed the ‘Smurf Turf’, it is one of the calling cards of Boise State football and even drew ire from the Mountain West Conference before BSU’s inclusion this past season. I for one love the field turf and it only adds to the aura of Bronco Stadium. Like I mentioned, the venue sports the picturesque mountains in the background but is also an extremely tough place to play. While only fitting about 33,000 in the stadium, Bronco’s fans show up early, are extremely loud, and provide a clear homefield advantage. Basically Nippert-West. Boise State seeks to add to this advantage by adding about 20,000 more seats and bringing them closer to the field by eliminating the running track that currently separates the two. Below is a picture of the renderings:
The Cincinnati-Boise State Relationship
The Bearcats and Broncos have never played each other in football. It must be a distance thing. However, Cincinnati has played Boise State in basketball. I’ve only been able to find one game of record in 2000 when Bearcats basketball was in its heyday. In case you needed any reminding, UC won the game 73 – 61 with Kenny Satterfield leading all scorers with 27 points. But unless the two play each other in out-of-conference play, that will be it on the basketball side. One of the reasons I didn’t mention Boise State basketball in the section above, other than that they are awful at it, is because the Broncos will only be playing Big East football when they join in 2013. As the Big Clusterfuck Conference gets even more spread around, Boise will play a normal football schedule with the current Big East members and stick the rest of their programs, including basketball, back in the WAC.
Overall, I’m extremely excited about bringing a perennially ranked football program into the Big East and watching the Bearcats play on the Smurf Turf.
Welcome, Boise State!
12.19.11 EDIT: Cincinnati and Boise State also played in Boise as the first half of the two team’s home-and-home agreement in 1999. The 3rd ranked Bearcats wiped the floor with the Broncos. Here’s the box score to that game.