Why the Boise State Football Dynasty is Officially Over
Ask someone not from Idaho what they know about the state and more than half of the answers you receive will likely include the Boise State football team and the blue turf. There is a good reason the team is what most think of and that is because they have been one of the best and most consistent programs in college football over the last 20 years. The dynasty has helped put Boise and the entire state of Idaho on the map, especially in the sports world, but the glory days are done and the dynasty is over, even if fans aren't ready to admit it.
History of the Boise State Dynasty
For 15 years, Boise State was the winningest program in college football. Since the new millennium began in 2000, Boise State has been one of the most successful and consistent programs in football, with no losing seasons in that time. The school has won 13 conference championships since 2000 alone and played in a couple of other championship games they lost. The school has finished ranked in the final polls 13 times in that span and has even had two undefeated seasons, in 2006 and 2009. The school has won multiple-digit games 17 times, with a streak of 7 straight seasons with 10 wins or more from 2006 to 2012. The school became the benchmark for any team not in a power conference and became a national brand, but those days seem to be fading away.
The dynasty truly began under coach Dirk Koetter, in 1999 when the Broncos went 10-3 and won the Big West Conference. It continued with coach Dan Hawkins, who won the Western Atlantic Conference (WAC) 4 times in five years and had 3 double-digit win seasons. It was when Chris Peterson took over in 2006 that Boise State went to uncharted territory, going undefeated and playing in the Fiesta Bowl, where they would defeat Oklahoma in one of the greatest college games ever played, and finished the season ranked 5th in the AP Poll. A few years later, in 2009, the Broncos would see their best season in modern history, when they'd go undefeated again, with another Fiesta Bowl victory, this time over TCU, and finish the season ranked 4th in both the Coaches and AP Poll.
The End of the Boise State Dynasty
Since that last undefeated season, the Broncos have continued to rally off double-digit win seasons and win conference championships, but the consistency with which it was once done has faltered. In the mid-2000s the country knew the names of Jared Zabransky, Ian Johnson, Kellen Moore, Leighton Vander Esch, Demarcus Lawrence, Titus Young, and Doug Martin. Ask most fans around the country, and they likely don't know a player on the team today. The Broncos haven't won the Mountain West since 2019. While they did go undefeated in conference play a year ago, they failed to win the conference championship, and haven't been able to win any marquee non-conference games in years. This team used to strike fear into Power 5 conference opponents, but that mystique has disappeared over the years.
This past weekend was almost a passing of the baton. As stated above, Boise State used to be the bar for smaller schools, but over the last few years that title has shifted, and Central Florida has been a team that could lay claim to it. They defeated Boise State on the blue turf and while the loss might be only 1 in the loss column, it felt more like the end of an era. The dynasty had to end at some point, and that time appears to be happening now.
The Broncos will continue to be competitive in the Mountain West and likely win conference championships moving forward, but the national attention they once had is gone, and the fear of playing them is no more. Perhaps a coach will come along that can lift the dynasty from the ashes once more, but for now, the Boise State dynasty is a thing of the past and expectations need to be lowered to appreciate where the program is today.