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Boise State: A Historic Seven Year Run led by Chris Petersen

Chris Pederson and QB Kellen Moore

Chris Pedersen embraces star QB Kellen Moore


Boise State's New Head Coach

Chris Petersen didn’t walk into the Boise State job as an outsider, he actually coached their offense for five previous seasons under Dan Hawkins. I think it’s fair to assume that he already had a thorough understanding of Boise’s recruiting paths and the inner workings of Boise’s Athletic Department. Most coaches would love to start out in such a way. But it was much more, Petersen started out with a capable team full of stockpiled talent that he had helped to collect. This was a Boise program that had gone 53-11 in the previous 5 years (2001-2005), a span that had strengthened his stock significantly as the OC. They had already made it onto the college football radar, with their 36-3 run from 2002 to 2004. But could anyone have foreseen what was coming when Petersen took over?

"Little did we know on July 1, 1996, that BSU's departure from Division I-AA would shake things up at college football’s top level over the next quarter-century."

-Scott Slant


Such an epic season, but not in terms of their wins (there were literally no top 25 wins on their 2006 regular-season schedule). But when you deep dive, you see that they had some decent wins in that '06 schedule. Oregon State was a 10-win team and ranked 21st in the final poll. Hawaii won 11 games and was ranked 24th on the final coaches poll. Utah, San Jose State, and Nevada all had 8 wins or more. But who was paying attention? The Fiesta Bowl was definitely paying attention and the odds makers had the Sooners as a mere TD favorite…but did Oklahoma take them seriously? That upset of Big XII Champs Oklahoma to conclude the season may very well be the central conversation piece for this program from now to eternity.

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Who can forget Jared Zabransky leading the Broncos to that epic Fiesta Bowl finish? Their very first NY6 Bowl win, and the talk of the nation for a week after the game was over. Don’t let anyone underestimate what this game means to Boise State’s brand. Even 15 years after it was played, it's still their golden moment. For Petersen, 2006 and the amazing 2007 Fiesta Bowl was just the beginning. Even though there was a noticeable drop-off (10-3) in 2007, in 2008 he began a 38-2 run over the next 3 seasons (2008-2010) and another Fiesta Bowl win over #3 TCU in 2010.

Kellen Moore (QB), D.J. Harper (RB), Titus Young (WR),  Ryan Clady (OT), and Kyle Wilson (CB) are just some of the players that emerged from these Boise teams.

The Price of Winning

Folks that don’t know college football will carelessly claim that Boise didn’t play anyone in those seasons. That the 84 wins (2006-2012) mean nothing when you consider their schedules. I would totally disagree with that. Boise actually played some very good teams during that period. They played Oregon, Oregon State, Oklahoma,  Washington, TCU, Virginia Tech, Arizona State, Georgia, BYU, and Michigan State during that span. As a result of their success against the Power Five,  It became more difficult for them to schedule as their trajectory became all too apparent. It sadly became a no-win situation to schedule them, a nothing to gain, everything-to-lose situation. Their 84 wins in seven seasons had never been done before. Only Alabama and Clemson have better 7-year records since.

BREAKING: Chris Petersen is expected to be named the next head coach at Washington. He is 92-12 as head coach at Boise State. (via @schadjoe)

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 6, 2013

When Your Coach Is A Hot Commodity

Inevitably Boise’s success propelled Chris Petersen on to bigger and better things. At the end of the 2013 regular season, Washington offered him a substantial raise to leave Boise State and come to the PAC 12 to revive the once-proud Washington Husky program. He took the job and headed to Seattle before the 2013 Hawaii Bowl. At Washington, his teams earned two PAC 12 championships and a CFP #4 seed in 2016. His Washington record, though not the numbers he had a Boise State, would still be considered a success. He concluded his Washington tenure when he announced that the 2019 Las Vegas Bowl (ironically against Boise State) would be his last game with the Huskies. Petersen had a 55-26 record over his six seasons there.

Remember The Broncos

As a college football fan, my biggest fear is that the average fan will forget this incredible run. The 84 wins in 7 seasons. Kellen Moore's 50-3 starting record. How close this team actually came to being in a legitimate BCS title game discussion in 2010. If nothing else, Kellen Moore as the winningest QB in FBS history has a shot at standing for a long time, this is something I'm very happy about. Just maybe that will preserve this most incredible run and keep it in the minds of all college football fans moving forward, for as long as possible.