Blog Entry

MWC forbids Boise from all-blue look at home

Posted on: July 27, 2011 10:53 am
Edited on: August 4, 2011 12:18 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When San Diego State head coach Rocky Long called the combination of Boise State's home Smurf Turf and their all-blue uniforms "unfair" this past April, we applauded his candor but also assumed he was giving voice to run-of-the-mill behind-the-scenes sour grapes. If Boise hadn't been so good, and their opponents on the blue turf hadn't lost so many times, no one would care about the color of the field or uniforms, right?

Maybe not. But as it turns out, Long is far from the only coach to believe the Broncos' home color-coordination gives them an unfair advantage. In fact, so many of the coaches in Boise's new Mountain West Conference home complained that the league prohibited the Broncos from wearing all-blue uniforms in their conference home games as a prerequisite for their entry into the league.

While the Bronco administration had little choice but to sign off on the agreement (what, they were going to stay in the WAC over their uniforms?), you couldn't have expected the MWC's plan to go over well in Boise. And it hasn't, with even usually soft-spoken head coach Chris Petersen railing against the decision at MWC Media Days Tuesday:
“I thought it was ridiculous,” Petersen said of his reaction. “… That’s our colors. That’s who we are. That’s who our fans have wanted us to be since I’ve been at Boise State. That’s what it’s been through and through.”

The MWC's explanation?

Said commissioner Craig Thompson: “What we had heard from our coaches is ‘a competitive advantage.’ It’s as simple as that.”
Again: color us skeptical the Broncos' "competitive advantage" in Boise has anywhere near as much to do with the field or the uniforms as the long travel, players like Kellen Moore, and coaches like Petersen. And we're particularly skeptical the coaches' gripes are based in legitimate competition issues -- rather than a conference-wide sort of rookie hazing -- when we read the following:
One complaint from coaches is that it’s difficult to watch video of the Broncos’ home games. Petersen said that’s true, but shouldn’t be an issue as schools switch to high definition.
It's a little more difficult to watch film of their games, so you're going to tell the Broncos what uniforms they can and can't wear at their own stadium? Really?

Really. As a neutral viewer, we shouldn't complain; the all-blue look on the blue turf does take a few series' of visual adjustment (even in HD), and monochrome uniforms in bright colors aren't exactly the height of football fashion no matter the color of the field. But quirky home-field advantages have always been a part of college football, and this one seems even more quirky and innocuous than most.

So: we anxiously await confirmation from the MWC that as part of their invitations to join, Hawaii will be playing their home games in California, Nevada will be playing theirs at sea level (and only in September and October, what with those chilly November/December temperatures in Reno), and at theirs Fresno State will force Pat Hill to coach clean-shaven.


Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2011 11:48 am

MWC forbids Boise from all-blue look at home

does it really matter?    Maybe the New York Jets and Michigan State Spartans should change their team colors so they don't blend in too well with the grass field...

Since: Mar 28, 2007
Posted on: July 27, 2011 11:45 am

MWC forbids Boise from all-blue look at home

Have you ever played football against them on that field? I have. The players are in 3D and do not lay on the field. There is no advantage on field. Do Marshall and Michigan State have an unfair advantage?

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: July 27, 2011 11:42 am

MWC forbids Boise from all-blue look at home

Boise State wouldn't be allowed to have the blue field in any major conference.  Can you imagine Tennessee playing on an orange field, Wisconsin playing on a bright red field or Notre Dame playing on a gold field?

Since: Sep 17, 2009
Posted on: July 27, 2011 11:25 am

MWC forbids Boise from all-blue look at home

I totally agree with the MWC decision.  Playing on the blue turf is difficult and then adding the fact that the home team is wearing the same colored blue uniforms makes it even more difficult.  Watching film of teams playing on this turf is even harder.  Coach Peterson's complaint is that it is who they are and he is correct. 

They have gone down this path in order to provide some advantage for the home team, thus help in building a winning program.  Boise State has become competitive on a national level, but only after several years of using the smurf turf to their advantage at home in order to bring in better players.

What that means today is that the gimmick is providing a competitive advantage to Boise State.  What if Oregon were to play on a field the color of their day-glo yellow jerseys?  How difficult would it be to follow LaMichael James in an all yellow uniform on a yellow field?  What if Nebraska or Wisconsin in their bright red colors would play on a red field with all red uniforms?  I think any sensible person would see the advantage that this provides.

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