"I...! I believe...! I believe that...! I believe that we...!"
We chant it, we sing it, sometimes we pray it. Today, I mean it.
There are some of us who don't, and who can blame them? We're going up against the best school that the Group of Five conferences have to offer. Boise State is, as a program, head and shoulders above every other G5 school; Utah and TCU were on par, but both were absorbed into power conferences in recent years. The Broncos are the only ones left of the elite group of underdogs, the BCS Busters who actually busted the BCS. You'd have to be an upper-tier SEC team to feel confident that your team would demolish the Broncs, and that confidence would be a tinged with a little bit of doubt.
I'm certainly worried as well, given that this year's flavor of Bronco football is living up to the hype (aside from a disastrous game against BYU with a now-out-of-commission quarterback) that they always seem to inspire. They've won five of six games, and the last four have been by an average score of 51-6. They've shut out two opponents. Their running back is barely in 2nd place for the highest scoring running back in the country. Their new quarterback is on pace to become the next Joe Montana.
So why, then, do I have this strange and unreasonable idea? Why do I believe?
I'll start with the most logical reasons. First, I believe the Broncos' offensive stats, particularly those of their protégé quarterback, are highly inflated; their last four games have been against cupcake defenses. Idaho State is an FCS school; Virginia is ranged 109th in scoring defense, 115th in passing scoring defense, and 100th in total defense; Hawaii is 100th in scoring defense, 52nd in passing scoring defense, and 103rd in total defense; and Colorado State is 81st in scoring defense, 65th in passing scoring defense, and 81st in total defense. Not exactly powerhouses that they put up all those points up against.
Before I go to my second point, I'll answer the cries of party foul before they're called. Yes, I do know that USU's combination of Colorado State and Fresno State is basically the same thing in terms of getting big points against bad defenses. I'm just saying I'm not buying the argument that Boise's offense is the best thing since pumpkin chocolate chip bread (which is incredible, fyi) based on exploiting mediocre teams for big games.
Second, I believe the Broncos' defensive stats are also highly inflated. Their first game was against Washington. Boise fans will be quick to point out that they held the Huskies to 13 points, whereas USU allowed 31 points to the same team. The flaw in the argument, however, is that Boise played them in the first game of the season, where Washington was playing a true freshman quarterback in his first FBS game ever, on the road in very hostile territory. The Aggies, on the other hand, got a more self-assured version of the young QB, playing in front of his home crowd after getting a couple games under his belt. The other issue was that the Aggie offense was performing horribly, which allowed short fields and horrible T.O.P. differentials, leaving the USU defense on the field far more often than their Boise counterparts.
Their next game was against BYU, and we all know what happened there. After that, we get back to the cupcake squads. Idaho State: FCS. Virginia: 106th in scoring offense, 120th in rushing offense, 47th in passing offense, and 100th in total offense. Hawaii: 128th (aka worst in the country) in scoring offense, 126th in rushing offense, 103rd in passing offense, and 128th in total offense. Last, Colorado State: 74th in scoring offense, 76th in rushing offense, 48th in passing offense, and 59th in total offense. Not exactly offensive juggernauts.
Third, the Aggies have been playing with renewed vision since Kent Myers took over for injured local war hero Chuckie Keeton. They've been playing like a team that actually sees themselves winning games, and winning titles. They've had several players come back from suspension and injury, and the team looks like a completely different team.
Of course, at this point we'll need to take a quick break to allow the Bronco faithful to enter and say, "You can't have it both ways! If the Broncos aren't playing with vision, neither are the Aggies! So there!" Thank you, dear friends, for pointing this out. Unfortunately, I never said the Broncos weren't playing with vision; I said their stats are inflated. I think the Aggies' stats are inflated as well. The point is, we don't really know yet where either of these teams stands yet. They haven't played anyone that was truly a test since they both made drastic roster changes in prominent positions. And without having a real measuring stick, we don't know what the real teams look like. All we know is that both teams have caught fire and are heading into tonight's game with momentum and passion.
Which brings me to point number four, which isn't rooted in logic, but in faith. The Aggies have made a habit of doing things that they are told shouldn't be possible: putting pro-bowl caliber players in the NFL (because players recruited to USU aren't talented enough... if they didn't have four or five stars next to their name coming out of high school, they're just not that good a prospect!), beating a PAC 12, power conference big brother Utah team with Star Lotulelei (he's too good, they won't be able to contain him AND all the other talent around him!), beating an undefeated, ranked, independent, better-by-birthright BYU team on the road (they hadn't won there in over 35 years, there was no way it would happen against that BYU team!), winning three consecutive bowl games (let alone getting to them), and on and on.
This is the winningest team in school history, and they've won in spite of injuries, in spite of suspensions and dismissals, in spite of coaching changes, naysayers, hell or high water. They've consistently come up short against Boise State, but it's only a matter of time. Whether it's this year or next, or the year after, they will eventually overcome and break down the barriers, and as for me, I don't see any reason why this should be the year to do it. Yes, I believe that we will win. Why? Because I'm an Aggie.