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Fiesta Bowl: Boise State is back

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After a five-year drought from the bowl game that put this program on the map, the Broncos are back in Glendale for their favorite party. Riding an 8-game winning streak to close the season, they have the confidence to not only compete, but perhaps even steal a third Fiesta Bowl victory to make them 3-0, this time over #10 Arizona

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Chris Petersen got out just at the right time.

The days of Boise State competing with the power school are over.

All these things were said at the end of last years' disappointing 8-5 season that ironically ended with a loss to Washington, where Coach Chris Petersen went to after an illustrious stint at Boise State Just one year removed from the loss of their great coach, Boise State is doing what we have all hoped they could do and staying in the national spotlight.

BSU returns to the Fiesta Bowl where household names like Ian Johnson, Kellen Moore, Titus Young and Doug Martin stole the show and Boise State became underdog victors on the BCS stage. The first was the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, which ended in overtime and included a now infamous "Statue of Liberty" play that took BSU over Oklahoma 43-42.

In 2010 they were again the underdogs, this time against fellow non-BCS contender TCU, who many felt were robbed of an invitation to play in the national championship. As it turned out, the Broncos were the more hungry team to prove they belonged with the very best and beat TCU 17-10. This proved to all how real Boise State really was. At the start of the next season, Boise State was ranked No. 3 in the AP poll.

The Broncos would go on to put together more 10-plus win seasons and prove doubters wrong each season as they came up with wins against Georgia, Virginia Tech, Oregon (twice), TCU, Oregon State and Oklahoma. Petersen won nearly 90 percent of his games and a team in his conference (generally at least somewhat at your same level) never had a chance coming against the Broncos in the WAC and the new Mountain West.

After last year's departure of Petersen, people began to wonder if the fairy tale was over. There was talk that the divide between the power 5 and the non-power conferences was just too big to overcome with the introduction of the Playoff. There may be a lot of truth to that. But after a 3-2 start following their disappointing 2013 season, the Broncos mustered the power to run off 8 straight, re-claim the Mountain West title by destroying Utah St and Fresno St, and even find themselves right where they were five years ago in the Fiesta Bowl.

Sure, it's not a BCS bowl. They are not ranked in the Top 10. They didn't finish undefeated. But they did prove that they are back and whoever is coaching them, Harsin is the third coach in their dominant era, they are the established kings of the non-power conference world. They will remain the biggest of the little guys, and when they get their chance, no team in the world is as good at playing the part of David when they get to face Goliath.