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The Steele Drum


September 8, 2009 1:57 AM

Boise Will Be Boys


The new college football rankings will be out sometime Tuesday, but no doubt Boise State will have moved up the polls from its preseason No. 14 spot. Good, because if nothing else was proven in its opener against Oregon on Thursday night (besides what a sharp right jab LeGarrette Blount possesses), these Broncos proved that they’re nobody’s tiny, mid-major, Cinderella outsider anymore.

No, their program can be as bloated, over-entitled, overbearing and devoid of all perspective as any member of the exclusive BCS club it’s trying to crack. Oh, yes, they’re big-time over at Boise State now.

They showed it before the national TV cameras that night, starting from the moment – just before Blount threw the infamous punch – that they threw down the first no-class card.

Just go down the list. Player (defensive end Byron Hout) singles out opponent who is walking away, shoves him, taunts him and flips the switch – check. Stadium operators replay retaliatory punch over and over again, inflaming an otherwise celebratory sellout crowd – check. Stadium security and police surround Blount and give him the “mad brute’’ treatment, as if he’s the threat to the 34,000-plus on hand instead of the other way around – check. Unruly crowd surges forward, spewing profanity and striking Blount, enraging him further – check. The obligatory chair is raised by the obligatory lout in the stands – check.

The coach (Chris Peterson) sounds notes of stern discipline toward his own player, but decides on the meekest, punishment possible – check. Player never gives his side, tells what he said to start it all, or utters a word in public about it – check. No further probing into crowd’s antics emerges – check. Program reaps benefits of landmark victory, but remains unaccountable for its part in a postgame melee that normally would tarnish that victory – check. Rising public outcry against program blissfully tuned out as team moves forward – check.

If that’s not a blueprint for a BCS program, then nothing is.

You really don’t get authentically irresponsible, bullying behavior like that from the lower divisions, that’s for sure. That’s what Boise State was that night, for sure: the bullies, the jerks, the playground punks, the folks who chewed up and spat out a pseudo-rival, then flexed and pounded their chests and dared someone to make them stop.

The last few years, to hear it told, you turned to the Boise States of the world for the antidote to that. Not any more.

And they are led by a coach who went Tom Osborne-Bobby Bowden on us: the bonehead who carelessly flouted the rules and standards of his team, his school, the sport and common sense, gets the “internal’’ punishment from Peterson. Meaning that he doesn’t even get the traditional wrist-slap of being benched for the first quarter, or first possession. He gets a firm talking-to. Ooooh, that’ll show him. Blount loses his entire senior season, and Hout gets to the training table late one day. Sounds about right.

Blount has been spraying apologies all around, and started doing so in the locker room after the punch, not sounding at all like the out-of-control lunatic he was portrayed to be in the immediate aftermath. Oregon’s first-year coach, Chris Kelly, has heard criticism of not only his coaching in that game, but in his teaching of self-control and sportsmanship beforehand. They both have paid prices in some way.

At the other program, though, no prices appear to be paid nor lessons learned. Nope, Boise State’s exercise in boorishness will actually be rewarded at some point, if they run the table and sway enough voters to their cause of kicking the BCS door open to them.

But why wait until then. On opening night, the program proved that it can bring a stank attitude, make preening fools of themselves, incite a mob and let the perpetrators walk, just like the big boys do.

Welcome to the club, Boise State.
(Photo: Associated Press)

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