The Broncos defeated TCU 17-10 in the Fiesta Bowl on Monday night in a clash of unbeaten teams from non-BCS conferences. With the victory, Boise State became only the second team in the history of college football to wrap up a season with a 14-0 …
Wilson brothers experience BCS with Boise State teammatesConsidering that they're in their third year with the Boise State University football program, Powell twin brothers Matt and Dave Wilson should be getting used to this whole post-season college bowl game feeling. After all, the pair has already traveled to Hawaii and San Diego at the culmination of their two previous seasons. “That was pretty fun, because I'd always wanted to go to Hawaii and in San Diego you get to tour the aircraft carrier,” said Dave Wilson, who, like his brother Matt, just wrapped up his sophomore season of eligibility after redshirting his first year with the Broncos. “Being in Arizona though was like living a dream.”
The Broncos defeated TCU 17-10 in the Fiesta Bowl on Monday night in a clash of unbeaten teams from non-BCS conferences. With the victory, Boise State became only the second team in the history of college football to wrap up a season with a 14-0 record.
“It's pretty amazing, almost surreal,” Matt said of the program's status. “It's quite an accomplishment when you think about it.”
Neither of the team's two previous bowl appearances quite prepared the Wilsons for what to expect in Arizona.
The differences between the team's previous bowl games and an appearance in one of the game's premiere bowls was evident.
“The whole experience was great,” said Matt, a linebacker on the team. “It was like a dream come true. The gifts were awesome. We ate like kings. It was just an amazing experience.”
The gifts Matt refers to included a $400 gift card for Sony products. The brothers combined their points to purchase a PlayStation 3, leather recliner, and camera, among other things. As for the food, just how much do kings eat?
“Our team ate over 400 pounds of meat one night,” David disclosed of one of Boise State's team dinners in Arizona. “It seemed like every couple of hours down there someone had some kind of food they were serving us. We ate really well.”
The team also traveled well. After practicing in Boise until Dec. 24, when the team took a three-day holiday break, the Broncos flew to Arizona on Dec. 28 to begin their final bowl preparations.
“We had a police motorcade any time we traveled around the city, even when we were going to practice, so we didn't have to worry about traffic,” said Dave, who converted from linebacker to fullback midway through the year.
“There was a game room in the hotel with like five plasma screen TVs. It had an X-Box, a Wii, a Playstation and if there was a game you wanted, they either had it or someone it seemed would run out and get it. It definitely made it seem like all the hard work was worth it.”
There was plenty of hard work. In addition to wanting to cap an undefeated season, the Broncos also found themselves with the opportunity to exact a little revenge on the same TCU program that had beaten them in the previous year's bowl game.
“That week before the bowl game was probably the most intense week I've ever experienced,” said Matt. “We prepared so hard and wanted to win so bad. The whole team, our focus was as high as I can ever recall in all my time there.”
That hard work and preparation resulted in one of the 2010 Fiesta Bowl's signature plays. With the game deadlocked at 10-10, the Broncos threw a pass out of punt formation on fourth down, gaining almost 30 yards on the play and picking up a first down. A few plays later, Boise State scored what would turn out to be the winning touchdown.
“That was something we had ready,” Matt said of the pivotal play. “Coach told our special teams coach to have it ready. We saw on film how TCU would line up in coverage and when we motioned our protector out and they followed him, we knew it would be there.”
It was, and with it the Broncos vaulted once more into the center of the national debate on whether or not there should be a major college football playoff.
“We definitely have a chip on our shoudler,” said Dave. “Leading up to the Fiesta Bowl, you hear that Texas Christian maybe deserves a shot at the national title. Then we beat them and you turn on ESPN and hear that, well, Boise just defeated a Mountain West team so that doesn't count. I really thought TCU should have had a crack at Florida and we should have had a chance to play Cincinnati this year.”
Those selecting the pairings for the various BCS bowl games thought differently, however. Does that mean a playoff system would be better?
“I can tell you, as a player, a 14-game season is very long,” said Matt. “We miss a lot of school and it makes it tough on academics. If you go to a playoff and turn that into a 16-game schedule or something, that would make it pretty hard on the athletes. I know the fans want to see it.
“It would have been nice to play someone from one of the automatic qualifying conferences this year, but as far as I'm concerned, I'll play whoever they tell me we're playing.”
As for where they play, Dave notes that it would be fun to get to experience New Orleans, Miami or Pasadena, home to college football's other three marquee events. When reminded that next year's BCS championship game is slated for the same University of Phoenix stadium the pair just returned from, he abruptly changes his mind.
“Going back to Arizona would be neat,” he said.
“The stadium down there is just unreal,” Matt said. “You walk out and there's 73,000 fans screaming in the stands. It was amazing. It was louder than anything I've ever been at.”
For now, after a brief stay in Powell, the brothers will return to Boise for the winter semester. After some off-season conditioning work, they'll pick up spring ball in March and April and look to move up the depth chart for next fall. In Dave's case, that includes continuing his transition from the defensive to the offensive side of the ball.
“I think it's easier going that way than coming from offense and trying to pick up the defense,” he said. “Especially at fullback, there aren't quite as many things to think about on each play. You can be more of a meathead and go hit somebody.
“It's a better fit for me,” he adds with a chuckle that belies the fact that he's actually three semesters away from earning his degree in business management and will be taking graduate-level courses long before his college football career comes to a close.
For now, though, the pair is basking in the glow of an undefeated season and a recent bowl victory.
“It was incredible down there,” notes Anne Wilson, the pair's mother, who, along with the rest of the family made the trek to Arizona for the game. “You'd be walking down the street and someone would drive by and honk and yell ‘Boise State' out the window. There was so much blue and orange in that stadium, it felt like a home game.”