Know your enemy (for this week, anyway)

Don't get used to this

Boise State heads to bizarro world tomorrow night when they tussle with "first place" WAC team San José State (political correctness dictates that I must put that little swash above the 'e'). The Broncos are coming off a defense-led beatdown of Hawaii and the Spartans are coming off a defense-led beatdown of New Mexico State. Most fans, like me, know little about San José State outside of Jeff Garcia and some recent inexplicably-close games there. Needless to say, there is a lot to be learned about this week's foe (don't worry, Kellen Moore already knows their defense intimately)...so let's explore through the magic of factoids and childish jokes. For the mutual benefit of the Spartan faithful, I will let you get to know us a little bit too...so take notes.

Ten things Bronco fans might not know about San José State

10. San José State University, founded in 1862, is the oldest public university in the state of California. Dick Tomey didn't come around until 1874.

9. Since 1982, San José State's English Department has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest which rewards participants for penning the worst opening sentence to a fictional novel. The contest is named after Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, an English novelist who penned the famous intro "It was a dark and stormy night..." Rewarding intentional mediocrity...hmmm...sounds like an idea the University of Idaho could really get behind.

8. Krazy George Henderson (this guy) is a San José State alum and resident cheerleader. He is credited with inventing the audience wave. For this, Krazy George was recently inducted in my Guys who invented annoying things Hall of Fame, where he will be enshrined next to the inventors of the Macarena, the pan flute, and Richard Simmons.

7. The song Do You Know the Way to San José earned Dionne Warwick a Grammy award and was a top 10 hit in 1968. The follow-up single Do You Know the Way to Rancho Cucamonga was less well received.

6. San José State football has an all-time winning percentage of around 50%. They have won 16 conference championships since 1932, but have not won a title since 1991. The San José State Judo team, on the other hand has won 42 of 46 national championships in the sport.

5. San José State's one undefeated season in football came in 1939 under coach "Dud" DeGroot. They went 13-0 and recorded 8 shutouts. DeGroot was apparently quite a guy, he is the winningest coach in the history of the Washington Redskins franchise, won a Rugby gold medal in the 1924 Olympics, was Stanford's first All-American, held a doctorate, and was once one of the foremost ornithologists (he studied birds) and oologists (and their eggs) in the world. Though not documented, I think he also possessed heat vision and could recite pi to it's 1400th decimal.

4. Former Spartan football player Neil Parry suffered a compound fracture in a 2000 game against UTEP and had to have his right leg amputated below the knee. 3 years later, he returned to the field as a special teams player against Nevada. It is safe to say, no matter who or where you are: Neil Parry is tougher than you.

3. Former head football coach Fitz Hill, who had a very Tom Cable-y 14-33 record at the SJSU is now the president of Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock, Arkansas. This appears to be in compliance with SJSU's restraining order stipulating that he stay at least 1000 miles away from the football program at all times.

2. Current Spartan head coach Dick Tomey is vice president of the American Football Coaches Association. He is expected to move to president in 2009, but only if he can hold off fresh-faced challenger Barack Obama.

1. Tampa Bay QB Jeff Garcia spent his collegiate career at San José State. He is the second most successful ginger kid in NCAA history behind Jared Zabransky.

Ten things San José State fans might not know about Boise State (re-runs this week for close blog followers)

10. Boise State has been in existence since 1932, when it was founded by the Episcopal Church as Boise Junior College. In 1968, it achieved 4 year status and was changed to Boise College, then in 1969 changed again to Boise State College and finally became Boise State University in 1974.

9. The father of Boise State football is Lyle H. Smith. Smith coached Boise State football from 1947 to 1967, going 153-25-6 in that span. Under Smith, Boise State football went undefeated 5 times and won a national championship. Smith chose his own replacement, Tony Knap, in 1968 and served as the Athletic Director until 1981. Knap was pretty good too...he went 71-19 in his eight years with the Broncos.

8. Many think that Boise State ripped off their colors and mascot from the Denver Broncos...well it may be the other way around. Boise State's mascot and colors were picked in 1932 by student Owen Sproat and others after a basketball game. As Sproat put it:

“most of the guys rode horses — it was pretty much cattle country in those days.”
The johnny-come-lately Denver Broncos didn't come on the scene until 1960.

7. Since 1973, Boise State has won 13 conference championships including 5 straight WAC titles from 2002 to 2006. Prior to 1968, they competed in the JC ranks, and as stated before...were a dominant force at 153-25-6 and winning the JC national championship in 1958. Boise State won the 1-AA national championship in 1980 by defeating Eastern Kentucky and played in the championship again in 1994, but lost to a Jim Tressel-led Youngstown State.

6. Boise State joined the 1-A ranks in 1996...since that time, they have finished the season ranked 4 times (peaking at #5 in 2006) and won 7 conference championships.

5. Bronco Stadium's Lyle Smith Field is the nation's only non-green playing surface. "The Blue" or the "Smurf Turf" as it is affectionately known was first installed in 1986 and is currently in its 4th iteration. Contrary to popular belief...geese do not break their necks after mistaking it for a white lined lake. Jimmy Hoffa is also NOT buried under the field (as far as we know)

4. The Broncos are 62-2 at Bronco Stadium since 1999. Their last regular season loss on the blue was to Washington State in 2001.

3. Boise State currently has 11 players active on NFL rosters. Ryan Clady is the highest ever draft pick from Boise State. He was picked 12th overall in this years draft.

2. Boise State's current QB, redshirt frosh Kellen Moore, owns pretty much every high school football record in the state of Washington. Moore had 787 completions, 173 touchdowns, and over over 11,000 yards passing at Prosser High School. As a junior, he was named the Washington player of the year over Jake Locker, the current QB at UW. He emits awesomeness from every pore.

1. Chris Petersen won the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year award in 2006. In 2007, Mark Mangino of Kansas ate won the award.

Well, there you go...now we know a little about each other. Feel better?

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