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September 3, 2005: Boise State @ Georgia (Bruin Angle)

Lots of excitement already this off-season about one particular opening week non-conference matchups this upcoming season.  Boise State is going to be in between the Hedges in Athens on September 3.  This is a big national game.  People are talking about it.  But this game should be of interest to every Bruin football fan out there, just like we were keeping an eye on every Pitt. basketball game back during the 02-03 season.  Yes, Dan Hawkins is one of those coaches who makes perfect sense in a blue and gold polo shirt along the Rose Bowl sidelines, just like envisioning in Ben Howland in a blue tie at Pauley made total sense during his last few months at Pitt.

Lot of folks like the ones at CFR are already predicting a upset in this BSU-UGa game.  I am not sure. Athens is a tough place to play.  But it will be very interesting to see how the BSU offense performs against super athletes in Richt's program.  Here is CFR on the big game:

Similarly, Boise State is a program that does things much like the Trojans, if not better in many ways.  Their offense is out of this world and flusters its conference peers, of which many such programs are used to witnessing difficult to defend offenses.  Outpost programs sometimes are the breeding grounds of bright young coaches, so what happens out in Boise or Moscow may be reflected nationally a few years later.  That said, Boise State doesn't have the overall talent to match the Trojans, or the Bulldogs---in terms of pure talent.  But Boise is a talented team.  They have a supremely confident and accurate quarterback who has that offense down pat, and he can run a little.  They always have a thousand yard back or a handful of backs who can do just as much damage.  Their linebackers are small but fleet.  They're basically a lite beer version of USC or Tennessee or whoever.

As evidenced in the Orange Bowl and soon to be many games down the road, the high-tech stuff works, and often brilliantly against teams loaded with talent.  Enter Georgia.

In this game, Boise State is more or less going to work Georgia at times, flustering their defense and making them look stupid at times.  But this is football and the game isn't played in a vacuum.  Georgia will make its stops, their coaches are paid well because they are in fact bright coaches and can find ways to make games of ones like this.  But the advantage is all Boise's.

The real questions as to outcome are these---does Georgia have that much more talent than Boise State that it can overwhelm the visiting Broncos?  Along that same vein, is Boise State truly confident it can win this game?  Although we haven't written much about it, the concept of Belief is important for situations like these where brand name teams can sometimes intimidate a superior but lightly regarded foe.  Look at last year's LSU/Oregon State game.  Running a scheme far less sophisticated and also displaying far less confidence, the visiting Beavers let a nice lead slip away to the home Tigers, missing some crucial extra points but also blowing some key plays late in the game.  The Beavers let the crowd take control and their confidence slipped, giving the Tigers the necessary breathing room to escape.

If Boise truly believes it's the better team here, this game will be an annihilation in their favor.
Wow wow.  Now I am not sure about an "annihilation."  But I still think Georgia is going to pull this out because of the home stadium advantages they enjoy in between those hedges.  But it should be really interesting how the Broncos come out in executing their high-tech offense.

Now can you imagine changing the article up substituting Boise State with UCLA and have UCLA caliber athletes in place, operating that blitz krieg offense under Hawkins direction.  Of course you can - if you are a reality based Bruin fan, you certainly can.  This upcoming season, we are not only going to keep an eye on Hawkins and Boise State, but we will also be watching hold host of other teams including the one led by Mike Leach.  We are keeping our eyes and open for tracking the Ben Howland of our football program.