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Wednesday, July 30, 2014         

FURTHER REVIEW


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Boise fans field dreams of blue-tiful victory

By Dave Reardon

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BOISE, Idaho » On the sunny but brisk day after the elections, an Idaho Statesman headline reminds us this is the capital city of the "nation's reddest state," and that it just got redder as the Grand Old Party had a grand old time here on Tuesday.

Things, however, will take on a much different tint as the week progresses.

Blue shirts, blue cars, blue faces and blue hairdos will flood into town as Boise State's big football game against Hawaii nears.

And you already know about the field at Bronco Stadium. To Boise State fans, it's blue-tiful. To the self-anointed college football aristocracy -- whose only blue runs through their veins -- it's a garish rug symbolic of why this team doesn't deserve national respect.

They can't stand the idea that an upstart program, which was a junior college team not too long ago, might slip through the BCS minefield and into the national championship game.

The rank-and-file Broncos fans don't seem to worry too much about this; it's out of their hands. Besides, they're too busy enjoying the wins to whine about every little hint of injustice.

THIS VIBE COMES from many sources, including a surprising one: Dilan Christensen, a young worker at the Blue & Orange Store at the Boise Town Square Mall.

This place sells all the standard gear, like caps and shirts. But there are also things like Broncos garden gnomes, which are right next to the Broncos toothbrushes. How about Broncos slippers? They've got all kinds, including those that people on this land mass call "flip-flops."

You can get almost anything you want or wouldn't want here, all emblazoned with the various Boise State logos.

And, surprisingly, you get perspective. Christensen, a 19-year-old wise way beyond his years, says he's a proud citizen of Bronco Nation and he loves BSU's consistent excellence and loyal Coach Pete.

But Christensen's not obsessed and he's not caught up with the necessity of his team scoring style points to impress pollsters and computers.

"I hope it's a close game," Christensen says. "I'm not looking for a blowout. Hopefully it's a win, but not a blowout. I think Hawaii's good. They beat Nevada, and Nevada's ranked."

In a perfect world for the Broncos fans, that's all their team would need, a win. But with the Warriors as 21-point underdogs, it will be held against Boise State by the voters if it doesn't thoroughly rough up UH.

BELIEVE IT or not, a few people who live here will be rooting for Hawaii on Saturday.

Steve Somers, a 1974 Kalani High grad who grew up in Nuuanu and lives in Boise, is not among them. But his children are.

"I grew up a Hawaii fan, but I went to Boise State," the retired travel agent says. "I can't help (being a Broncos fan), it's in my blood."

His wife, Tresa, was a track and field athlete at Boise State and that makes her a Bronco For Life.

But Steve's friend, Idaho state economist Derek Santos, has remained loyal to UH despite living in Boise following four years at Manoa and postgrad work at Washington State. The 1977 Aiea grad never stopped bleeding green.

He points out that although he was born and raised in Hawaii, he's lived in Boise longer.

"And my wife is a BSU grad, so that makes it a struggle," Santos says. "But there's support here. In 2006 when I started asking around who wanted tickets, I got requests from 25 Hawaii fans (in the area) overnight."

The friends will have to find other things to disagree about starting next season, when the Broncos and Warriors no longer play each other.

"I'm going to miss this rivalry," says Somers, the Boise State fan from Nuuanu.

"I am, too," says Santos, the Hawaii fan who's lived here for 27 years.

Reach Star-Advertiser columnist Dave Reardon at dreardon@staradvertiser.com, his "Quick Reads" blog at staradvertiser.com and twitter.com/davereardon.






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