Thursday’s With Raider: The Boise Curse


Nov 23, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Boise State Broncos head coach Chris Petersen during the first half against the San Diego State Aztecs at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: This is the latest, Thursday With Raider, presented on Wednesday for your Thanksgiving pleasure.  My friend Raider has significant family in Boise and I believe he may be on to something.  Read his theory on us being cursed by Boise and making it so we can’t have nice things most of the time.

I have things on my mind that do not involve people wondering why we’ve given up on Terrelle Pryor to hitch our future to Matt McGloin.  I’d just rather not go there right now.

Quite often during this football season, I’ll read your brief thoughts at halftime on this very portion of the great series of tubes.  (Yep, I made a Ted Stevens joke.  Never not funny.)  The Utes had chances to win that game, and at some point I’ll have to ask the faithful Hoyo’s Revenge readers why Kyle relies on his defense to bail him out when, say, going for it on 4th and 2 would probably be more beneficial than punting and hoping that your D can get a stop.  But alas, as I’ve written before, you do optimism a lot better than I do it, so it’s nice to have someone who can remind me that things aren’t quite as bad as I often make them out to be.

For reasons I can’t quite comprehend, optimism in my heart and soul is often short-lived.  Especially when I get a text from my brother that reads:

“You do realize that Connor Halliday is the son of former Boise State QB Duane Halliday, right?”

Yeah.  Of course he is.  Naturally this is the reason why we’re hanging on for dear life in Pullman F-ing Washington against Mike Leach and Wazzu, aside from the fact that this team was dismantled one by one by one injury after another.  But, in an effort to make myself feel better, I pose to Ute fans at large that the Treasure Valley, for reasons only the devil knows, hexes this football program at large.

Slightly more than 15 years ago, Utah is leading Boise State in the “new” Rice-Eccles Stadium.  BSU quarterback Nate Sparks leads his team nearly the length of the field to beat the Utes and in an effort to torment the Ute football program, never plays another down of college football again.  It’s as if Sparks was sent from the inner depths of the earth’s core to win that game for Boise State, curse the Utes forever more, and then disappear to outer darkness after serving his “divine” purpose.

The debacles of 1999, 2006 and 2010 speak for themselves, but let me take this a few steps further.  Former BYU football player and now media personality Hans Olsen was on the BYU roster for the 1998 “Doink” game.  Guess where he was born?  Caldwell, Idaho, the New Jersey of Boise!  Certainly you remember the 4th quarter of the Arizona State game where one Taylor Kelly kept the Sun Devils from what very well could have been a crushing defeat and may have cost them the Pac-12 South title.  Take a wild guess where Kelly grew up?  If you guessed Boise and that he played his high school football at Eagle High School, congratulations, you are the winner!  I’m not sure what you win other than the satisfaction of knowing that you’re bolstering my theory, but at least know you won something.

Even the most prolific success of the Utes has that curse of “well, Boise State beat OU in the Fiesta Bowl that one time”.  I will grant that this may be where my theory of a curse starts to crumble, as even in an indirect sort of way, Utah did manage to get to, and win, BCS bowl games in 2004 and 2008 in spite of the curse I’ve mentioned.  But herein lies the “beauty” of it: you never know when the curse will strike or how it will strike.  How else do you think both of the Utes BCS victories are almost immediately overshadowed by the “Statue of Liberty” play to beat the Sooners and Chris Myers mother of all spoiler alerts when he mentions Ian Johnson is going to propose to his girlfriend?

During portions of the second half of that game when it seemed like Halliday kept completing big pass after big pass, that fact my brother text’d me just kept creeping into my mind. “Yeah, he’s playing what has to be the best game of his career.  Of course he does it against us.  Maybe we did something to the late Pokey Allen or we didn’t drool over the current crop of BSU football teams or we made fun of them for being Teamsters.  But it’s science!  It truly is the Curse of Boise!”

(I do feel like pointing out that if a) Pokey Allen hadn’t died of cancer in what was shaping up to be the prime of his coaching career and b) the whole Urban Meyer thing hadn’t happened, he would have coached here.  I think.)

While I don’t think this applies to basketball, as it’s typically Kentucky’s job to curse the Runnin’ Utes, you never know what sorts of shenanigans will occur in a week from now at the Arena Formerly Known as the Pavilion.  But as I stated, one never knows when the curse will strike.  It’s always sort of unexpected and it almost always boosts the ego of everyone from Melba to Meridian, Horseshoe Bend to the Swan Falls Dam.  I’m still sort of unconvinced that we ever did anything that really was worth being offended over, but I’m looking for any sort of Pedro Cerrano style voodoo to end this thing.  The rest of you in this fan base may get a little uppity and scoff at this, but believe me when I tell you…never underestimate the power of the Curse of Boise.

Remember: Were it not for two quarterbacks with Boise-area ties, we’re going bowling this year. Think about that in the offseason, folks.