Boise State Poised To Extend FBS-Best Home Dominance
By Ken Pomponio
On Dec. 28, 2005, a Matt Ryan-quarterbacked Boston College squad pulled out a 27-21 win in the MPC Computers Bowl.
Nearly six years later, on Nov. 12, 2011, Texas Christian escaped with a 36-35 triumph.
Then, Nov. 3, San Diego State prevailed in a 21-19 stunner.
But that’s it — the complete list. Boise State has a scant three losses by a combined nine points in 64 home games for Boise State in the last 10 seasons.
Not surprisingly, that 61-3 mark (a .953 winning percentage) is the best home record in the FBS ranks during the last decade. Only Oklahoma (58-4, .935), Ohio State (65-7, .903) and LSU (63-8, .887) are within semi-audible shouting distance.
The average score in those 64 Boise home games: BSU 43, No-Hope Foes 15.
And the impressive stats and winning percentages just keep rolling from there.
Boise State is 38-2 in conference contests played on Bronco Stadium’s famed blue turf since the start of the 2003 season — including a 32-0 mark in the Western Athletic Conference — and 23-1 in all other games, with the only loss coming in the bowl contest.
Of course in running up the FBS’ best record (117-14, .893) during that span, BSU nearly has been as formidable away from home, posting a 56-11 mark in road/neutral-site games.
And, by that measure, the point can be made that despite the gaudy, near-perfect home record, playing in its friendly confines is actually less of an advantage to Boise State than it is for almost any one of the 11 other MWC programs.
To illustrate, here are the home and road/neutral site records for MWC programs from 2003-12, ranked by home winning percentage:
- Boise State – H: 61-3, .953; R/N: 56-11, .836
- Hawaii – H: 55-21, .724; R/N: 22-34, .393
- Nevada – H: 44-17, .721; R/N: 32-35, .478
- Fresno State – H: 41-17, .707; R/N: 34-37, .479
- Air Force – H: 40-21, .656; R/N: 27-36, .429
- San Diego State – H: 36-27, .571; R/N: 18-41, .305
- San Jose State – H: 31-25, .554; R/N: 16-48, .250
- Utah State – H: 27-25, .519; R/N: 14-54, .206
- Wyoming – H: 31-29, .517; R/N: 21-40, .344
- Colorado State – H: 28-29, .491; R/N: 16-48, .250
- New Mexico – H: 27-35, .435; R/N: 20-41, .328
- UNLV – H: 22-38, .367; R/N: 8-52, .133
Then, after subtracting the road winning percentage from the home success rate to determine the largest discrepancies, we find BSU ranked 11th among the 12 MWC teams.
See for yourself:
- Hawaii: + .331
- Utah State: + .313
- San Jose State: + .304
- San Diego State: + .266
- Nevada: + .24
- CSU: + .241
- UNLV: + .234
- Fresno State: + .228
- Air Force: + .227
- Wyoming: + .173
- Boise State: + .117
- New Mexico: + .107
Now does that mean MWC rivals were hoping for 2013 road dates in Boise rather than trips to Honolulu, Las Vegas or Fort Collins?
Uh, not quite.
It just means the Rainbow Warriors, Rebels, Rams and seven other MWC programs receive a bigger boost playing at home than do the Broncos, who are a force where ever they take the field.
In any case, the fact stands that winning in Bronco Stadium is as close to a Mission Impossible as there is for a visiting team in college football.
Is it the NCAA-approved optical nightmare of facing the blue-uniformed Broncos on the blue AstroPlay turf?
Is it the raucous, can’t-be-only-35,000 fans which fill Bronco Stadium, knowing their team is going to win?
Or is it the simple fact that beating any national powerhouse — a powerhouse which has featured the likes of Kellen Moore, Doug Martin and Ryan Clady of late — on its home turf essentially amounts to a no-win situation?
Whatever the explanation, Boise’s massive home-field edge gives it an automatic leg up in the race to the top of the Mountain West Conference. And that’s more important as ever this season with the conference division winner ranked highest in the BCS standings earning the right to host the inaugural MWC Championship Game.
Don’t tell me West Division travel secretaries haven’t already begun pricing early-December trips to western Idaho.
BSU has six home games this year, hosting FCS Tennessee-Martin, Air Force, Southern Miss, Nevada, Wyoming and New Mexico. Those six programs own an all-time record of 1-14 in Boise, with Nevada posting the lone win, 56-42, in a 1997 WAC game.
Will any of the six manage to break through in Boise this fall?
You can calculate those odds, but the odds are Boise State’s impressive run of home dominance will add a 2013 milepost.