BY MIKE PRATER
THE IDAHO PRESS &
BLUE TURF SPORTS
When the Boise State football program had the opportunity to sign a home-and-home series with Florida State in 2013, just as the Seminoles were launching another national championship season, the Broncos didn’t flinch.
When coach Bryan Harsin and staff went to work in January, knowing the storied Seminoles were starving for a bounce-back season, no one flinched.
When the Broncos opened camp with no starting quarterback and loads of roster questions, nobody flinched.
When Boise State turned its indoor facility into a water-logged humidor, and proceeded to get teased by Florida State fans mocking Boise’s lack of humidity and the team’s cute little attempt to beat it, nobody flinched.
When a hurricane forced Boise State to ditch months of planning, and the team scrambled from Jacksonville to Tallahassee, all while dancing around lightning storms, nobody flinched.
When ESPN analyst David Pollack tweeted “… Boise State is 1-4 in their last 5 (matchups) vs Power 5 teams. A little luster lost from the glory days,’’ nobody flinched.
Not that anyone was paying attention to a TV suit.
When the game was moved from Saturday prime-time on ESPN to sleepy morning hours on ESPNews, nobody flinched.
And, once the long, long, long offseason finally ended and the unranked Broncos fell behind by 18 points because of poor execution and defensive blunders, there was definitely no flinching. Just 23 unanswered points.
Boise State beat Florida State 36-31 on Saturday — one of the biggest wins in school history — because coaches blasted a grand slam when it comes to the most important word in their profession: Preparation.
It started in January with conditioning — the biggest factor in this game — and continued into the halftime locker room, where coaching adjustments were made and player attitudes were challenged.
There was no panic.
Everybody, after that slow start, was prepared to dominate Florida State in the second half. And dominate they did. While the Seminoles battled a series of cramps.
Think about that for a minute. Boise State just physically beat the swagger out of Florida State in Tallahassee, where depression is at an all-time high this morning.
The shadows of Bobby Bowden are fading.
The coaching gallows are chasing Willie Taggart.
And Harsin has a smile wider than the path of Hurricane Dorian.
Boise State is the early talk of this season because of Harsin, who prepared his coaches and players, putting them in a position to crush obstacles and demoralize dreams.
As Pollack reminded us, Harsin had lost four of five against P5 opponents, by an average of 16 points. There has been some heat, for sure.
Now the spin changes: Harsin has won seven P5 games in five-plus seasons, and has won five straight openers, including three in the South.
Beating Troy and Louisiana is one thing.
Beating Florida State — crushing them like squeezed orange juice in the second half — sets you up for a magical season. This year, a magical season lands you in the Cotton Bowl. Not the old stadium where bowl games go to die. But to the grand postseason classic at Cowboys Stadium.
Who’s going to beat Boise State now?
It could happen. There will be more angst. But based on how Saturday ended, there’s nothing intimidating about Marshall on Friday night, or Air Force, BYU or Utah State on any night.
The Broncos have their quarterback of the future. How good was Hank Bachmeier, who suddenly has three nicknames: Hurricane Hank. Hank the Tank.
Hankster the Gangster. That’s the sign of a good quarterback. A tough quarterback. With poise, composure and 407 passing yards in his college debut.
The Broncos have a strong running game, led by Robert Mahone.
Their fumble luck appears to be strong — again.
Defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding was a disaster in the first half, a hero in the second.
Heck, the Broncos even have a kicker. Division III transfer Eric Sachse nailed all five of his field goals in a five-point game. Clutch.
Harsin doesn’t give out game balls, but if he did, he said he’d give it to Sachse.
My vote goes to coaches, all of them, who now face an even bigger challenge than jumping through hoops to beat Florida State on the road.
Living up to the hype and expectations they have suddenly created.
Mike Prater is the Idaho Press sports columnist and co-hosts Idaho Sports Talk on KTIK 93.1 FM every Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. and Bronco Game Night after every Boise State football game on KTIK and KBOI 670 AM. He can be found on Twitter @MikeFPrater and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org,