MYSTERIES OF 2012: HOW THE HELL BOISE STATE WON ELEVEN GAMES

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

JUST YOUR MONTHLY REMINDER THAT CHRIS PETERSEN IS A MAGICAL CREATURE

If you wonder why Chris Petersen stays in Boise, it is very simple. Chris Petersen has his hair braided by wood nymphs who wake him gently every morning, and has his coffee prepared by a bear from the Idaho woods who speaks only Italian. His lattes are art, and come with an intricately poured Bronco logo in the milk foam every single time.

Then Petersen rides his enchanted elk bull, Eduardo, to his job coaching the Boise State football team, where Petersen does what can only be described as motherfucking sorcery. It's a random note to make on a late afternoon in March, but we were sitting around waiting for a tow truck to show up and pick up our car when we thought: how many returning starters did they have, actually?

Answer: the 2012 Boise State team had six returning starters out of twenty-two spots on the depth chart, and still won ELEVEN FREAKING GAMES. Their two losses came by the same number of points as those returning starters: six points between them and Michigan State and San Diego State, the two teams that beat them in 2012.

This may mean nothing to those of you who have never ever really watched a team collapse under inexperience and youth. You can also condition it with the usual "LOL BOISE SCHEDULE," and that is totally fair insofar that they are Boise State, are a bit hamstrung by circumstance, and can't get many teams to agree to home-and-homes with them because everyone is terrified about losing to Boise State. (Cue circular logics, sneering, and more LOL BOIZEE jokes about their schedule.)

Given all that, this still stands: it is so very difficult to get eleven people to do the same thing consistently on a football field, and harder still to get twenty-two to do it in two different shifts, and infinitely more difficult to do it with a four year labor turnover cycle built into the game. Chris Petersen is that man with a very specific set of skills, and along with Nick Saban comes as close to the Bum Phillips His'n/You'n rule as anyone in football.

It's stupid to suggest Chris Petersen stays at Boise because magical creatures wait on him hand and foot. It is not, however, stupid to suggest he is one himself, and perhaps should be the subject of government investigation. The man beat an SEC team in the Georgia Dome on its own turf, coached the greatest upset in bowl history, can take a cast of infants and win eleven games, and he does this every single year in the middle of nowhere. That is both amazing coaching and outright thaumaturgy.*

*Remember that year they won nine games? We don't, because it has never happened. His worst year at Boise was 10-3 in 2007.

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