Over the last year, there has been a drastic transition in talent in Boise State athletics. Since the early 2000s, Boise State has been known for its high-flying, high-scoring, trick-play-executing football team, and for the Blue Turf for even longer.
Now, Kellen Moore is gone, Boise State football hasn’t had an undefeated season since 200, and the Broncos are slipping back into the mold as just another mid-major football program. At the same time, Boise State basketball, lead by four-year head coach Leon Rice, has risen to an NCAA Tournament contender very recently.
Two years from now, history may repeat itself, and Boise State basketball will once again be 10 scholarships away form being a student club team.
Let me explain. Boise State football rose to power with the recruiting classes of 2006 and 2007, which finished with dozens of NFL prospects like Moore, George Illoka, Jeron Johnson, Billy Winn, Titus Young and Austin Pettis, to name a few. Boise State was anchored by a core of professional football players which demoralized Western Athletic Conference and Mountain West Conference opponents.
Boise State basketball is in a very similar situation. Boise State basketball had been in a lull since Coby Karl, Reggie Larry and company faced third seeded Louisville in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament until last season, when the Broncos played in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against La Salle.
Junior forward Anthony Drmic, senior guard Jeff Elorriaga, junior guard Igor Hadziomerovic and senior forward Ryan Watkins are all entering their third season as a collective group. Their play — Boise State had 21 wins last season — as a whole has positioned the Broncos as one of the most talented teams in the competitive Mountain West.
Once this group has completely graduated in two years, Boise State will be left completely stripped, with only the speedy Mikey Thompson at guard returning as a contributor from their NCAA Tournament performance in 2013.
Can we expect Rice to recruit another Aussie-laden class of three-point shooters? Probably not, leading to a recruiting class much like the one that is playing on the Blue Turf for Boise State football.
Dominance by a mid-major school is not sustainable, and Bronco Nation will find out quickly that Fiesta Bowls and NCAA Tournament bids are not going to be annual events for the blue and orange.