In 2010, Boise States final football season in the Western Athletic Conference, Nevada ruined the Broncos chances for an outright league championship and so much more with its overtime win. The Broncos were forced to share the title with Nevada and Hawaii.
Two years later, in the Broncos final season in the Mountain West, Boise State heads back to Reno needing a victory to claim a share of the conference crown with Fresno State and San Diego State.
Anytime you can get your hands on part of it, all of it, youve got to feel good about what youve done, Boise State coach Chris Petersen said.
The Mountain West championship trophy will be at Mackay Stadium on Saturday, though Commissioner Craig Thompson will be absent. San Diego State and Fresno State earned their shares of the title last week (each finished 7-1).
The league does not break regular-season ties and it would be difficult to do so anyway if the Broncos win. Boise State defeated Fresno State, Fresno State defeated San Diego State and San Diego State defeated Boise State.
If I had my preference, I wish it was wrapped up and didnt come down to this, but its not that easy, Petersen said. I think its good for the programs. I think its good for college football and I think it will be a hard-fought game.
Winning conference titles has always been a priority for the Broncos and they have collected them with considerable frequency.
Since 1999, Boise State has won eight outright and shared two conference crowns (2005, 2010). The Broncos only non-title seasons were 2001 (their first year in WAC), 2007 (when Hawaii won the WAC) and 2011 (when TCU beat Boise State at Bronco Stadium).
Boise State has won conference titles in every league it has played in Big Sky (1973-75, 1977, 1980, 1994), Big West (1999-2000) and WAC (2002-06, 2008-10).
This is the Broncos last chance to extend that streak theyre headed to the Big East next season. The league will hold a title game, so there are no more shared championships.
The whole team knows what were playing for were playing for a Mountain West championship, quarterback Joe Southwick said. Were all excited.
Theyll have to go through Nevada, fittingly, to win it. The Broncos wrapped up the 2006 WAC title and an undefeated season in Reno, setting off a wild celebration. Boise State fans rushed the field to celebrate a Fiesta Bowl berth. In 2010, the Wolf Pack pulled off an upset that both sides of the rivalry will never forget.
Saturday theyll meet again for the last time in the forseeable future with a conference title and bragging rights on the line.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444