If Idahoans were concerned that Fox broadcasters might do something embarrassing in front of Boise State's largest-ever television audience, well, um ... sure, they focused on the Smurf turf too much during pre-game coverage of the Fiesta Bowl on Monday night.
But Fox, during the nationally televised Fiesta Bowl between BSU and Oklahoma, also made Boise, Idaho, out to be a desirable place.
The in-game commentators often seemed ready to take seats next to Paul J. Schneider in the Bronco Homer Hall of Fame. And, best of all for Boise State karma, Fox used an on-screen graphics trick to transform the University of Phoenix Stadium turf from green to blue for a few moments before kickoff.
"This is fun stuff — let's be honest about it," play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman said early in the evening, summing up both the game and Fox's attitude about "BCS Bowl Bash" coverage.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Idaho Statesman
The half-hour pregame — spearheaded by Chris Rose, Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson (whose comment about a physical "mismatch" was the night's glaring miss) — included footage of fans interviewed in Downtown Boise and a brief shot of an Idaho fisherman.
As The Pretenders' tune "Talk of the Town" played, Broncos head coach Chris Petersen gave Boise the sort of on-camera love that money can't buy.
"It's just a fabulous place to raise your family, and a great place to go watch football," said Petersen, who was shown exiting Goldy's Breakfast Bistro. "It's a great time to be a Bronco!"
The game crew — Brennaman, Charles Davis and Barry Alvarez — treated Boise State as a long shot, but with respect.
Oklahoma fans had to cringe in the first half when Brennaman chided, "For those of you just tuning in wondering how big is Oklahoma winning? Well, guess what! They ain't!"
By the fourth quarter, the bandwagon was plowing at full speed.
"For those of us that asked the question, ‘Can (Boise State) run with the big dogs?' They are running — and perhaps running away — from the big dogs," Brennaman said.
After Boise State scored to tie the game at the end of regulation, Davis couldn't resist handing out a beatdown.
"Our colleague, Jimmy Johnson, working the show with us? How about those Broncos!" Davis teased.
After the Broncos beat Oklahoma in the first overtime, sideline announcer Chris Myers started an interview with Zabransky by saying:
"One of the greatest college football games we've ever seen ...''
Michael Deeds is an entertainment and music critic for the Statesman.