That was the theme for the recent road trip weekend. Boise State was facing one game for all the marbles at University of Nevada Reno. Outright WAC championship (fifth consecutive), undefeated regular season, and BCS bowl birth with the big exposure and big pay day. Here’s the story.
Friday, November 24th. My birthday was spent mainly driving from Boise to Reno. Roughly 7 hours of some of the most boring driving this side of the great plains. I will concede that driving across North Dakota (sorry to my relatives back there) may be, in fact, the most boring place on the planet to drive. Take a peek at a road map for the state, and you will see I-94 slicing a straight line directly across the state. Yawn… At least the road to Reno does change direction, however, you end up with about 350 miles of the exact same landscape. It does look nice enough, but when you stare at it for 14 hours in 3 days, it definitely gets a little old. You find yourself begging for some trees or something to at least break the monotony.
We arrived in Reno and check into the hotel. Since we were making this trip on the cheap, I booked us into a Super 8 motel that was about 300 yards from the stadium. Savvy planning on my part, I thought. Unfortunately, this place wasn’t exactly the Ritz. You will notice in the picture that the door is completely closed, yet there is about an 1/4 inch gap around the whole thing. Yes, we left the heat on the entire time.
After a little rest, we hit the downtown area of the “Biggest Little City in the World”. I’ve always liked casinos even though I’m not a huge gambler. Go figure. And the casinos this night were absolutely swarming with blue and orange clad fans. It was terrific. Everywhere you turned, you saw another group. I will admit though that the random “BOISE…. STATE…” chants were a little much. I’m as big a fan as you know, but even I have my limits. There was an interesting phenomenon at play here. Usually, when you’re traveling to an away game and you see someone in your colors, you usually make a comment to that person like “Go Broncos!” or something. Well, in Reno, there were SO many Bronco fans that you don’t feel the need to make those comments. It was like we were the ‘home’ team or something. The occasional Nevada fan might say something to you, but since they were outnumbered in the casinos about 200-1, there wasn’t many of them around.
After being incommunicado for the whole day on the road, I really enjoyed sitting in the sports book of the Silver Legacy to catch up on the day’s college football action… Who upset who, who was favored by what, etc. Plus, Fresno State and La. Tech were playing on TV and the announcers spent half the time talking about Saturday’s Boise State v. Reno matchup. Good times! The book had Boise State favored by only 3 points in the game. I thought about putting a bet down on the game, but I figured, I’ve already got way too much wrapped up in the outcome of this game, there is no need to add a financial aspect as well. Although, hindsight being 20/20 and all, I probably should have bet $1000 on the game, so if we won, my trip to Phoenix was paid for, and if we lose we’d stay home and play in the local MPC Computers bowl anyway and I wouldn’t have to travel with the team. Damn…
One observation of the casino scene in Reno. We were heading back to the car that was parked in the Circus Circus parking garage. First of all, I hate Circus Circus. I hate clowns and I hate the circus. But, as we were heading out at after 11pm, the sheer number of kids running around was astounding! That place was absolutely LOUSY with kids. First of all, for the life of me I can’t understand why you would ever bring your kids on a ‘vacation’ to a casino in the first place. Second, why in blue blazes are these kids still running around this ‘midway’ in Circus Circus at almost midnight? At least the actual casino floors are still kid-less sanctuaries. Just one more reason to loathe the Circus Circus.
After an exceptionally craptacular breakfast (how in the hell do you fuck up biscuits and gravy anyway?!) it was time to get into game mode. As I had told everyone, I was nervous about this game. Nevada came into this game on an absolute roll. Five wins in a row, including two 42-0 routs in a row. We were favored by a mere 3 points (or one point underdogs in the Sagarin ratings). Even Kirk Herbstriet on ESPN picked Nevada to win. Everything was piling on and I wasn’t feeling great.
It was quite a chilly morning, so we layered up and headed into the stadium. Two weeks ago when I went to purchase tickets, Boise State told me that their allotment of 5000 tickets was long gone. So, I went directly to the Wolfpack athletics website as was able to purchase tickets directly from them. As you can see, I got damn near 50 yard line seats. It is safe to say you wouldn’t be able to get tickets like that at Bronco Stadium.
Sitting in the upper deck in the sun, we QUICKLY warmed up and started stripping off layers. Eventually getting down to our shirtsleeves. Unbelievable. It was so warm, it felt like September. Just a gorgeous day. (more…)