Kill the Smurfs: South Park Explains Why I Hate Boise State

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Nevada fans hated Boise State long before it became fashionable – and for different reasons than the BCS elitists. As our annual Thanksgiving showdown approaches, South Park provides unwitting insight into what animates college football’s obscurest rivalry.

by Scott Daniel // November 19, 2010

I will never shake the memory of the first time I saw it in person: October 29, 1988, three months shy of my seventh birthday. It was just as breathtaking and bewildering then as it is now. Dad pulled me by the hand up the steps to our seats in the upper deck on the western sideline; Mom followed a few paces behind. Every so often, I swiveled my head to survey the ground in puzzlement.

“Dad?” I asked. “Why is the football field blue?”

Dad shook his head, avoiding eye contact with the orange-clad hometown fans. “I have no idea, Scott,” he breathed as he pulled me further. “I have no idea.”

We still don’t. If I could posit the question again today, I would ask, “Why the hell is the field blue?” But that’s just 22 years of spite talking. That fateful Saturday evening in the capital of the Gem State, with the field glistening in the lights as no field should, I learned to hate the Boise State Broncos as I watched them deal my beloved Nevada Wolf Pack a 40-28 loss.

That animosity has run deep in Reno and Boise since the 1970s. The Broncos’ recent national success has only intensified the hostility from our side. I have long grasped at straws to explain this pathology in my own words to college football elitists.

So I’ve decided to let Eric Cartman and his friends explain.

Reason #1: That God-Awful Smurf Turf

In Episode 1313, “Dances with Smurfs,” Cartman takes over as the reader of the South Park Elementary morning announcements. He quickly turns this otherwise mundane undertaking into a full-blown Fox-style “news” show, in the mode of Glenn Beck. In one segment, he accuses the student body president, Wendy Testaberger, of “killing Smurfs” in order to steal their Smurfberries. Cartman even produces a forged video tape of “Wendy” (Cartman in disguise) plowing through Smurf Village with a team of bulldozers. The whole exercise is designed to elicit sympathy for the Smurfs and anger toward Wendy.

I’m with Wendy. Kill the Smurfs, and their Turf.

Don’t feel bad if you thought this was an Olympic swimming pool.

Boise State first installed the blue turf in 1986, when then-athletic director Gene Blaymeier had the idea that they should paint a portrait of the ocean on a football field. It has been an eyesore ever since. Hell, even Boise fans themselves originally hated “Lake Blaymeier”. Like the French who originally despised the Eiffel Tower, however, the Broncs warmed to it and now fully embrace it.

And for good reason: it’s incredibly disorienting to opposing players and fans alike. Since 1999, Boise is 75-2 at home. Read that again: 75 wins, 2 losses, without a single loss in the last sixty regular season home games. Granted, you don’t field a .974 home winning percentage without tremendous talent. Boise State is a good football program. But don’t tell me that having all-blue uniforms on matching blue turf doesn’t give Boise an advantage that tacks on a few extra points every game to marginally squeeze wins out of losses. I don’t need stats or even anecdotes for that. That’s common sense.

Come down off your high Bronco and return to your green roots, Boise, and remove all doubts of your superiority. The grass really is greener on this side of the fence. Kill the Smurf Turf.

Reason #2: We’ve Got Business to Take Care Of

In Episode 810, “Pre-School,” Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman fall into panic mode when they learn that neighborhood badass Trent Boyett has been released from juvenile hall. In pre-school, the boys convinced Trent to help them start a fire on the carpet, then framed him for the whole job when their teacher burst into flames. Trent did five years of hard time for their sins. Upon his Raising Arizona-style exit from incarceration, a guard asks Trent about his next move. Armed with a switch blade in his pocket and daggers in his eyes, Trent replies in a deep raspy voice: “I got business to take care of.”

So do we. The Pack has business to take care of.

Like Trent and the boys, Nevada and Boise have a history. Once upon a time, we were equals, two state schools in medium-sized cities with similarly loyal fan bases. The rivalry was a ping-pong match. In 1990, we avenged our only regular season loss with a thrilling 59-52 triple-overtime win in the I-AA semifinals. In 1994, Boise used that infamous hook-and-lateral to drive a stake into our hearts.

In the 1990s, Nevada was more than a few steps ahead of Boise State. We were the first to jump to Division I-A, and we were the first invited to the WAC. In fact, we welcomed Boise State to the Big Leagues with three consecutive drubbings from 1996 to 1998 (66-28, 56-42 and 52-24, respectively).

Then, in 1999, the wheels fell off, and we haven’t beaten Boise State once in the post-Monica Lewinsky era. The rising program that Chris Ault spent two decades building from scratch forgot how to recruit real athletes, and the once most-potent offense in the nation forgot how to throw the ball downfield. Like Trent Boyett, we spent five seasons in sub-.500 prison (including a miserable 2-10 campaign in 2000) before Ault re-took the reins for his third stint as head coach.

By that time, it was too late. Boise had begun its meteoric rise, rattling off 10-win seasons, conference titles and bowl victories. All true Nevada fans watched the 2007 Fiesta Bowl with medicine balls in our guts. While part of us begrudgingly admired our evil twin brothers for their thrilling upset of Oklahoma, a greater part of us strained not to punch the wall in anguish. One cry echoed throughout the Truckee Meadows that New Year’s night: “That should have been us!”

It should have been us, damn it.

Reason #3: Anything to Wipe That Smug Look Off Your Face

In Episode 1002, “Smug Alert,” Kyle’s family moves from South Park to San Francisco out of a sense of galling superiority. It seems that the redneck denizens of South Park aren’t progressive enough to drive hybrid cars. Out of desperation, Stan attempts to get his best friend back by recording a song successfully convincing the whole town to start driving hybrids.

Consequently, smog levels go down but, unbeknownst to Stan, “smug” levels jump through the roof. The town’s self-righteousness combines with similar clouds of hubris, including George Clooney’s Oscar acceptance speech, to form a perfect storm of “smug” that wipes out entire cities and literally sends San Francisco into another dimension.

This must be the dimension where Boise, Idaho is now located.

Evidently, one can travel to this alternate dimension through the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The day after Boise State’s first Fiesta Bowl win, I was scheduled to fly back home to Washington, D.C. At a bar in the terminal, I spotted two Boise State fans doing what Boise State fans do – drinking at 8 o’clock in the morning.

Now, I have to say I was a little wary. My previous run-in with live Broncos had been at the 2005 WAC Basketball Tournament, with mixed results. One of my friends had somehow convinced a Boise cheerleader to give him her number. Next thing you know, this (actually) happens:

  1. I get pulled out of bed at 1 a.m. to go bowling with the Boise State cheerleaders.
  2. The Boise State female cheerleaders, with one male cheerleader chaperone, wind up at my house near campus.
  3. Somebody makes out with somebody else and the male cheerleader doesn’t like it.
  4. The male cheerleader, whose female cheerleader partner turns out to be one of the make-out participants, makes a reasonable decision to drink half of my booze.
  5. The male cheerleader screams, “I love her! She can’t kiss a Nevada student!”
  6. We kick him out of the house; he lays down on the lawn…in his Boise State cheerleader outfit.
  7. Another friend opens the door for fresh air, and the male cheerleader greets him with a flying fist to the eye socket.
  8. We manage to restrain said male cheerleader while the female cheerleaders ice our friend’s eye.
  9. We load said male cheerleader into the back of a pick-up truck to transport him, under heavy guard, back to the cheap motel from whence he came.
  10. Boise State beats us on a last-second tip-in the following night, and the damn cheerleaders won’t let us hear the end of it. I’m pretty sure the cheerleader below is one of them.

These are all historical facts. The recipient of the punch reads this blog.

I unfairly allowed that event to creep into the back of my mind as I saddled up to the bar in my Nevada long-sleeve. I congratulated the two fans on their victory. They thanked me and informed me that they had attended and were flying home from Phoenix. Resisting the urge to ask why Boise did not have a direct flight to regionally important Phoenix, I continued to break down the game with them.

Finally, one of these fans turned to me and said, “Hey, yeah, Nevada, you all played in the bowl game in Boise, didn’t ya?”

We had indeed. We lost to the Miami Hurricanes in the MPC Computers Bowl, 21-20. Yet another defeat on the blue turf.

“A friend of mine went to that game,” he said with a borderline dismissive wave of the hand. “You guys have a decent team.”

The way he said it was so smug. So arrogant. So condescending. And in Reno, for God’s sake! Within minutes, I found a way to exit the conversation. As I hauled my carry-on toward the United gate, I thought briefly about switching flights. Between the male cheerleader and the obnoxious fan, I whispered to God that I thought I had enough cause to make a visit to the BSU campus and set it ablaze.

Reason #4: We Grow Tired of Losing to You, Boise State

In Episode 1008, “Make Love Not Warcraft,” the boys encounter an online entity so skilled that it can wipe out any character in the World of Warcraft. It turns out that it’s just some loser who’s been playing the game every day for a year-and-a-half. All the same, this character repeatedly kills the boys in spite of their most valiant attempts to slay him. At one point, they finally decide to quit and play basketball instead.

Quit and play basketball instead. Awfully tempting for a school with a Sweet 16 appearance and six NBA Draft selections since 2004.

But Cartman tells them to press on. To not give up on the World of Warcraft. To be vigilant. Convinced, the boys return to their computers and train, accumulating more points, more fat and more acne with every keystroke as Paul Stanley’s “Live to Win” electrifies the montage.

Live to win, ’til ya die. ‘Til the light dies in your eyes.

Hell, yes. That’s exactly what we’ll do. BCS elitists have complained that Virginia Tech was the only tough game on Boise State’s schedule. They have overlooked the 9-1, 18th-ranked Wolf Pack. Featuring the first collegiate quarterback ever to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in three different seasons. Featuring the speedy outside linebacker who runs the 40 in 4.08 flat. Featuring the Hall of Fame head coach who invented the jailbreak middle screen and the Pistol formation.

Prepare to be Kaep-sized, Boise!

Dear Broncos, it’s all going down at Mackay Stadium, the same house of horrors where, once upon a time, legions of warriors clad in Silver & Blue once regularly kicked your asses up and down the field. By the way, that field, like 118 others in the Football Bowl Subdivision, is green.

One more game for both of us, Broncos. You take care of Fresno State tonight while we dismantle New Mexico State tomorrow. Then it’s showtime, and we’re not going to let you grab that bag of Tostitos without a fight.

Kill the Smurfs. Cue fight song.

Hail to our sturdy men, loyal and true
March, march on down the field O silver and blue!
We’ll give a long cheer for Nevada’s men
See them break through again for our own U of N
To vic-to-ry!
N! E! V! A! D! A! You say! NEVADA!

It’s 2010.

UPDATE, 2:13 a.m. EST, Nov. 27, 2010: In overtime, Nevada 34, Boise State 31. Smurfs killed. There is a God. Amen.

Photo credits: Life Magazine, South Park Studios, Scott Wykoff at WBAL Radio, University of Nevada Athletic Department, AllGraphics Online, Rock M Nation, SportsBlink

Copyright 2010, Scott Daniel. All rights reserved.

Further Reading for Nevada Fans and Boise Haters alike…


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  1. #1 by mike daniel on November 19, 2010 - 9:40 am

    I will forward this to all my Nevada friends in hopes that we can spread the word about the evil blue empire!! Hail to victory, and as always great reading. Really love the South Park spin as you wove it in well…..

    • #2 by Scott Daniel on November 20, 2010 - 7:42 am

      The South Park spin is really what made this entry worthwhile…otherwise, I’d have been writing another rant.

  2. #3 by Ryan McConnell on November 19, 2010 - 11:32 am

    While I can say from first hand experience that playing on the blue turf is not disorienting, even when playing a team with the same color (the same argument can be made for the Oregon Ducks and their green uniforms), I like this article and will re-post it. I hope to get a reaction from my friends in Boise.

    • #4 by Scott Daniel on November 19, 2010 - 12:15 pm

      Very true, Boise native, very true. Although I will say that, generally speaking, the green on green doesn’t seem like as much of a factor because players are used to green grass. Also…as a Boise native, haven’t you gotten used to watching games on blue turf? What about an opposing player who has only seen it on TV?

      • #5 by Ryan McConnell on November 20, 2010 - 12:21 am

        True, I may have gotten more of a taste of it from viewing local games on TV. I think I really only went to one BSU game live though, if my memory serves me correctly.
        Either way, that was my perception from playing on it, others may feel differently.

  3. #6 by Will Hull, MPA on November 19, 2010 - 2:49 pm

    Great work, Scott.

    • #7 by Scott Daniel on November 20, 2010 - 7:43 am

      Thanks, Will. If I could make you a platinum member or something like that, I would. Maybe a discount at IHOP?

  4. #8 by boblystone on November 19, 2010 - 8:56 pm

    Another great article. I feel the same nostalgic childhood-rooted vitriol and hatred for the Detroit Red Wings and New York Islanders.

    • #9 by Scott Daniel on November 19, 2010 - 9:22 pm

      Much appreciation…I also appreciate that you said “another” great article, implying that you have read others. I’m going to use you as a reference the next time any of my friends ask me who, exactly, reads this drivel.

  5. #10 by SeaMac on November 20, 2010 - 4:13 am

    Using South Park to mock Boise State is pure genius. It reminds me of the clouded words that I once spoke late one night while waiting for the Monorail in Las Vegas to all who would listen: “F–k Vegas, go to Reno.” Why did I speak these words? It is a simple answer: Vegas is fake, while Reno is real. I would explain this more, but the pressing matter at hand is trashing on the Broncos. Just like Vegas, Boise State is fake. From their smug attitudes to their stupid blue turf. I hate Boise State. The Wolf Pack of Nevada, however, are real. Will Nevada upset Boise State? That is yet to be determined, but a swelling of anti-Bronco sentiment on the Internet can’t hurt our cause. I call upon all of those who truly hate the Broncos to let your voice be heard when the Blue Demons enter Mackay Stadium. Boise State’s reign will soon end, and it was not short enough. Let the Nevada Wolf Pack ascend to their rightful place above Boise State in the college football universe. Let our eyes be cleansed from the disgrace that is the Boise State Broncos!

    • #11 by Scott Daniel on November 20, 2010 - 7:45 am

      I hate to say it, but Boise’s reign as a top college football program has just begun. That’s okay, though. As long as we join them and start re-paying all those painful 56-3 losses in the Tisdel/Tormey era, I’m good.

      I’m good.

  6. #12 by Oma Carlisi on November 20, 2010 - 9:22 pm

    Great comparison, and great commentary. I find your articles brilliantly thought out such as to keep me waiting for more… Keep up the good work, Scott.

  7. #14 by Kim on November 20, 2010 - 10:04 pm

    BSU regularly has to put netting up and reflective devices to keep the geese from landing in their ugly pond. I flip the pond off everytime I’m in the Gem State. F BSU. God I hate them.

    Oh, and well done Scott.

    • #15 by Scott Daniel on November 20, 2010 - 10:31 pm

      So the rumors of geese confusing Bronco Stadium for a pond are true?

  8. #16 by Kreich1990 on November 21, 2010 - 12:14 am

    I am a boise state student as of this year. I recently attended WSU (wazzu) and witnessed a horrible football team. But watching BSU play this year has raised my spirits. I know Nevada will be joining BSU in th MWC in a year our two, but I can’t wait to see this game. If Nevada wins it will prove the WAC is no slouch, if Boise wins, then Nevada has the excuse that they played the best team in college football. Either way, I know Nevada is one hell of a team and they deserve the respect of the nation after defeating a Cal team that almost beat Oregon.

    • #17 by Scott Daniel on November 21, 2010 - 7:56 am

      Much appreciated, sir…and I will say that the Nevada-BSU rivalry is a horse of a different color (no pun intended) than the Nevada-UNLV rivalry. The former is more like a sibling rivalry between the good twin (Nevada) and the evil twin (Boise State), in which there is a begrudging respect on either side; the latter is pretty much fueled by actual hate.

      Know that Nevada fans also wince every time some condescending Auburn fan demeans your conference schedule…because we ARE your conference schedule.

  9. #18 by Darthprophet on November 21, 2010 - 12:31 am


    I understand your compulsion to look for comedy when dealing with your fears, and pain.
    Hatred can corrupt even the most righteous man.

    I have a Prediction for next Friday for you ..

    Pain pain and even more pain. But I’m sure by now you are used to it .

    • #19 by Scott Daniel on November 21, 2010 - 7:51 am

      Over the past decade, we’ve become accustomed to such pain, almost to the point of numbness. But hope springs eternal in the Silver State. We shall overcome!

  10. #20 by Cory Hunt on November 22, 2010 - 12:37 pm

    As the recipient of said punch, I confirm this account.

    Also, not to defend Boise by any means, but during the MPC Computer Bowl, we traveled with 4-5 thousand fans. Miami had a similar following. But Boise fans made up for the remainder of people in the stadium. They came and they supported the Pack. In fact, they went as far as honoring the Pack with their infamous alternating chant of “Boise!” “State!” but this time it was different. This time, it was “Wolf!” “Pack!” Coming out to support their conference even if they are our hated rivals.

    I relate this story for two reasons. 1) It’s a fairly cool story that helps us see that some Boise fans are indeed human. 2) When the hated blaze orange and smurf blue comes to town this week, Nevada fans better get off their butts and cheer for the Pack, win or lose.

    Great post, Scott. I’ll be there cheering Nevada on in hopes of getting some sweet some revenge for that unprovoked attack many years ago…

    • #21 by Scott Daniel on November 22, 2010 - 1:24 pm

      Thanks, Cory. I didn’t want to call you out by name…as for the Boise fans cheering for Nevada, I agree that there is actually, underneath all of this, a kinship between the two schools. We’re too similar. That’s what makes the rivalry so special and heated.

      Whereas we “hate-hate” UNLV, we “love-hate” Boise.

  11. #22 by cjoplin on November 26, 2010 - 9:50 am

    I am a die-hard Bronco. I grew up watching the Broncos get pummeled in the Big Sky. And I LOVED this article! I’m a big South Park fan too, so I thought the creativity was amazing. Every year, especially since Kaepernick jumped on scene, I wear a diaper to watch the game. I know it will be a shoot out, and this game Friday will be no exception. I have no idea what the future Wolfpack looks like, but I hope you continue to dominate teams in the MWC. I always look forward to this game because you guys play with so much passion, rather than the roll-over-and-pee-on-yourself mentality of the rest of the WAC. Good luck tonight Wolfpack, but I’ll be cheering for my Broncos!

    • #23 by Scott Daniel on November 26, 2010 - 11:13 am

      Many thanks, Boise friend. My every intention was to write something light-hearted and not a hate-fest. Sports “hate” is not real “hate”; it is more of a competitive hostility or animosity animated by the desire to win. The fact of the matter is that the similarities between Nevada and Boise State are uncanny; this is really a sibling rivalry. Student bodies of around 20,000. Media market of just over a half million that views their local university as the prime sports attraction (well, the arrival of AAA baseball in Reno has added some options for us). Track-encircled stadiums that seat in the ballpark of 30,000. Similar trajectory from the Big Sky to the WAC and then the Mountain West. A history of prolific offense. A history of epic games: compare Nevada’s 3OT win in 1990 with Boise State’s 4OT win in 2007.

      So I’m a Janus two-face when it comes to this rivalry. On the one hand, the combination of blue and orange makes me vomit. On the other, I feel the sting anytime a fan of a BCS powerhouse or, say, the President of a Big Ten school refers to Boise State as “little sisters of the poor.” Because we know when they say it about you, they also say it about us.

      That being said, we’re under 12 hours to game time. No more fraternizing with the enemy. Go Pack!

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