I have a sister-in-law named Tami who lives in Tennessee. She graduated from Oklahoma State University in the 1980’s, and this is why Boise State, my alma mater, must defeat Oklahoma State this weekend in football. It’s not going to be the easiest thing to do, I’m guessing. Oklahoma State is a member of the Big 12 Conference, one of the five major conferences, and they’re usually pretty good. Las Vegas casinos as of this morning have Oklahoma State as either a two or three-point favorite, even though Boise State is ranked number 17 in the country and Oklahoma State is number 24. Part of that is because the game is being played at Oklahoma State’s home field, T. Boone Pickens Stadium, named after the billionaire who gave them the money to build the stadium, and I’m sure it might have something to do with the fact that Boise State lost its most recent game to a Big 12 team. That was the 2016 Cactus Bowl, which resulted in a 31-12 loss to Baylor.
Boise State’s most famous football game ever is undoubtedly the Fiesta Bowl played January 1, 2007 at the end of the 2006 season. The Broncos beat Oklahoma 43-42. Between that game and the 2016 Baylor game, a ten-year span, Boise State didn’t play any Big 12 teams at all. The very first time the Broncos ever beat a team from one of the five major conferences was December 31, 2002. It was a 34-16 win over Iowa State in the Humanitarian Bowl, which for the Broncos is essentially a home game. I’d love to give the entire history of Boise State against the Big 12, but I already have. The Broncos are in their 23rd season as a Division I FBS (formerly known as Division I-A) team. Before that, they played 18 seasons as a Division I-AA (now Division I FCS) team, 10 years in Division II and 31 years as a junior college, and in all that time, this weekend’s game is only the fourth against a Big 12 (formerly Big 8) team. And it’s the first that isn’t a bowl game. If Boise State wins, their record against the Big 12 will be 3-1. If they lose, it’ll be 2-2.
Back to my sister-in-law, Boise State’s record against my in-laws is going to be pretty good, win or lose. It currently stands at 13 wins and 3 losses. My father-in-law got his bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma City University. I’m pretty sure they don’t have a football team. He got a master’s at Kansas State, and we’ve never played them. My wife’s other sister, Karen, went to Virginia Tech. Boise State has played them once, winning 33-30 in 2010. She finished her degree at Pittsburgh, and we haven’t played them. My mother-in-law got her bachelor’s at the University of Hawaii, against whom Boise State is 12-3. It’ll be 13-3 with a Saturday victory at Oklahoma State, which I really, really, really hope happens.
I’m not saying there’s any competition with my in-laws. None of us would ever say that there is. Not out loud where the others could hear, anyway. But if we looked at all of life’s different categories, major or minor, as small competitive contests purely for the sake of fun, they’re winning at literally everything, with four exceptions: college football, hours spent talking on the radio, most times partying with Bon Jovi and lowest hometown humidity. So I need this.