This will not be the first time Georgia has played Boise State on the football field, but this will be a different Boise State than the one that came to Athens in 2005. Oh, the Broncos had been running hot in their league, but in Athens they fell into the same class as some of the other season-opening patsies the Bulldogs had put away. You know -- New Mexico State, Kent State, Arkansas State and all those "States," most of them usually playing to balance their budget. It was a wipeout, 48-13. The Broncos QB was Jared Zabransky, and he was a nervous wreck. He'd never played before that many people before, at least not that many strangers. Sanford Stadium was loaded. After four interceptions Zabranksy never returned for the second half.
Boise State faithful put the blame on their coach, Dan Hawkins at the time. (Later to be hired and fired by Colorado.) But that Broncos team would lose only three more games. This was a building block for the future.
"Dan didn't prepare his team like Chris Peterson," they tell you now. And you'll see how well Peterson has prepared this team for the Bulldogs Saturday in the Georgia Dome.
This is a different kind of football they're putting on the field at Boise. All you have to do is check the preseason ratings. Boise State is ranked 5th, Georgia 19th by The AP.
Wow, now who's playing for a paycheck? And this one will pay for a lot of plane tickets from Boise to Atlanta. It's a bowl game of sorts, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, but you can switch "bowl" for "kickoff" and not be wrong in the eyes of either side.
To give you a hint on how they're looking at this matchup compared to the last, I give you this: "This Georgia team is much worse than the last time they met," something I picked up from one of the Rocky Mountain chest-bumpers. On the other hand, get this from Mark Richt, something that opened his eyes when he checked the Broncos' depth chart in mid-summer.
One of the backup quarterbacks in 2005 was Kellen Moore -- Kellen Moore, now the starter and large in Heisman Trophy speculation. Yep, Kellen Moore, the same, six years later. They train them slow and easy in Idaho, you see.
"I thought he'd be gone by now, either to the NFL, or graduation," Richt said.
"He could be the best quarterback in the country," Phil Steele says in his season preview. But safely he places him third behind Landry Jones of Oklahoma and Andrew Luck of Stanford. And I might add that Aaron Murray, the Georgia sophomore is 16th in his conjecture. You should take into consideration that before Kellen Moore, Boise State has never been a famous destination for quarterbacks.
We shall now all take a comfortable seat and wait for this clash of colors. If you haven't noticed, the Broncos, whose pervasive color is blue -- matching their stadium carpet -- will be playing in solid white, the Bulldogs in solid red. Spectators should be advised to wear their dark glasses.