Whether you like it or not, the Boise State Broncos’ blue field turf is here to stay and not only that, but the team will be allowed to continue to wear its all-blue uniforms for home games.
Fans and opposing teams have complained for years that the blue-on-blue creates a camouflage effect that gives the Broncos an even bigger home-field edge. Unfortunately, for those folks, the NCAA’s playing rules oversight panel (yes, it exists) saw otherwise and ruled in favor of Boise State, allowing them to keep using the blue-blue combo for the foreseeable future.
According to ESPN.com, the rules proposal was brought to the panel by the Football Rules Committee, but after the committee got shut down, Boise State fans are likely to celebrate, while fans of other college teams are likely to let out a big groan.
There’s one other team that will be happy with the decision as well. The Eastern Washington Eagles – a Division I FCS team located in Cheney, Washington – has used bright red field turf since 2010 and wears red uniforms at many home games.
Although the camo argument may seem a little silly, the numbers don’t lie. Eastern Washington, who did not have a particularly strong football team before the red turf was installed, won 16 of their first 18 games on the red surface. In fact, the first year EWU had the new turf, it went 8-0 at home and went on to win the FCS National Championship, its first in school history.
Of course, the Broncos’ home numbers are even more impressive. Boise State went 61-1 from 2000 to 2010 on the blue turf. However, we can’t only give credit to the turf, as the Broncos’ football program has vastly improved since the field was first installed in 1986 and is now one of the most competitive teams in the nation, home or away.
For fans and teams that oppose the colored turf and the matching uniforms, the real scare is that this ruling will entice more teams to adopt a brightly school-colored field. We haven’t heard if any teams are planning such a move, but if they are, it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise. Eastern Washington has definitely seen a boost in its football program’s popularity since installing the red turf and winning the national title.
The bottom line is there’s really no way to prove that the so-called effect gives the home team a bigger edge. You still have to have a great team to win consistently and supporters of the turf would argue that it’s simply a fun way to energize the team and the home crowd. That much seems to be true. However, it will be interesting to see if more teams jump on board by installing colored turf and if their home records end up mirroring those of Boise State and Eastern Washington.