UCF is Terrified of Boise State’s Blue Field, Tries to Practice on Similar Color
After 280 days, Albertsons Stadium is ready to host Bronco Nation. After last week’s 56-19 loss against Washington, the Broncos are looking forward to playing at home and bouncing back with a win over UCF.
The last meeting between the Broncos and Knights was a game that no one will forget. The game was in Orlando. It started almost three hours late because of weather delays and was technically played on two different days since the game ended after 1:30 a.m. ET. The Broncos worked up a 21-0 lead, but the Knights came back and won 36-31. Now, we get them on our turf.
And apparently, our famous “Smurf Turf” has UCF on edge. During his press conference, UCF’s head coach admitted that his team has some logistical challenges they’re preparing for including a change in altitude, adjusting to a two-time zone difference and playing on “that blue field.” If you watch the press conference, it seems like Gus Malzahn was more concerned about the color of the field than playing at altitude on an 88º day in the high desert. He says:
“We’ll get there a little bit early and play at that blue field, you know, which will be a little different. We’re going to try to practice here locally on a blue field one time before we leave and we’ll see if that will help.”
It didn’t take us long to find the field Malzahn was talking about. It’s Pennington Field, the football and soccer facility at Master’s Academy, which is less than a 15-minute drive from the UCF campus. According to Brock USA, the blue turf was installed in 2021. According to Chris Boyle from the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the team wasn’t able to squeeze in the practice at Master’s that they were hoping for, which means the myths about “The Blue” will be fresh in the minds of UCF’s players.
The Orlando Sentinel quoted UCF safety Quadric Bullard as saying:
“I’ve seen a couple of videos on YouTube where [Boise State] hides their players in the end zones and things like that. We must be prepared for this because you never know what Boise State might pull.”
Haven't We Heard This Rumor Somewhere Before?
It sounds completely ridiculous Bronco fans that have seen dozens of games at Albertsons Stadium, but it’s the same sort of logic that the Mountain West used when they banned Boise State from wearing our all-blue uniforms on The Blue in 2011 and 2012. At the time, San Diego State’s coach was very vocal about how “unfair” having blue turf was and said it takes teams almost an entire half of football to get used to it. Craig Thompson, who was the commissioner of the Mountain West at the time, said that the ban was put in place because other coaches in the conference also felt it was a “competitive advantage.” The rule was eventually reversed in order to keep Boise State in the conference.
To be fair, UCF isn’t the first team to be terrified of playing on The Blue. Remember when Oregon State painted their practice field blue before coming to Boise in 2010? SB Nation reported that it was made possible by an anonymous donor. It didn’t make much of a difference. The Kellen Moore-led Broncos beat the Beavers 37-24 that day.
The myths about the Blue make us giggle. The fact that it came up in Monday’s press conference at UCF also makes us giggle. But you know what has us laughing out loud? Boise State’s game day look for Saturday’s match-up against UCF:
Saturday’s kick-off is scheduled for 5 p.m. If you’re not coming to the game, you can watch at home on Fox Sports 1. If you're going, it's a blue out. Wear ALL THE BLUE!
By the way, Boise State DOES own the trademark for colored turf. Schools that want to install something similar need the university's blessing. Here are some of the fields they said yes to.