BOISE, Idaho – If Chris Petersen had ever been brought into the discussion, Boise State might not be embarking on its first season in the Mountain West.
By the time Petersen was approached with the news the Broncos wouldn't be allowed to wear their trademark all-blue attire on their already famous blue turf, the university presidents of the Mountain West had already agreed upon the decision.
"He said, 'This is what they're going to do,' because if he had asked me what I think I would say 'don't join the league,'" Petersen recalled. "What are they going to say, 'no, we're not going to take you because of your uniforms?' That's my opinion. Maybe they would have. But I think that is ridiculous."
In a day of uniform combination overload, where schools like Oregon and Oklahoma State are turning the field into a fashion runway, it's Boise State's uniforms that are drawing the most attention.
As part of the Broncos joining the Mountain West, the league presidents required that Boise State not be allowed to wear its all-blue attire — blue helmets, blue shirts, blue pants — for conference games played at home. Nonconference is still OK, and the Broncos will be decked out in all blue against Tulsa and Nevada. But come Oct. 22, when Air Force comes to Boise for the first Mountain West game played on the blue turf, the Broncos will be forced to be non-monochromatic.
"It is what it is. As stupid as it sounds, it's really not going to affect the games. I don't think it had any impact in games, I hope it didn't. Hopefully we weren't winning all these games at home because people couldn't see our receivers. Somehow I found them," Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore said. "I think we'll be just fine. We have plenty of colors now ... we'll have plenty of options. We'll look good out there and have some fun."
The rule was first implemented more than a year ago around the time Boise State was formally invited to join the conference. What irritates many Boise fans is that the presidents of TCU, Utah and BYU were all at the table when the rule was established as part of the Broncos' arrival.
By the start of the 2012 season, none of the three schools will be members of the Mountain West.
Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson declined to comment through a spokesman. At Mountain West media day in Las Vegas last month, Thompson said the message from coaches in the conference was that the blue on blue was "a competitive advantage."
The issue is how the all-blue uniforms look on the game film coaches comb through for the slightest advantages. Petersen admitted as much last week when he noted that while watching game film from last year's 51-0 rout of Fresno State, when the Broncos wore all orange at home, the numbers were difficult to differentiate.
"The way our stadium is with the track around it and the end zones aren't super high that you couldn't see the numbers great on the orange and white and nothing will stand out better than that. Now I'm not saying orange and white doesn't stand out better than the blue and the silver, but you still couldn't see it very well," he said. "I think it's a bunch to do about nothing. I think people make way more out about it than it is."
Boise State will begin this season with the most uniform options in school history. Along with the blue tops and blue pants, there are all-orange, all-white and all-gray options and the various combinations that come from those sets. The Broncos will wear special uniforms designed by Nike for their season opener against Georgia in Atlanta.
But all eyes will be on what combo the Broncos put together for that first home conference game against Air Force.
"As linemen, we don't care what we wear because we don't look good in anything," Boise State offensive tackle Nate Potter said. "But it's just one of those new rules we have to abide by. But that doesn't affect our play."