Although Gonzaga came up just short in the NCAA Basketball Championship against North Carolina, sports fans would be crazy to be unimpressed with nearly 20 years of 20-win seasons and 19 consecutive tournament bids.
That got us to thinking: Which Group of 5 college football team most resembles Gonzaga basketball right now or is currently on-track to do so in the coming years?
A few qualifiers: Just like Gonzaga nearly 30 years ago, these squads battled long droughts of miserable to mediocre on-the-field play to become consistent winners that currently battle for conference crowns each year.
If Gonzaga had a twin brother, it most definitely would be Boise State.
After leaving the Big Sky Conference at the FCS level in 1996, the Broncos have a winning 11-6 record in bowl games, possess 12 conference titles, have finished in the Top 25 AP and Coaches Poll 10 times, and pulled off arguably one of the greatest upsets in college football history when it knocked off Oklahoma in the mesmerizing 2007 Fiesta Bowl.
Not too shabby for a school that first made waves for simply having blue field turf.
If the Big 12 is known for its gunslingers, signal-callers at Western Kentucky are the underrated and overlooked younger brothers.
In 2016, Mike White threw for 4,363 yards, 37 touchdowns, and just 7 interceptions.
If you think that's good, school legend Brandon Doughty – currently with the NFL's Miami Dolphins – finished his tenure with the Hilltoppers with an insane 12,855 passing yards, 111 TDs, and a passer rating of 161.0.
WKU went 11-3 last year and 12-2 in 2015 while winning the Conference USA title both seasons. They are also currently riding a three-game bowl winning streak.
When and if the Power 5 conferences decide to poach yet another Group of 5 squad, don't be surprised if it's Western Kentucky.
Just how bad was Temple football in 2004? The now-defunct Big East kicked the Owls to the curb after the squad had an overall 14-80 conference record. This forced them to join the MAC, but thankfully the school hired Al Golden to turn things around.
Golden led the Owls to a 9-4 mark in 2009, which was the school's best record since 1979 and first bowl appearance since that same year.
Ironically, the Big East came crawling back to the Owls in 2012 after multiple teams joined Power 5 conferences. When Big East football disintegrated in 2013, Temple transitioned into the American Athletic Conference where it has enjoyed two straight 10-4 seasons the past two years, including a 2015 defensive pummeling of Penn State and a near-win at then #9-ranked Notre Dame.
The Bobcats have been playing football since 1894, but they've enjoyed a sustained period of success in recent years thanks to Frank Solich. The former Nebraska head coach has posted an 88-65 record in his 12 years at the school. Since taking over the reigns in 2005, Ohio has gone bowling eight times after making it to the postseason just twice before.
[credit]Ohio Bobcats Athletics[/credit]
Are we jumping the gun on Western Michigan after an undefeated 2016 regular season and Cotton Bowl appearance? Probably.
Will they suffer a setback after coach P.J. Fleck fled for Minnesota? Possibly.
[credit]Western Michigan Athletics[/credit]