Boise State is already packing up the equipment they will take with them to Seattle for the season opener against the Washington Huskies. Head coach Chris Petersen has highlighted the schemes in the playbook, while his assistant coaches are checking with the players and going over last minute needs and changes to the play action. Coach Pete has instilled a philosophy within the team: concentrate on one game at a time and let the season ahead take care of itself.
But the rest us have the luxury of not having to embrace that idea. In fact, most of us are only too eager to contemplate, ponder, speculate and look ahead at what the coming season might bring. It all starts with the schedule.
Boise State Broncos Schedule – 2013
Sat, Aug 31 @ Washington, 8:00 PM MT, FOX Sports 1
Sat, Sept 7 vs Tennessee-Martin, 1:00 PM MT, ESPN 3
Fri, Sept 13 vs Air Force, 6:00 PM MT, ESPN
Fri, Sept 20 @ Fresno State, 7:00 PM MT, ESPN
Sat, Sept 28 vs Southern Miss, TBD
Sat, Oct 12 @ Utah State, 6:00 PM MT, CBS Sports Network
Sat, Oct 19 vs Nevada, 6:00 PM MT, CBS Sports Network
Fri, Oct 25 @ BYU, 6:00 PM MT, ESPN
Sat, Nov 2 @ Colorado State, 6:00 PM MT, CBS Sports Network
Sat, Nov 16 vs Wyoming TBD
Sat, Nov 23 @ San Diego State, 8:30 PM MT, CBS Sports Network
Sat, Nov 30 vs New Mexico, TBD
Here’s my own unvarnished, best case scenario based on biased speculation: Boise State will go undefeated, win the Mountain West Championship, and with a 13-0 record get an invite to a BCS bowl. Of course, reality is full of possibilities. In this reality its possible the Broncos will finish the season with at least one loss and maybe as many as four.
Let me break down each game into the possible outcomes:
Washington (LOSS), based on the fact that eight months ago they went toe to toe with the Broncos in the Las Vegas Bowl and lost by only two points. Since then, the Huskies have revamped their offense into a quick-strike program modeled after Oregon. Plus, Boise State is on the road to the Huskies as their home opener in their newly renovated, sold out stadium.
Tennessee-Martin (WIN). This is a home opener for the Broncos. The Skyhawks will not be serious threat on The Blue.
Air Force (WIN), even though they always play a tough game. The last time the Falcons played the Broncos was also in Boise (2011) and they went down 37-27 even though the flyboys racked up 408 total yards to Boise State's 423. Southwick is no Kellen Moore, and I look for a close game, but Boise walks away with the win at home.
Fresno State (LOSS). It could be a tossup for the Milk Can and many give the win to the Broncos. But three things work in Fresno’s favor: (1) QB Derek Carr, (2) a resolve to beat the Broncos, and (3) home field advantage. Did I mention Derek Carr?
Southern Miss (WIN). Southwick and Boise State went down to their house last year and pounded them 40-14. The Broncos have them on The Blue this year so they are in for another drubbing.
Utah State (WIN). Utah State could surprise the doubters with a win over the Broncos in Logan, but Boise State will be coming off a bye week and Utah State will be recuperating after a home game against rival BYU. I expect the Aggies will be physically banged up and emotionally drained after they are finished with the Cougars.
Nevada (WIN) . Oh, they play the Broncos tough and could pull an upset all right, but just not this year. They are in Boise and the Wolf Pack will still be searching for their legs under new head coach Brian Polian. In the past, former head coach Chris Ault always seemed to have a copy of Boise State’s playbook, but with Ault gone this game marks a whole new era in the Boise State-Nevada rivalry.
BYU (WIN). But the trip down to Lavell Edwards Stadium could spell big trouble for the Broncos. Yes, the Cougs have the home field advantage and they have something to prove after the narrow 7-6 loss in Boise last year. But unless BYU’s QB struggles are over and the Cougars can adapt quickly to new offensive coordinator Robert Anae’s quick-strike offense, the Broncos will bring home a very close win.
Colorado State (WIN). The Rams will be better than last year but not good enough to beat the Broncos when they come to Ft. Collins. Second year head coach Jim McElwain is just now getting his team in place and is still a year away from posing a serious threat to the Broncos.
Wyoming (WIN). The Cowboys will be pretty good at home this year, but they come to Boise after hosting MW power Fresno State the week before. Demoralized and banged up is no way to show up in Bronco Stadium in November.
San Diego State (WIN). It is going to be another tough road trip for the Broncos but the warm weather in southern California just before thanksgiving might be just what the doctor ordered. Figure the Broncos will have used their starters sparingly the week before against the Cowboys and rested them, while San Diego will still be shaking off the jet lag from their trip out to the Islands the weekend before. So while this could be a decisive game for the MW championship and one the Aztecs could easily win, the Broncos should win the squeaker this year.
New Mexico (WIN). The Lobos will continue to improve this year under head coach Bob Davies, but they are a few years away from challenging the leaders in the top of the league. For this game they will be coming into Bronco Stadium after a trip to Fresno the week before where they will get chewed up and mauled by the 'Dogs.
So how do my season projections add up for the Broncos?
Boise State 10-2, 7-1 (MWC) will win the Mountain Division and rights to a showdown for the MW championship.