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Boise State is in position for a New Year’s Bowl game

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With Houston’s loss, Boise State is now one of two undefeated teams from the Group of Five teams.

Boise State v New Mexico Photo by Adria Malcolm/Getty Images

They say winning cures a lot of ills and if you’re Boise State Head Coach Bryan Harsin, it also enhances your sense of humor. This was evident during his postgame press conference after the Broncos beat Utah State earlier this year. A reporter placed his cell phone on the podium to record the coach’s comments, but forgot to put it in airplane mode. The reporter’s girlfriend called several times and Harsin eventually answered the phone and let her know he’d pass along the message.

A week later, the good times continued to roll as the Broncos got revenge for last season’s loss to New Mexico with a 49-21 thrashing, which marked the first time all season that the Lobos hadn’t lead in a game by double digits at some point. Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien (nephew of former Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien) was nearly flawless, hitting 21-28 for 391 and five touchdowns. While Rypien’s athletic pedigree is impressive, running back Jeremy McNichols makes the offense go.

When the season began, McNichols said he had something to prove and he is doing just that on the field. He leads the Broncos with 12 total touchdowns and his ability to torch defenses on the ground is a big reason Rypien often finds coverages he can exploit through the air.

As the offense hums along (scoring 94 percent of the time they enter the red zone and averaging seven yards per play) special teams is also doing its part due to the special, albeit sometimes weird, bondthe unit has developed with each other. While not everyone understands it, this unit’s ability to continue performing at a high level will be a key component to the Broncos’ ability to be a factor in a New Year’s Day bowl game.

At 5-0, the future certainly looks bright for the Broncos, but their bowl projection is a bit murky. Unlike year’s past, the team doesn’t have any marquee out of conference games on their schedule. This has led to them having the 71st ranked scheduled in terms of overall toughness and little room to showcase why they should play New Year’s Day, even if they go undefeated. However, as luck would have it, the one undefeated Group of Five team standing in their way may no longer a roadblock.

With Houston’s 46-40 loss at Navy, the Broncos seemingly are in the driver’s seat to grab a New Year’s Day bowl game, but could still find themselves on the outside looking in, even if they go undefeated. If the Cougars run the table, despite the loss to Navy, they would have marquee wins over Oklahoma and Louisville.

There are two potential stumbling blocks still on the Broncos’ schedule, but both are winnable. A home game against BYU won’t be easy, but playing on the blue should give them the edge. If that happens, and they enter the final week undefeated, the only thing that may stand in the way of starting the new year off with a bang, is a trip to Colorado Springs to play Air Force.

The Broncos have lost three of their last five against option teams and the Falcons run the system well. However, if that is the only thing standing between them and a New Year’s Day bowl game, the Broncos offense should have more than enough firepower to outlast the Falcons and punch their ticket to their first New Year’s Day (or post New Year’s Day) game since 2010.