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College Football Cinderella: Could a Mountain West team make a playoff run?

Sports Illustrated mentions Boise State has a possible mid-major playoff sleeper.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With March Madness here there is always the cross over to make giant football brackets or look at mid-major teams that can make a run at a playoff game. The latter is what Sports Illustrated decided to write about this week.

They chose Boise State, Houston, South Florida -- which is a shock to most -- and BYU. Here is what had to say about the Broncos.

As one of the original BCS busters, this season won't be the Broncos' first flirtation with a high national ranking. While the playoff committee is supposed to consider only the games of the present season, Boise State's history of winning on the national stage gives it the benefit of the doubt. So if the Broncos can go undefeated and win the Mountain West (no small feat considering a possible conference title game matchup against San Diego State) while Washington State proves to be at least competitive in the Pac-12, that could be enough.

And Boise State has the team to hold up its end of the bargain. The offense returns eight starters, including quarterback Brett Rypien (3,353 yards, 20 touchdowns, eight interceptions), running back Jeremy McNichols (1,337 yards, 5.6 yards per carry, 20 touchdowns) and wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck (88 catches, 1,412 yards, eight touchdowns). The defense, however, is full of new faces with six departing starters in addition to coordinator Marcel Yates, who left for Arizona.

The Broncos do return a lot of talent on offense and the defense is normally something of a given at this point, but losing over half over their starters on that side of the ball and both coordinators is a reason to give caution in calling Boise State cracking the top four.

San Diego State is an interesting omission as they are on a 10-game winning streak and return the offensive, defensive and special teams player of the year. The Aztecs should be getting better odds over South Florida who won just eight games and lost to Maryland last year.

Unfortunately, as mentioned in the Sports Illustrated blurb, name recognition is there for Boise State and not yet there for the Aztecs. San Diego State has the talent back, and the new talent, to at the very worst be the West Division favorite and has the argument, if not the best one, to be considered the Mountain West preseason favorites.

However, we are all kidding ourselves because as long as the College Football Playoff is set at four teams there will not be a non-power team in the field.0