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Previewing Boise State’s Chances in the MWC Championship Game

The Other Side of the Argument

NCAA Football: Poinsettia Bowl- Boise State vs Northern Illinois Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

This is part two in our mini-series. Yesterday, Christian brought you some solid points and arguments about why the Bulldogs will win the MWC Championship. Today, we give you the flip side of the argument. Read the reasons why Boise State will become the 2017 Mountain West Champs come Saturday.

First off, they have home field advantage. Yes, it’s been the talk of twitter since Sunday and debate it all you want whether or not Boise State should’ve gotten the title game, but regardless, the game is being played on the Blue, where the Broncos have a great home record. In the Harsin era, they are an impressive 22-3 on their home field. Their mantra, “Protect the Blue” is something the team takes pride in.

It’s also a rematch game. While one could debate whether or not the winning or losing team has the advantage playing back to back, there is extra motivation for the Broncos after losing last week in the regular season finale. The Bronco’s have also done well in “revenge games” in the Harsin era, with a record of 9-2 playing against teams they lost to the previous season (both losses came against Air Force). It is clear the coaches and players take it up an extra notch against teams who bested them. If you don’t think the coaches and players are upset after last week, listen to Harsin’s press conference.

Additionally, the coaching staff have shown they are able to make adjustments and identify how they want to scheme against a team more often than not this season. On offense, the Broncos need to improve their red-zone efficiency. Brett Rypien played well, passing for 278 yards in the game, with star WR Ced Wilson catching 7 passing for 134 yards. Their passing game was clearly working, but the team only had 1 passing touchdown. They stalled in the red-zone, in part because of the great job by Fresno State’s defensive line shutting neutralizing the run game. Taking a look at their drive chart, after their opening touchdown, they missed a FG, failed to convert a 4th down, punting, ran out the clock before half, then punted twice in a row before making a FG. That’s too many drives not ending in points and not finding the end-zone. If they can make adjustments to move the ball more consistently and turn it into points, the score won’t be as close. On the flip side, the defense allowing the Bulldogs to convert 9-16 third downs must be fixed. If it isn’t, they probably won’t win. Making adjustments to cover the middle of the field more and the secondary winning matchups against the talented Bulldog WRs are areas DC Andy Avalos needs to address. Fortunately, he and OC Zak Hill have been up to the task much of the season.

Finally, Boise State has the clear talent advantage. While the most talented team does not always win (see last week for exhibit A), they should win many of their individual matchups. WR Wilson has a size and speed advantage over any CB in the conference. The 2-headed QB monster of Rypien and Cozart gives them an accurate pocket passer and a dangerous true duel-threat. David Moa, Jabril Frazier, and Curtis Weaver excel are causing havoc in the backfield. LVE is a potential NFL linebacker and is now the MWC Defensive Player of the Year who is the anchor and play-maker of the Broncos defense. The secondary and running game is better than their showing last week and need to prove it.

If the Broncos let their talent take over, and their coaches scheme their talent to their advantage, then they should come out with a win. Expect another close, hard-fought game, but this time it will go in the Bronco’s favor.