The Boise State Broncos season has not gone the way that coaches, players, or fans expected it to. Through seven weeks the Broncos have been in tight games but have lost four times in heartbreaking fashion. The defense has struggled in the first half and the offense has been nonexistent in the second half of games. Boise State is ranked in the 100s in both running the ball and stopping opposing offenses on the ground.
Week eight was a much-needed bye week for a team licking their wounds both literally and figuratively. With both injuries and losses mounting, the Broncos used the time off to try to reestablish the work ethic and mentality that has led Boise State to decades of sustained success. Saturday evening in Fort Collins the Broncos can begin to prove that the hard work in the bye week has led to changes on the field.
THREE BURING QUESTIONS
Who are the 2021 Colorado State Rams?
The Rams are a conspiracy theorists dream of a team because you can “do your own research” and believe anything you want about them. Statistically they are very solid, particularly on defense. They are 8th in total defense, 17th against the run, and 3rd in sacks. Colorado State’s front four are dominant and even their pass defense is a more than respectable 26th in the country.
On paper the Rams look fantastic, but they haven’t beaten anyone with a pulse. Their wins have come against Toledo, San Jose State, and New Mexico. They lost to FCS South Dakota State, Vanderbilt, Iowa, and Utah State. It is impossible to label Colorado State as a tough opponent, but they do have the stats and rankings that show they may be a problem for the Broncos.
What changes will fans see coming off the bye week?
Oftentimes a bye week is about resting and recharging for the home stretch of a season. That wasn’t the case for Boise State this year. After a disappointing first half of the season, the Broncos attacked the bye week in an attempt to jumpstart a team that has struggled through seven weeks.
Coaches have stressed that changes are being made regarding focus, accountability, and reestablishing the Blue-Collar mentality that has defined Boise State football. Additionally, coaches have hinted changes are forthcoming from a personnel and play design standpoint. If the ship starts it’s slow turn back around, the week eight bye week could be looked at as the turning point for the Andy Avalos regime.
Will the Boise State season turn around or are they who they are at this point?
Over halfway through a football season, fans generally have a good feel for what their team is. For Bronco fans this season, it is tough to really know how good or bad the team is. On one hand, Boise State beat BYU on the road and was a horrific bad whistle from a referee away from beating a good Oklahoma State team. On the other hand, the Broncos haven’t looked good in any game this season outside of week two against a (surprisingly decent) UTEP team.
If you look at the statistical rankings, Boise State is just bad. On defense they are 87th in total D, 111th against the run, 45th against the pass, and 66th in tackles for loss. On offense they are 91st in total offense, 126th in rush yards/game, 104th in allowing tackles for loss, and 72nd in sack allowed. There is no sugarcoating those numbers, but the Broncos don’t “feel” like a terrible team. Their largest loss was a ten-point game against Nevada. Every other game was either a mutli-possession win or a one score loss that the Broncos had a legitimate shot at winning.
At some point you are what your record and the statistics say you are. The Colorado State game will either cement the thought that the 2021 Boise State Broncos just aren’t very good, or it will be the start of flipping the narrative about the season.
This article is shorter than normal this week. There really isn’t much to say coming off of a bye week that hasn’t already been said throughout the season. Boise State is entering “nobody believes in us” territory, and for a team as talented as the Broncos, that could propel the team into a fantastic finish to a disappointing season. That is exactly what I think is going to happen. Boise State rights the ship and wins in Fort Collins. Boise State 31 Colorado State 20.