College Football Over/Under: Boise State
Let’s go high, and more directly, let’s not let anyone sit on the fence: 11.0 wins.
We’ll include the bowl game in here. So if you think Boise State can only go 11-1, but can win their (non-BCS?) bowl game, you’re taking the over here. Likewise, if you think they are only capable of 10 wins in the regular season, might as well bet the under. In two of the last three seasons, the Broncos have won more than 11 games. So can they make it 3 out of 4?
So, lets start with the obvious: can the Broncos run the table, again?
The Broncos have gone 20-1 in WAC competition over the past 3 seasons. That’s a remarkable run, regardless of the fact that most of those teams are not very good. Truth of the matter is–and the reason that the mid-majors remain mid-majors–is that success is hard to sustain for any team that isn’t in a BCS conference. To turn your success into a competitive recruiting advantage, it says a lot about the quality of coach that Chris Petersen is for the Broncos. And the job he’s done, you know think that Boise is more likely to be accepted into a conference such as the Pac-1o before they come back to the pack in the WAC.
So, we’re looking at a minimum of 7 wins, and probably an 8-0 record in WAC play. The one real threats in the conference are the games at Fresno State, and at Hawaii. Boise is better than both teams, but I worry especially about the level of performance after the flight to Honolulu, since the only loss in the last 24 WAC games came at the hands of Colt Brennan and the Rainbow Warriors. Despite my relative concern, I’m confident that this will be another 8-0 WAC season for the reigning WAC champs.
That’s based on a large-sample dominance. What we have less of a sample of is how the Broncos will do against Non-conference opponents, where they have an impressive-but-not substantial 12-3 record in the last three years. The Broncos usually schedule softly, which makes sense: if you play in a conference where the national guys are going to poo-poo your schedule no matter what, might as well make it to 12-13 wins any way you can. This season, the Broncos have the following non-conference schedule:
- Tomorrow vs. Oregon (Boise, ID)
- September 12 vs. Miami-OH (Boise, ID)
- September 26 at Bowling Green (Bowling Green, OH)
- October 3 vs. UC Davis (Boise, ID)
- October 14 at Tulsa (Tulsa, OK)
As someone who lives in an area where the MAC is televised every weekend, we’ll just say that this is not a very difficult MAC draw for the Broncos this year. They’ll win those games, and UC Davis isn’t a FBS team, so that’s an incredibly joke stretch.
That leaves Oregon and Tulsa as the non-conference opponents who could beat Boise State. The Oregon game is going to be the first nationally televised college football game of the year, so you know the nation will be watching. You hear the Ducks described in certain circles as underrated, a team that is hungry for revenge against Boise State after the Broncos beat the Ducks in Eugene last season, but I don’t buy the rhetoric. I think Boise is very much the favorite in this game. It’s not that Oregon can’t win this game: they have the best chance of any team to take down Boise state this year, and their top 25 ranking is well earned. I just don’t want to here how a team with as much turnover as they had last year and this year is “underrated” at a preaseason No. 16.
Notre Dame is getting some pull at being “underrated” at No. 23, and there’s thought that they could be a BCS team. What in the world have the Oregon Ducks accomplished to be underrated, but in the top 20? Now, under the lights on the blue turf, I think you’re more likely to see a Boise State blowout than a Oregon win.
Can Tulsa knock them off? I think they are capable: they beat Ball State in the GMAC Bowl 45-13. They lost QB Paul Smith to graduation though, and they are simply just one of a few teams Boise plays where they need to bring their “A” game to comfortably win.
In summary, if the Boise State Broncos are either 1) the team that they appear to be, or 2) a function of the recruiting they’ve done since the 2006 Fiesta Bowl Champion season, they should beat every team on their schedule by a margin of 10-17 points, and should represent the mid-major conferences in the BCS for the second time in four years. I’m not confident they will run the table, but I know they are certainly capable of doing so, and as for a prediction, I see no precise reason that Boise State would not do so.
I like the over on the Broncos, and a BCS Bowl Apperance.